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Socialist Party, United States

Amy Buzby


The Socialist Party of America (SPA) was founded in 1901 when Morris Hillquit and Job Harriman's “Kangaroo” faction within the De Leonite Socialist Labor Party joined with Eugene V. Debs , Victor Berger, and a faction of their Social Democracy of America. Social Democracy of America had originally possessed the goal of establishing a cooperative commonwealth, but this goal was controversial and led the organization to split. Against the demands of those who sought a colony, a political action wing emerged which sought to strive for socialism by engaging political organization and working within the established electoral process. The Kangaroo faction similarly split with the De Leonites because of a desire to prevent the divisive competition and isolation of dual unionism and the desire to prevent a strong centralized control of all party press. These two factions thus united out of a desire to establish a united political party that would allow for greater expression, sweeping organization, and focus on national electoral success. In 1900, before the unification of the party, the combined factions ran their first joint presidential ticket of Debs and Harriman, garnering a scant 96,951 votes. The period between 1902 and 1912 is often referred to as the golden age of American socialism. The party was able to absorb populist elements that had not assimilated into the Democrats after ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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