A People’s History of the United States

The economic system in which the whole community—or, in some cases, a government elected to represent the community—controls the means of production. In the 21st century, most Western societies incorporate at least some Socialist elements into their economies—in the U.S., for example, the public school system can be considered socialized, since a democratically-elected government collects funds (taxes) to pay for schools. At various points in modern history, however, socialism has been presented as a utopian ideology, calling for the abolition of private property. Some key socialist thinkers include Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Robert Owen, and Bertrand Russell.

Socialism Quotes in A People’s History of the United States

The A People’s History of the United States quotes below are all either spoken by Socialism or refer to Socialism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of A People’s History of the United States published in 2015.
Chapter 23 Quotes

The great problem would be to work out a way of accomplishing this without a centralized bureaucracy, using not the incentives of prison and punishment, but those incentives of cooperation which spring from natural human desires, which in the past have been used by the state in times of war, but also by social movements that gave hints of how people might behave in different conditions. Decisions would be made by small groups of people in their workplaces, their neighborhoods—a network of cooperatives, in communication with one another, a neighborly socialism avoiding the class hierarchies of capitalism and the harsh dictatorships that have taken the name "socialist."

Page Number: 639
Explanation and Analysis:
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Socialism Term Timeline in A People’s History of the United States

The timeline below shows where the term Socialism appears in A People’s History of the United States. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: Robber Barons and Rebels
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...it should be monopolized to prevent the growth of inequality in America. Other intellectuals supported Socialism as a means of correcting corruption and inequality. (full context)
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Radicalism Vs. Reform Theme Icon
...working class became increasingly bleak, unions became increasingly radical in the solutions they proposed. The Socialist Labor party, founded in 1877, gained a lot of attention from eastern European immigrants, and... (full context)
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Militarism and Conquest Theme Icon
In 1893, the country entered another recession. In the midst of the recession, a socialist organizer named Eugene Debs began mobilizing workers. In 1844, Debs organized a large group of... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Socialist Challenge
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...this time, Eugene Debs emerged as a national leader once again. Debs had become a Socialist during his time in prison; in the early 20th century, he became the president of... (full context)
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...century faced a dilemma. Many of the key feminist leaders of the period were committed socialists; however, it wasn’t clear if fighting for socialist ideals was an adequate solution to problems... (full context)
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Radicalism Vs. Reform Theme Icon
...fact, its purpose was to prevent radical change in America and, in particular, “fend off socialism.” Some Progressive leaders were sincere in their desire for change; others, Zinn argues, were “disguised... (full context)
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Radicalism Vs. Reform Theme Icon
Faced with Progressive reform, Socialist leaders faced a dilemma: they could support Progressive reform, or they could denounce it for... (full context)
Chapter 14: War is the Health of the State
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Militarism and Conquest Theme Icon
In 1914, the U.S. was not yet at war. Socialism was an ongoing threat to the power elite. James Wadsworth, a Senator from New York,... (full context)
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When America declared war, Americans didn’t rush to enlist. The Socialist party held a meeting in St. Louis, where it called the war an injustice. Later... (full context)
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...Hemingway wrote bleak novels about the conflict in Europe. The American government continued to fear socialism. In 1919, the government prosecuted or deported thousands of immigrants suspected of socialist or anarchist... (full context)
Chapter 15: Self-help in Hard Times
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Radicalism Vs. Reform Theme Icon
...and not to criticize segregation or lynching. During the thirties, some radicals, especially Communists and Socialists, tried to recruit black workers with some success. The CIO, which was heavily influenced by... (full context)
Chapter 16: A People’s War?
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...of black people in the U.S. any more than World War One had. One small socialist group, the Socialist Workers Party, criticized the war, arguing that “the real war was inside... (full context)
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...Truman initiated war on Korea. Afraid that South Korea would fall into the hands of socialist leaders in North Korea, Truman deployed American troops, supposedly on behalf of the United Nations... (full context)
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Militarism and Conquest Theme Icon
...military and intervene in other countries. In 1954, the U.S. sent forces to topple a Socialist, democratically elected government in Guatemala; four years later, U.S. forces deployed to Lebanon to ensure... (full context)