Spargo, John, 1876-1966

An English socialist, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1901 where he joined the Socialist Party and became a well-known writer and lecturer. He spoke on and published works dealing with issues of child labor and socialism, and also strongly supported women's rights. He was anti-militarist before the U.S. entered the war, but resigned from the Party in 1917 because of its antiwar stance. He believed that the socialist movement would be destroyed by such opposition to the majority of the country, and that the war could be used to further internationalist and socialist causes. However, he was still concerned with issues of conscription and civil liberties. He co-founded the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy with Samuel Gompers in 1917. EG criticized his position on the war. Publications during this period include Bolshevism: The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy (NY and London: Harper & Brothers, 1919), The Psychology of Bolshevism (NY and London: Harper & Brothers, 1919), Social Democracy Explained; Theories and Tactics of Modern Socialism (NY and London: Harper & Brothers, 1918).

Spargo's socialism was conservative (his early work on poverty and child labor are in the Progressive tradition), and his antipathy to the Bolsheviks influenced the Wilson administration's policy toward revolutionary Russia. In the 1920s he renounced socialism and became a Republican, later actively opposing the New Deal. DAB (Supplement 8), 610-12; Weinstein, Decline of Socialism in America, 131; Ronald Radosh, American Labor and United States Foreign Policy (New York, 1969), 222-67.

Created by Caroline Yee .
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