This is the first comprehensive history of pre-Civil War American radicalism, mapping the journeys of the land reformers, Jacksonian radicals and militant abolitionists on the long road to the failed slave revolt of Harpers Ferry in 1859.
This book contains new and fascinating insights into the cast of characters who created a homegrown American socialist movement through the nineteenth century - from Thomas Paine's revolution to Robert Owen's utopianism, from James Macune Smith, the black founder of organised socialism in the US, to Susan B. Anthony, the often overlooked women's rights activist. It also considers the persistent pre-capitalist model of the Native American.
Long Road to Harpers Ferry captures the spirit of the times, showing how class solidarity and consciousness became more important to a generation of workers than notions of American citizenship. This is a story that's been hidden from official histories, which must be remembered if we are to harness the latent power of socialism in the United States today.
Mark A. Lause is Professor in the Department of History at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of numerous books including Long Road to Harpers Ferry: The Rise of the First American Left (Pluto, 2018), The Great Cowboy Strike: Bullets, Ballots and Class Conflicts in the American West (Verso, 2017). He is a contributing editor to Labor Online, and he is on the editorial board of The North Star.
Introduction Prologue: Founding Exclusions and Excluded Founders Part I: Working Citizens: From Ideas to Organisation 1. Liberty: Eighteenth Century Transatlantic Legacies and Challenges 2. Equality: The Requirements of Community and the Necessity of Expropriation 3. Solidarity: Mass Organised Resistance Part II: Working Citizens Towards a Working Class: From Organisation to a Movement 4. The Movement Party: Citizenship Beyond Civic Ritual 5. Confronting Race and Empire: Slavery and Mexico 6. Free Soil: Politics and the Electoral Distillation of Radicalism, 1847-1848 Part III: Emergence of an Unrelenting Radicalism: From Movement to Cadres 7. Free Soil Radicalised: the Rise and Course of the Free Democrats 1849-1853 8. The Prerevolutionary Tinderbox: Universal Democratic Republicans: Free Democrats and Radical Abolitionists 1853-1856 9. The Spark: Small Group Initiatives and Mass Upheavals 1865-1860 10. The Universal Democratic Republicans 1853-1856 Epilogue: Survival and Persistence: The Lineages and Legacies of the Early American Movement