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Volume Listing > Volume 44 > The Socialist party and the union in Milwaukee, 1900-1912

Olson, Frederick I. "The Socialist party and the union in Milwaukee, 1900-1912"


The Socialist Party and the Union in Milwaukee, 1900-1912: Author Frederick I. Olson analyzes the emergence of the Socialist Party stronghold in Milwaukee during the beginning of the 20th century. While a number of factors contributed to the rise of Socialism in Milwaukee, including a large German population, corrupt officials from both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and a national trend towards municipal reforms characteristic of the Progressive Era, Olson insists that the key reason for the party's success was the favorable relationship between the Socialist Party and the labor unions. He discusses the important contributions of Victor L. Berger (1860-1929), the first Socialist elected to Congress, in pursuing the support of the Federated Trades Council (F.T.C.), the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.), and the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor (W.S.F.L.). In their attempt to wed trade unions with Socialist ideals, Berger and the Milwaukee Socialists were very successful in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly because of Milwaukee’s large working class population. Olson also touches on the rivalry between Berger and Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) of the A.F.L. as well as the importance of Socialist newspapers like the “Wisconsin Vorwarts,” the “Social Democratic Herald,” and the “Milwaukee Leader.” (7 pages)

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Citation: Olson, Frederick I. "The Socialist party and the union in Milwaukee, 1900-1912" Wisconsin Magazine Of History. Volume: 44 /Issue: 2 (1960-1961)

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