Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 1, 2002 - Political Science - 272 pages
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Why was Oklahoma, of all places, more hospitable to socialism than any other state in America? In this provocative book, Jim Bissett chronicles the rise and fall of the Socialist Party of Oklahoma during the first two decades of the twentieth century, when socialism in the United States enjoyed its golden age.

To explain socialismís popularity in Oklahoma, Bissett looks back to the stateís strong tradition of agrarian reform. Drawing most of its support from working farmers, the Socialist Party of Oklahoma was rooted in such well-established organizations as the Farmers Alliance and the Indiahoma Farmersí Union. And to broaden its appeal, the Party borrowed from the ideology both of the American Revolution and of Christianity. By making Marxism speak in American terms, the author argues, Party activists counteracted the prevailing notion that socialism was illegitimate or un-American.

  

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Contents

Life in the Promised Land
9
The Demise of
40
The Remaking of the Socialist Party
58
The Religion
85
Democrats and
105
Election Returns in Selected Strong Socialist
127
Tenancy Rates and the Primary Election of 1916
138
The Destruction of
142
Election Returns in Selected Counties 1916 and 1918
166
Election Returns in Selected Counties 19161920
173
Visible Failures and Hidden
174
Cotton Prices Received by Oklahoma Farmers
188
B Selected Listing of Prominent Oklahoma Socialist
193
Bibliographical Essay
231
Index
245
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About the author (2002)

Jim Bissett is Associate Professor of History at Elon College, North Carolina. He is the author of Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920 (OU Press, 2002).

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