Socialist Cities

Municipal Politics and the Grass Roots of American Socialism

By Richard W. Judd

Series: SUNY series in American Labor History
Paperback : 9780791400814, 254 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780791400807, 254 pages, July 1989

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. The Debate on American Socialism
2. Socialist Politics in the Urban Milieu, 1898-1917
3. The Locals and the Organizational Crisis, 1910-1915
4. The Pattern in Ohio, 1910-1915
5. Restoring Consensus in Flint, Michigan
6. Out of the Hands of Victory: Lima and Lorain, Ohio
7. Socialism and Civic Reform in Dayton and New Castle
8. Ohio Socialism in Decline, 1917-1924



Socialist Cities is a comparative treatment of grass-roots Socialist successes. It marks the first comprehensive look at the urban working-class base of the American Socialist movement in the early part of the century, and reveals the importance of municipal politics as an organizing strategy.

The author assesses the reactions of both workers and non-workers to the party, and provides a fresh perspective on the perennial question of why socialism 'failed' in America. He demonstrates that the subtle and ongoing dialogue between the party's own internal theoretical and tactical weaknesses and the broader class and structural obstacles against which it struggled, contributed to its failure.

Richard W. Judd is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maine, Orono.


"It makes an important contribution to urban history and to the history of American radicalism. " — Michael Nash, Hagley Museum and Library