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Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln exchanged letters at the end of the Civil War. Although they were divided by far more than the Atlantic Ocean, they agreed on the cause of “free labor” and the urgent need to end slavery. In his introduction, Robin Blackburn argues that Lincoln’s response signaled the importance of the German American community and the role of the international communists in opposing European recognition of the Confederacy.
The ideals of communism, voiced through the International Working Men’s Association, attracted many thousands of supporters throughout the US, and helped spread the demand for an eight-hour day. Blackburn shows how the IWA in America—born out of the Civil War—sought to radicalize Lincoln’s unfinished revolution and to advance the rights of labor, uniting black and white, men and women, native and foreign-born. The International contributed to a profound critique of the capitalist robber barons who enriched themselves during and after the war, and it inspired an extraordinary series of strikes and class struggles in the postwar decades.
In addition to a range of key texts and letters by both Lincoln and Marx, this book includes articles from the radical New York-based journal Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, an extract from Thomas Fortune’s classic work on racism Black and White, Frederick Engels on the progress of US labor in the 1880s, and Lucy Parson’s speech at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.
First Inaugural Address 105
Emancipation Proclamation 115
Gettysburg Address 119
Second Inaugural Address 121
The North American Civil War 127
The American Question in England 139
The Civil War in the United States 151
The American Civil War 161
A Criticism of American Affairs 173
Abolitionist Demonstrations in America 177
Letter from Marx to Annenkov 185
Letters between Marx and Engels 189
Letters between Marx and Lincoln 211
Woodbull & Claflin 219
Independence vs. Dependence! Which? 219
The Rights of Children 222
Interview with Karl Marx 225
Conclusion to Black and White Thomas Fortune 233
Preface to the American Edition of The Condition of the Working-Class in England Frederick Engels 239
Speeches at the Founding of the Industrial Workers of the World Lucy Parsons 251