Left out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism, 1890-1922

Left out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism, 1890-1922

by Brian Lloyd

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Overview

Left out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism, 1890-1922 by Brian Lloyd

"Why is there no socialism in the United States?" We can best deal with this age-old question, writes Brian Lloyd, by rephrasing it. In this provocative rethinking of American radicalism, Lloyd asks instead: What happened to Marx's methods and concepts when American radicals tried to put them into practice?

As an answer, Lloyd offers a detailed analysis of the Marxian doctrine that Debs-era socialists tried to understand and put to use in changing American society. He highlights the amicable relationship that developed between Marxism and pragmatism, showing how this courtship ultimately impoverished the radicals who cultivated it. Trying to gain a foothold in the struggle to shape American society and social science in the early twentieth century, Marxists invigorated American liberalism while placing themselves on the fringe of liberal discourse and rendering themselves irrelevant.

Whether in the name of Darwin or Dewey, those who claimed to be squaring Marxism with "American reality" succeeded only in creating American versions of the petty bourgeois socialism that Marx had castigated in 1848. The poverty of American Marxism, Lloyd concludes, was above all an ideological condition--the result of radicals' having imbibed far too little, rather than too much, of the Marxism of Marx.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801855412
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 07/01/1997
Series: New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History Series
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 6.28(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.28(d)

About the Author

Brian Lloyd is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Riverside.

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