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Internet Modern History Sourcebook

CRIB SHEET: Socialism, Marxism, and Trade Unionism

[Note: Crib Sheets are meant as review aids for a particular period/theme. They are not complete overviews!]

Origins of Socialism

  • French Revolution - theory and organization necessary for change
  • Industrial Revolution:
    -the oppression of the working class
    -a new possibility - that poverty might be abolished
    -Creation of class consciousness
  • Judeo-Christian ideas of Justice

Utopian Socialists

  • Count Claude Henry de Saint-Simon (1760-1825)
  • Charles Fourier (1772-1837) - phalansteres (cf. Kibbutzim in Israel]
  • Louis Blanc (1811-1882)
  • Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Early English Socialism

  • Robert Owen (1771-1858) - New Lanark
  • Chartism
  • The Grand National Consolidated Trade Union

Socialist Philosophy - Marx and Others

  • Karl Marx(1818-1883)
  • Fredrich Engels(1820-1895)
  • The Communist Manifesto 1848
  • Das Kapital 1867

Origins of Marxism

  • German Philosophy - [Hegel] - for analysis of historical process
  • English Economics [Smith, Riccardo] - for importance and mechanics of economic
  • French Politics - [repeated revolutions - for means of social change

Dialectical Materialism

Thesis - Antithesis


Synthesis - Antithesis

New Synthesis

In sum - History has meaning

Marx's Application to European History

Feudalism - creates bourgeoisie



Capitalism - creates proletariat


Will create Socialism

In sum - a "scientific" approach to history

Alternatives to Marx


  • Edward Bernstein (1850-1932) - Revisionism
  • Fabianism 1884
    George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
    Sidney (1859-1947) and Beatrice Webb.(1866-1946).

Trade Unions:

  • Craft Unions
  • General Unions

Socialist Parties

  • Needed universal or mass male suffrage: Arrives in late 19th century
    Britain 1867, 1884 (not quite universal)
    Germany 1871
    France, 1871
    Switzerland 1879
    Spain 1890
    Belgium 1893
    Netherlands 1896
    Norway 1898
    Italy 1912
  • German Social Democrat Party [SPD]
    founded 1875 by Ferdinand Lasselle.
  • Labour Party in Britain
    Keir Hardie first socialist MP - 1892
    Independent Labour Party - 1901
    Taft Vale Decision - Unions can be sued for damages
    Trades Union Congress launches Labour Representation Committee
    Labour Party


© 1997, Paul Halsall,

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 6 October 2023 [CV]