Skip to comments.Advocates of Marx's Theories on Socialism Testify Before Senate
Posted on 12/04/2004 11:11:41 AM PST by nwrep
Sep 21, 1883: Karl Marx's theories on Socialism were expounded at length yesterday before the Senate Committee on Labor and Education by Dr. Adolph Douai of the Volks-Zeitung.
Mr. Erastus D. Goodwin, a farmer from Falls Village, Conn. appeared as an advocate of "free trade", or at least a change in the tariff which would permit the importation of raw materials free of duty. Such a change would, in his opinion, be of great benefit to both the agricultural and industrial laborer.
At today's hearing, Mr. F.B. Thurber will be heard in advocacy of anti-monopoly principles.
Just to give an idea of where "free trade" came from ...
Thanks, we need more postings of historical documents. It might shed a little light on some of the problems we face today. I believe arrogance is the big problem, especially in the Senate. Such folks truly believe they are more enlightened and smarter than all the generations that came before and they keep pulling the same policies that never worked in history.
Sorry, I forgot to pin you to the latest episode socialist sophistry.
Did Adam Smith testify? Bastiat?
I thought the idea of "free trade" went back at least that far.
Pretty interesting find. These guys must've been some of the earliest US Marxists. Marx had an early influence on a US labor organizer named William Sylvis in the late 1860s and moved the headquarters of the First International to the US from 1872 to 1876.
The concept of free trade existed long before it was given a black eye by being mentioned Karl Marx. The problems facing the USA now are not "free trade" but trade balance. Labor is too cheap in the countries that produce goods for American import, as well as labor is to expensive in the US for goods that America exports. We are buying more than we need and can't sell what we make. That is not free trade.
Hmm. Show me three people mentioned in three separate lines with the most tenuous of links between them, and I'll show you a poor example of journalistic writing. Didn't they know about paragraph transitions back in 1883?
I bet at least half of the Marxists were Senators.
The farmer might have been a Marxist, but it sure looks like he was testifying on behalf of his own rational self-interest, as well as claiming that reducing his material costs (dare I say by reducing a "tax?") would benefit employees.
DOUAI, CARL DANIEL ADOLPH (1819-1888). Adolph Douai, educational reformer, abolitionist, newspaper editor, and labor leader, was born in Altenburg, Thuringia, on February 22, 1819, to Carl Eduard and Eleanora Douai. He attended elementary school and gymnasium in Altenburg and subsequently studied philology and history at the University of Leipzig. After receiving his doctorate in 1841 he embarked on an extended trip that eventually took him to Russia, where he worked as a private tutor. On September 26, 1843, in Königsberg, East Prussia, he married the baroness von Beust, with whom he eventually had ten children.
In 1846 Douai returned to Altenburg and founded an experimental private secondary school that emphasized the natural sciences and modern languages instead of the traditional classical curriculum. He participated in the uprisings of 1848 and wrote articles for various newspapers supporting revolutionary aims. For his role in the revolt Douai was arrested and eventually tried on five different occasions for high treason. Although acquitted of the more serious charges, he was convicted of several lesser offences and imprisoned for a year.
After his release he immigrated to America; he arrived in Texas in May 1852 and settled first in New Braunfels, where he founded a school. He moved the following year to San Antonio to serve as the editor of the newly founded San Antonio Zeitung.qv The Zeitung at first was educational and literary in tone, but within a short time Douai began to use it as a platform for abolitionist views. In a series of editorials he attacked the institution of slaveryqv as an evil incompatible with democratic government and called for a nation of "free tillers of their own soil." Douai's protest elicited a storm of controversy and fueled the growth of the American (Know-Nothing) partyqv in Texas. Sentiment against Douai and the newspaper reached such a pitch that members of the local German turnverein (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT) volunteered to protect his offices against proslavery mobs. After the Texas State Convention of Germans in 1854, however, Douai's support within the German community began to erode. Several German towns passed resolutions condemning the paper's abolitionism, and many local German merchants withdrew their advertisements. The stockholders of the Zeitung decided to sell the newspaper, which Douai, with the help of northern abolitionists including Frederick Law Olmsted,qv purchased. Despite repeated threats, he continued to agitate for abolition and in the February 9, 1855, issue of the Zeitung called for a separate free state in western Texas. But in 1856, as revenues declined and ill-feeling grew, Douai was forced to sell his interest in the paper to Gustav Schleicherqv and leave the state.
He moved his family to Boston, where he established a kindergarten in 1859, reputedly the first in the United States, under the auspices of a German workingmen's association that he had organized. But controversy still followed him. Because of his public avowal of atheism he again met with opposition and left Boston in 1860. He moved first to Hoboken, New Jersey, where he became the director of a local German school and served as editor of the New York Democrat. In 1866 he moved to New York, where he continued to pioneer the kindergarten movement. He founded several schools and wrote a kindergarten manual and other education textbooks. From 1868 to 1870 he worked as the editor of a labor journal, the New York Arbeiter-Union, and from 1878 until his death he was the editor of the Neu Yorker Volkszeitung. In addition to his work as teacher and journalist, Douai was also a gifted musician and wrote over sixty compositions. Late in his life he wrote his autobiography, in which he described his years in Texas. He died in Brooklyn, New York, on January 21, 1888, and his body was cremated. See also GERMAN ATTITUDE TOWARD THE CIVIL WAR.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Adolf Douai Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. New Haven Workmen's Advocate, January 28, 1887. S. V. Pfeuffer, Scrapbook, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Laura Wood Roper, "Frederick Law Olmsted and the West Texas Free-Soil Movement," American Historical Review 56 (October 1950). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983). Moritz Tiling, History of the German Element in Texas (Houston: Rein and Sons, 1913). Carl Wittke, Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1952).
Marilyn M. Sibley
|The Untimely Death of German Socialism in Texas:
A Review and Brief History
by Steve Rossignol
Death On The Nueces, by Rodman L. Underwood, Eakin Press, PO Drawer 90159, Austin, TX, 78709, 2000, $22.95
The "spectre" that was "haunting Europe" in 1848 when Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto probably never had a ghost of a chance in the arid political climate of Texas, but wisps of its ether did materialize on Texas soil for a brief flurry of years.
The German nobility of the 1840s, recognizing the growing problems of a radicalized industrial working class, sought in its own version of noblesse oblige to arrange an immigration of German workers and peasants to Texas. In mid 1847, a group of about 40 German communists (the Vierziger) set up their ideological commune on the banks of the Llano River about 18 miles west of Llano. The experiment lasted a little over a year, dissolving after a bad case of "too many chiefs and not enough Indians."
The Vierziger relocated to other German outposts in the Texas Hill Country, including the liberal free-thinking settlements of Boerne, Comfort, and Sisterdale. Among their number were Dr. Ferdinand Von Herff, who wrote a treatise for the immigration of German workers to Texas (see front cover) and Jacob Kuechler, variously described as a "revolutionary" and "socialist". They were joined by political refugees from the Revolution of 1848, including Adolph Douai, later to become the pre-eminent Marxist in the United States , Edourd Degener, Ernst Kapp, and others. They were even visited for several years in their free-thinking settlements by Edgar Von Westphalen, the brother-in-law of Karl Marx, indicating a contact with the Marxists in the Old Country.
The German opposition to slavery did not bode well with pro-slavery Texans. Douais newspaper press in San Antonio was destroyed by a pro-slavery mob in 1855, whereupon he left for Boston.. The Civil War also placed abolitionist Germans in a precarious position; by June 1861 they had organized the Union Loyal League to maintain their self-interest, and were threatened with death if they did not take Confederacy loyalty oaths. A special bounty was placed on the head of Jacob Keuchler; he was described as "dangerous" by Confederate authorities,but he always managed to elude capture.
By 1862, the most radical of the Germans had organized themselves into a military unit, and were planning to join the Union Army by way of Mexico. Jacob Kuechler headed a company, and the larger force was commanded by Fritz Tegener. We can probably safely assume that these were the most militant of the GermanUnderwood describes them collectively as Marxists and communists, mostly from the free-thinking colony of Comfort, where no church was built until 1892.
The Confederates got wind of the plan to go to Mexico, and, after trailing the Germans for several days, ambushed them on August 10, 1862 at the West Prong of the Nueces River in northeastern Kinney County. Nineteen were killed, including wounded members who were summarily dispatched by the Confederates. The Germans scattered, some returning home, some continuing to Mexico, but the radical German political philosophy would also be scattered, never to regroup again.
Underwoods account provides a compilation of material which has not heretofore been available. One wishes that his writing were a mite more scholarly, as some assertions he makes are not fully documented, but all in all he is one of the few writers on the subject who has categorically made the connection between the German Unionists and the socialist movement. More research needs to be done on this subject. Maybe someday Ill get around to it.
Can you elaborate? And please include a definition of "free trade."
Yes it is. The labor movement had many interesting beginnings. What I find the most intriguing is that it had different outcomes in the US as it did in Europe. European socialists saw the union movement as a class struggle. In the US, however, it was actually an effort by workers to acquire fair wages and working conditions and not a "class struggle". The great filter of American opportunity affords every man the dream that he to, may become rich. In Europe, the "dream" was to destroy the rich. America may have been founded by Northern Europeans, but there the similarity ends. America is a unique culture and society distinct from its European ancestry. The election cry of "Red Staters", that we don't care what Europe thinks, is a demonstration of that essential difference.
Don't be silly. Everyone knows the idea of "free trade" came by way of Mr. Erastus D. Goodwin, a farmer from Falls Village, Conn., in 1883.
Maybe this is the seed from where Lyndon Johnson, Bill Moyers, Molly Ivans and Jim Hightower received their socialism.
|"F. B. Thurber Dead," New-York Daily Tribune (June 7, 1907)
"F. B. Thurber Dead," New-York Daily Tribune (June 7, 1907).
Varied Career of Once Wealthy Business Man Closed.
Francis B. Thurber, one of the organizers of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, died yesterday at his home, No. 49 West 25th street. He was sixty-five years old. Beginning as an office boy at $2 a week, Mr. Thurber gradually advanced until he became one of the principal members of H. K. & F. B. Thurber and Co., and later president of the American Grocery Association. He acquired a fortune, which was swept away in the panic of 1893.
Mr. Thurber never recovered from that loss, and despite heroic efforts to gain some headway, he was forced to sign a petition in bankruptcy in 1901, his total liabilities being more than $250,000. Mr. Thurber, in his prosperous days, was keenly interested in the advancement of American opera, and lost thousands of dollars, it was said, in furthering this enterprise. Prior to and after his failure Mr. Thurber studied law and at the age of fifty-seven, in 1899, was admitted to the bar. He built up some practice, and tried to recoup his lost fortune and pay some of his creditors.
Despite a brief incursion into the independent field, he was a staunch Republican, and was one of the trustees of the East River Bridge under Mayor Strong. He supported Cleveland in 1884, 1888, and 1892 as a leader of the Anti-Monopoly League. Later, however, he changed his views and became a firm protectionist. At the trust conference in Chicago, in 1899, he made a remarkable defence of corporations. Funeral services will be held at the family home on Monday morning. In the Directory of Directors Mr. Thurber's name appears as president and director of the Producers' Export Company and a director of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation.
Railroads afford the most conspicuous example of the formation of big corporations with which no individual power can compete; and even where governments in Europe have tried to compete they have failed to make money. It is to be hoped that the experiment will never be tried here, as there is no necessity for taxing the people to invest their money in enterprises that would be almost certain to leave the taxation a permanent burden on the country. One of the most significant examples of change of heart as to the morale of railroad corporations and combinations was afforded in the testimony of Mr. F. B. Thurber before the Lexow committee. About a dozen years ago he was a leader among anti-monopolists, and spent about $100,000 in printer's ink, paper, and otherwise, in addition to much valuable time in opposing trusts, monopolies, combinations, and corporations. After the experiment had cost him a vast deal, he discovered that many of the combinations which he had been so strenuously opposing, while working in their own selfish interests, were also doing great work for the benefit of the whole community. They had builded much better than either they or Mr. Thurber knew, though their building was all the result of efforts for self-aggrandizement. This is an important illustration of the principle, that in the aggregation of wealth devoted to the promotion and development of great enterprises for the purpose of enriching its members and with little or no desire on their part to benefit the many, the latter have one of the best guaranties possible that they will be taken care of. Wealth cannot possibly combine and go into any business that will largely increase its returns without conferring much greater benefits upon the community than if the wealth in question had remained in its isolated fragments where it would in all probability have been spent without any extensive distribution. The aggregate is likely to be directed by chosen brain power, skill, and experience, and is almost certain to increase and multiply by the innate power and conditions of its very existence and employment. Apropos of this benign and universal principle, which seems to work about as independently of the purposes and desires of interested individuals as the law of gravitation, I here introduce the testimony of Mr. Thurber in corroboration of this and other matters of interest on the point at issue. It must be regarded as disinterested in view of his former attitude, and he is a man of great intelligence, well versed in politics and economics, of thorough practical capacity, an expert accountant, and possessed of extraordinary executive ability in business, so that his conclusions, based on his protracted experience and irrefragable statistics, can hardly be erroneous. When on the stand he referred to the fact that the consolidation of railroad organizations was the most conspicuous example of the working of the so-called trusts. Explaining the success of this experiment, and the former fears excited by it, Mr. Thurber said:
" There was a fear in the public mind, in which I shared, that these combinations and consolidations would result in exorbitant rates for transportation and to the detriment of the public interest. What the result has been is shown by the following extract from a report adopted by the National Board of Trade at its annual convention in I896: ' The average charge for sending a ton of freight one mile on thirteen of the most important railroads in the United States during 1865 was 3.08 cents; in 1870, 1.80 cents; in 1875, 1.36 cents; in 1880, 1.01 cents; in 1885, 0.83 cents; in 1890, 0.77 cents; in 1893, 0.76 cents; in 1894, 0.746 cents, and, in 1895, 0.720 cents. These railroads performed one-third of the entire transportation of 1893, and, from the figures given, it appears that 0.72 cents would pay for as much transportation over their lines in 1895 as could have been obtained for 3.08 cents thirty years earlier.'"
The witness produced a tabular statement showing the influence of the Standard Oil combination on the prices of refined illuminating oils, per gallon, exported from the United States, 1871 to 1896. On the general principles of aggregation, as he has found them, Mr. Thurber testified: -
" A combination of capital in any line temporarily exacts a liberal profit; immediately capital flows into that channel, another combination is formed, and competition ensues on a scale and operates with an intensity far beyond anything that is possible on a smaller scale, resulting in the breaking down of the combination and the decline of profits to a minimum. The only trusts which have succeeded for any length of time have been those which have been conducted on a far-sighted basis of moderate margins of profit, relying upon a large turnover, and the economies resulting from the command of large capital intelligently administered. The truth of this is illustrated by innumerable failures in trust organizations, recent illustrations of which are the Strawboard Trust, the Starch Trust, the Wire Nail Trust, and the Steel Trust. There are trusts so-called in nearly every branch of business, and there are good and bad in all, but the good so far predominates that such aggregations of capital should be encouraged accompanied by safeguards against abuses. The only additional safeguards needed are for stockholders and investors, whose interests are often sacrificed through lack of publicity. So far as the interest of consumers is concerned, it is amply protected now; first, by competition, as I have shown, and, second, by the common law, which, if invoked, will nullify any contract in restraint of trade, and under existing statutes any unreasonable combination is subject to indictment for conspiracy. "The popular hostility to trusts is due principally to lack of knowledge of their economic effects, and these are gradually becoming better known. There were just enough abuses attending them to give an excuse for sensational journalistic denunciation, and this has caused undue prejudice. A great politico-economic question like this should be considered dispassionately and all sides of it carefully investigated before conclusions are reached. The result of my many years' study of it has been to modify materially the views I entertained in the beginning. "While within the limits of a hearing like this it is impossible to discuss exhaustively all the varying phases of so large a subject, I have endeavored to present to your committee the thoughts which have come to me in a somewhat extended observation and study of the phenomena attending the great economic revolution now in process of development, with the hope that they may have suggested some points which are worthy of further consideration and which may aid your committee in arriving at wise conclusions."
Senator Lexow wished to know whether the witness favored legislative supervision of prices. In answer to questions, Mr. Thurber said that he believed that competition against the American Sugar Company was increasing and would continue to increase. Mr. Thurber did some sums in arithmetic to show that the price of granulated sugar was 6.77 cents per pound for five years preceding the Trust, and for the first five years subsequent it was 5.97. "Do not the large dividends," asked the Assemblyman Mazet, "prove that the consumer does not get the whole benefit?" "Certainly," was the reply. "In my own business," he said, " I would never again incorporate if it could be carried on individually." He admitted that speculation in stocks was possible when they were listed, but added that thousands of corporations did not list their stocks. He cited the Standard Oil Company as a conspicuous example of a company whose stock was not used for speculation.
Were they also in Fredericksburg, Texas?