America's Socialist History

Jun 2018
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471
La Pine, Oregon
I can already hear the condemnation from the right in regards to this article, and I am used to their ignorance on this topic. However, it still holds true that socialism has been an integral part of our social structure since the countries founding, and it is what made the country great, not the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, but the use of that wealth to help others:

Poor Relief in the Early America

Early American patterns of publicly funded poor relief emerged mainly from the English heritage of early settlers. The policies and practices of aiding the poor current in England when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts were shaped primarily by the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1594 and 1601, and the Law of Settlement and Removal of 1662. The English poor laws classified poor/dependent people into three major categories and established a requirement for “residency” before aid was provided. Dependent persons were categorized as: vagrant, the involuntary unemployed and the helpless. In effect, the poor laws separated the poor into two classes: the worthy (e.g., orphans, widows, handicapped, frail elderly) and the unworthy (e.g., drunkards, shiftless, lazy). The poor laws also set down the means for dealing with each category of needy persons and established the parish (i.e., local government) as the responsible agent for administering the law. Parish officials were given the authority to raise taxes as needed and use the funds to build and manage almshouses; to supply food and sustenance in their own homes for the aged and the handicapped, (e.g., blind, crippled); and to purchase materials necessary to put the able-bodied to work. If vagrants or able-bodied persons refused to work they could be put in jail.


The preamble to the English Law of Settlement and Removal of 1662 claimed that large numbers of indigent persons were moving to those rural communities where more liberal poor relief was provided to the needy. This law was enacted to permit local authorities to “eject” from their parish an individual or family who might become dependent. The law also authorized local authorities to “pass along” or “remove” persons who could not prove they had contributed to the well being of the parish by their labor or paying taxes.


In time, colonial legislatures and later State governments adopted legislation patterned after these English laws, establishing the American tradition of public responsibility for the care of the destitute while also requiring evidence of legal residence in a particular geographic locality (i.e., town, municipality, county) as a prerequisite for receiving assistance. The most popular means for caring for the poor in early American communities using public funds included: the contract system, auction of the poor, the poorhouse, and relief in the home, or “outdoor relief.” The contract system placed dependent persons under the care of a homeowner or farmer who offered to care for them for a lump sum. The process of “auctioning” the destitute resulted in an individual or family being placed with a local couple or family bidding the lowest amount of public funding needed to care for them. It should be noted the contract system and auctioning the poor were not prevalent outside rural or lightly populated areas. Part of the reason was evidence that the practice of entrusting the care of the poor to the lowest bidder essentially legalized abusive behavior and near starvation existence.


Poorhouses


The most prevalent means of caring for the poor with public funds in early America were poorhouses and outdoor relief. The major advantages for a locality funding a poorhouse (sometimes labeled an almshouse or workhouse) to care for dependent persons were: the necessity of working every day would be a deterrent for able bodied persons who were simply lazy or shiftless; and the regimen of daily life in a congregate setting would instill habits of economical and virtuous living in persons who were destitute because of moral weakness or self-indulgence. The facts revealed that only a small proportion of residents were able-bodied, and then usually in the winter months when jobs were scarce. In many areas, poorhouses became a refuge for the sick, the severely disabled, frail elderly and homeless children who were unable to work and had no one to care for them. Complicating the use of a poorhouse for the care of all destitute persons was the necessary mixing of the worthy and the unworthy poor. Often living in the same congregate setting were able-bodied adults as well as dependent persons such as children, the aged, the sick and the disabled. Eventually, separate facilities were established to care for the different populations, with the able-bodied being placed in a “workhouse” or “poor farm.”
 
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Aug 2018
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Socialism is Government control over the means of production. Attempting to characterize acts of helping the poor as Socialism is blatantly false, and disingenuous misrepresentation.

We are seeing much of this lately as the Left tries to spread acceptance of socialism by lying about what it is.

Don't make the Bernie mistake and point to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as examples of Socialism, for they have very robust systems for helping the poor, but are not socialist.
 
Feb 2019
1,316
606
nunya
Socialism is Government control over the means of production. Attempting to characterize acts of helping the poor as Socialism is blatantly false, and disingenuous misrepresentation.

We are seeing much of this lately as the Left tries to spread acceptance of socialism by lying about what it is.

Don't make the Bernie mistake and point to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as examples of Socialism, for they have very robust systems for helping the poor, but are not socialist.
Yep, they are called "Democratic Socialists". Which is something the left advocates. The Left is saying that socialism is not having medicare programs unlike the people on the idiotic right.
 
Aug 2018
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been around
Yep, they are called "Democratic Socialists". Which is something the left advocates. The Left is saying that socialism is not having medicare programs unlike the people on the idiotic right.
...and that's another word salad fail. Democratic Socialism still entails public (government) ownership and control over the means of production. It's been a disaster wherever implemented.
"'A rose, by any other name, smells just as sweet" - and socialism, by any other name, destroys a nation just the same.
Denmark Sweden and Norway are not democratic socialist, either. Compassionate capitalists would be most accurate for those countries.
 
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...and that's another word salad fail. Democratic Socialism still entails public (government) ownership and control over the means of production. It's been a disaster.
"'A rose, by any other name, smells just as sweet" - and socialism, by any other name, destroys a nation just the same. Denmark Sweden and Norway are not democratic socialist, either. Compassionate capitalists would be most accurate for those countries.
Another unresearched claim made by a member of the Republican Party. Here's the key difference.

"The key difference between socialism and democratic socialism is that
democratic socialists don't want the government to own the means of production
and socialists do. They believe that certain general social goods like health care should
be run by the government, but otherwise support capitalism."
 
Jul 2019
8,006
4,879
Georgia
(not so) Fun factoid:

FDR had Universal Health Care as part of his Social Security Bill, but had to drop it.

guess why?

(if not for these people we'd all have had free health care for over 70 years now)
 
Aug 2018
694
420
been around
Another unresearched claim made by a member of the Republican Party. Here's the key difference.

"The key difference between socialism and democratic socialism is that
democratic socialists don't want the government to own the means of production
and socialists do. They believe that certain general social goods like health care should
be run by the government, but otherwise support capitalism."
LoL! I'll go ahead and quote the answer to that forum post, which was just an individual opinion with no basis in fact. haha it's 2 posts down:

"That's true they don't want the government to own the means of production but they do want the government to have total control of the means of production via social and economic legislation which equates to ownership by default or in absentia. Who you must hire, who you can't fire, what you must pay them, how many sick/vacation/personal leave/maternity days you must pay them for, how many vehicles getting 'X' mileage you must produce, how "big" a "Big Slurpee" you're allowed to sell and the list goes on and on and on. Social Democrats are most certainly not capitalists nor do they believe in Adam Smith's concept of the 'invisible hand' allowing the marketplace to reach supply/demand equilibrium.
Social democracy is a shell game."

"We the citizenry are the rubes and suckers , the "shell men" are the social democrats/liberals/progressives, the shells are their legislation and the pea represents their promises that never quite come to fruition for us but we are fooled nonetheless into taking just one more chance at it, just one more bite of the serpent's apple."

I told you, that word salad crap to misrepresent don't fly.
 
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....and here's another post quote from that forum, in that same thread. I'm starting to like those guys.

" Socialism is socialism no matter how you try to rename it. It is for the weak of mind who want to hand over more control to a governing body. Socialists believe that those in power are far superior to you and I. That their abilities to make decisions as a legislative body are always correct and that the common person cannot decide what is best for themselves.
The reason our socialist friends have not contributed to this thread is they think they are smarter than the rest of us. There is no possible way for us to comprehend such a complex topic such as socialism. After all, we are obviously clueless people.
Yet, they live in a free country where they could leave at any point in time but won’t move to a socialist country because they know it does not work. In other words, they are unwilling to give up the right to make decisions for themselves.

I’ve still have a one way ticket to their socialist country of their choice. Any takers?"

This is fun :)
 
Jun 2018
653
471
La Pine, Oregon
Socialism is Government control over the means of production. Attempting to characterize acts of helping the poor as Socialism is blatantly false, and disingenuous misrepresentation.

We are seeing much of this lately as the Left tries to spread acceptance of socialism by lying about what it is.

Don't make the Bernie mistake and point to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as examples of Socialism, for they have very robust systems for helping the poor, but are not socialist.
I'm sorry, but isn't that what the ignorant right wing calls "communism"?

Did you even bother to read the article, or are you like most right winger and feel you can grasp a concept by mental telepathy never turning a page?
 
Mar 2013
10,382
11,282
Middle Tennessee
Socialism is Government control over the means of production. Attempting to characterize acts of helping the poor as Socialism is blatantly false, and disingenuous misrepresentation.

We are seeing much of this lately as the Left tries to spread acceptance of socialism by lying about what it is.

Don't make the Bernie mistake and point to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as examples of Socialism, for they have very robust systems for helping the poor, but are not socialist.
WOuld you PPPPLLLLLEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSSEEEEEE explain what you just said to the rest of your fright wing, trumpeteer friends and cohorts ?? I mean seriously every time one of those knuckle dragging mouth breathers babbles on and on about how the Democrats are nothing but a bunch of socialists and communists I just want to beat them about the head and shoulders with a blunt object. !!!