Today’s generation of young adults have a difficult time imagining the early twentieth century. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a time when there were 100,000 registered Socialists, 1,200 of whom held elected offices; when there were 4,000 labor strikes in a single year; when an avowed Socialist ran for president and received 900,000 votes; when women put their lives on the line for the right to vote. These were heady times, full of spirited resistance to a system that had ignored working Americans for far too long.
Almost a hundred years later, the actions and deeds of those who dared to question the establishment are vivid reminders of our power as ordinary Americans. It is an important message — the power of our dissenting voices and of our commitment to a more egalitarian society for our students to hear.
Reprinted from Teaching with Voices of a People’s History of the United States, published by Seven Stories Press.