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Radicalism and the limits of reform : the case of John Reed

Rosenstone, Robert A. (1980) Radicalism and the limits of reform : the case of John Reed. Humanities Working Paper, 52. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Poet, journalist, editorial board member of the Masses and founding member of the Communist Labor Party, John Reed is a hero in both the worlds of cultural and political radicalism. This paper shows how his development through pre-World War One Bohemia and into left wing politics was part of a larger movement of middle class youngsters who were in that era in reaction against the reform mentality of their parent's generation. Reed and his peers were critical of the following, common reformist views: that economic individualism is the engine of progress; that the ideas and morals of WASP America are superior to those of all other ethnic groups; that the practical constitutes the best approach to social life. By tracing Reed's development on these issues one can see that his generation was critical of a larger cultural view, a system of beliefs common to middle class reformers and conservatives alike. Their revolt was thus primarily cultural, one which tested the psychic boundaries, the definitions of humanity, that reformers shared as part of their class.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:To be published in a volume of essays honoring George Mowry
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Series Name:Humanities Working Paper
Issue or Number:52
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090811-112648325
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Official Citation:Rosenstone, Robert A. Radicalism and the limits of reform: the case of John Reed. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1980. Humanities Working Paper, No. 52.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14955
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:17 Aug 2009 17:59
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:54

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