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Lipset: Why no socialism in the United States

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Lipset. 1977. Why no socialism in the United States?. In Radicalism in the Contemporary Age, eds. Seweryn Bialer and Sophia Sluzar, vol 1. Boulder: Westview Press..

In Brief

Lipset reviews what socialists say about socialism in America. Originally, Marx and Engels expected the most industrialized, advanced capitalist state to be the first to face social dilemmas and succumb to socialist revolution. When Russia caught everyone off guard (an agrarian, underdeveloped state leading the way toward socialism), Trotsky and others then began to suspect that America would be last, citing some of the same reasons Marx and Engels used.

See below for the reasons.

Why No Socialism: Two Main Answers

Answer 1: American society (sociological, economic, and political aspects).

Answer 2: Factors internal to the various radical movements in the U.S.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Lipset, Seymour Martin (author)American PoliticsAmerican ExceptionalismSocialismCulturePublic OpinionPolitical Values

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