Research Guides:

Socialist Newspapers

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Socialist Newspapers appeared in both rural and urban areas, including California, Carl Junction, Hayti, Independence and others. Published in St. Louis in 1832, The Free Press took issue with any proposal by the federal or state government that was felt to favor the wealth class over the working class. The Scott County Kicker 1909-1917 from Benton is representative of the more moderate of these periodicals. Its focus was on social injustices such as hunger and inadequate housing. St. Louis was the home of two of the most radical. The National Rip Saw 1908-1918 which changed its title to the Social Revolution was so militant that the US Post office confiscated the July 1917 issue. The Melting Pot, decidedly pro communist, declared itself “the organ of the left wing section of the Socialist Party” in 1919.

Inflammatory comments made in many of these papers regarding actions by the government, platforms of private clubs or any other organization or group suspected of misuse of public funds or conniving to inflict higher living expenses and lower wages on the “common man” often resulted in libel suits. The defending papers usually took on the part of the injured party and used the opportunity to further their views.

While social issues were the focal point, many of these publications also featured brief neighborhood gossip columns with birth and death notices, marriage licenses and other bits of information helpful in compiling family data.