Meyer London

A Biography of the Socialist New York Congressman, 1871–1926

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About the Book

Meyer London (1871–1926), a Russian Jewish immigrant, settled in New York’s Lower East Side in 1891. He became a lawyer, labor activist, founding member of the Socialist Party of America, and a three term Congressman who advocated peaceful methods and refused to take rigid doctrinal positions. Elected to Congress in 1914 as the lone Socialist, he demonstrated political skill and courage.
London urged unemployment, health and old age insurance, and fought attempts to restrict immigration. At the outbreak of World War I, he urged strict neutrality, but once the U.S. intervened, London supported the war. In 1918, a fusion candidate defeated London, questioning his “Americanism.” He returned to Congress in 1920, where in the face of the pro-business Harding Administration he continued to fight for economic and social justice. His untimely death in 1926 caused shock waves among his fellow Lower East Siders for whom the beloved London had become a folk hero. This detailed political biography closely follows London’s career, the opposition he faced in politics, and the principled if controversial stands he maintained throughout his life.

About the Author(s)

Gordon J. Goldberg is a professor emeritus of history at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with specialties in American labor history and twentieth century America. He lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Gordon J. Goldberg
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 328
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7216-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0050-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

 1. The Early Years: 1871–1901 5

 2. London and the Labor Movement 16

 3. Prelude to Victory: The Elections of 1910 and 1912 41

 4. Victory in 1914 64

 5. Preparing for Congress: Issues of War and Peace 78

 6. The ­Sixty-­Fourth Congress: The Specter of War 97

 7. The ­Sixty-­Fourth Congress: In Pursuit of Constructive Reform 121

 8. The ­Sixty-­Fifth Congress: War Declared 153

 9. The ­Sixty-­Fifth Congress: Champion of Civil Liberties 174

10. The Elections of 1918 and 1920 203

11. The ­Sixty-­Seventh Congress: Opposition to Postwar Conservatism 239

12. Meyer London: The Final Years 266

Epilogue: Failure of a Dream 275

Chapter Notes 277

Bibliography 309

Index 315

Book Reviews & Awards

“Goldberg focuses on London’s involvement in the Socialist and trade union movements”—Reference & Research Book News.