For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Norman Thomas: The Great Dissenter
  • Raymond F. Gregory
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Norman Thomas: The Great Dissenter.
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A conscientious objector in two world wars and a relentless advocate for world peace as well as social justice, Norman Thomas was tear-gassed, arrested, and jailed as he stood up for the rights of minorities, immigrants, and the working poor.

In addition to being a civil rights activist, Thomas headed the Socialist Party for 18 years, ran for president six times, was a pacifist, and created several institutions to advance world peace and universal disarmament. He strongly and vocally opposed the Vietnam War.

This biography highlights the values that lay behind his actions, values which included aspects of socialism but which also conflicted with the views of many Leftists.

About the Author

An employment and discrimination attorney with over thirty-five years' experience, Raymond F. Gregory is author of Unwelcome and Unlawful: Sexual Harassment in the American Workplace (ILR Press, 2004), Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality (Rutgers University Press, 2003) and Age Discrimination in the American Workplace: Old at a Young Age (Rutgers University Press, 2001).

About the Book

Norman Thomas, for over fifty years a relentless advocate for justice and equality for all Americans, was convinced that socialism was the sole path to economic and political justice....

Norman Thomas, for over fifty years a relentless advocate for justice and equality for all Americans, was convinced that socialism was the sole path to economic and political justice.

He advocated the adoption of economic programs that ultimately became the fabric of American life — social security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage laws, a ban on child labor, workers’ compensation, and anti-discrimination laws.

Fighting to relieve underprivileged workers from the extremes of a capitalistic system, he was subjected to physical attack, was tear-gassed, arrested, and jailed. Unquestionably a man of great courage, Thomas also was a man far in advance of his time, anticipating an ever-expanding welfare state and an international interdependency inspired by a global economy.

Six times the Socialist Party candidate for President, Thomas promoted a brand of socialism that shunned class conflict and the violence of revolution. Thomas repeatedly condemned Communist Party advocacy of violent class warfare, believing that socialism should replace capitalism through democratic means and without violence. But this fundamental difference in Socialist and Communist principles did not deter Thomas from continuing attempts to persuade others that Socialists and Communists could co-operate in attaining that goal.

In this work, Raymond F. Gregory examines Norman Thomas’ life from the perspective of his lifelong endeavor to attain justice and equality for the poor and the oppressed of his time.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Thomas and Mattoon Families.

Chapter 2. Working in the Slum Areas of New York City.

Chapter 3. Pacifism and Socialism...

Chapter 4. Civil Liberties in Time of War.

Chapter 5. Running for Elective Office.

Chapter 6. Running for President.

Chapter 7. The Depression Years.

Chapter 8. The 1932 Presidential Election and the New Deal

Chapter 9. Arkansas Sharecroppers.

Chapter 10. The Sharecropper Problem and the Roosevelt Administration.

Chapter 11. The Decline of the Socialist Party.

Chapter 12. Between Elections.

Chapter 13. Opposing a U.S. President and a New Jersey Mayor.

Chapter 14. Fascism, Communism and Pacifism...

Chapter 15. Opposing United States’ Entry Into World War II

Chapter 16. The Internment of Japanese-Americans and Other Wartime Civil Rights Violations.

Chapter 17. Taking Stock.

Chapter 18. The Final Run for the Presidency.

Chapter 19. Opposing Nuclear Testing, Supporting Disarmament.

Chapter 20. Reevaluating Socialism...

Chapter 21. Confronting Racism, the Vietnam War, and Injustice.

Chapter 22. The Great Dissenter.

Chapter 23. Declining Health.

Chapter 24. Summing Up.

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Pages 320
Year: 2008
LC Classification: HX84.T47G74
Dewey code: 335.0092--dc22
BISAC: POL004000 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
BISAC: POL005000 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Socialism
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-621-5
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-622-2
Price: USD 32.95
ISBN: 978-0-87586-623-9
Price: USD 22.95
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