Marxist theory has, to this day, not been able to inspire a large social movement in America. On the contrary, left-wing groups, during the infrequent occasions when they have thrived, have done so precisely when they were least committed to Marxism. Theheyday of socialism came at a time when it most nearly resembled the major American political parties in its hospitality to all shades of left-wing opinion. The Communist Party gained influence indirect proportion as it abandoned Marx for Jefferson and Lincoln and proclaimed Marxism to be twentieth-century Americanism.
Harvey Klehr, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emory University, is currently engaged in research on the failure of American radicalism.