Analysis Of Emma Goldman's Views In Relation To American Radicalism

1361 Words6 Pages
Terra Johnston
17 October 2015
Essay 1: Emma Goldman’s Views in Relation to American Radicalism
Emma Goldman is a historic feminist and anarchist whose accomplishments and views became symbolic in the history of American radicalism. Although she spent some time in prison, and was eventually deported from America in 1919, the time that Emma Goldman spent in America had a significant impact on American radicalism. Emma Goldman was inspired by radicalism by anarchists and disagreed with how radicals were being perceived which lead her to join and invest herself in the anarchist movement; she joined for the right reasons. Her views on what anarchism really means, patriotism and war opposition, and women’s rights were all very predominant
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Goldman was watched, arrested, and imprisoned because of things she wished to speak freely about. Ideals that Goldman sought to speak about included birth control, sexual freedom, freedom of expression itself, workers’ rights, opposition to World War I, etc. Emma Goldman’s opposition to war is what ultimately got her deported. Her views on patriotism relate to her opposition to war. In her essay Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty, while discussing what she believes patriotism really means she stated:
“We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at 5 the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations” (Goldman
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Her views on patriotism and war are symbolic of antiwar views shared by many radicals. The declaration of World War I in 1917 lead to even more antiwar radical movements all over the country. The extent of these movements lead to the Espionage Act. This act made speaking “disloyal” of the country illegal. This act was used to identify the antiwar speakers, and to try and gain control of the growing labor radicalism in the country. Across the country, hundreds of socialists, and radicals were put on trial or imprisoned. Emma Goldman’s views of patriotism and antiwar were similar to all other antiwar radicals in the United States. William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism is a biography of the radical American William Z. Foster. In this biography, while discussing 1917-1918, the author James R. Barrett indicated “The number of strikes soared between 1915 and 1916 as unemployment dropped. Political Radicalism grew along with the industrial unrest. The IWW, the Socialist Party, and local labor party movements all gained strength as the strike wave swept through one industry after another” (Barrett 71). These views are symbolic of American radicalism because this was a matter that they all stood against, even in different ways (from rioting to simply speaking), but in due course lead the government to

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