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HEAVEN ON EARTH: THE RISE AND FALL OF SOCIALISM
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British Campaign Poster, 1945
 
 
 
1799
Robert Owen purchases a cotton mill in New Lanark, Scotland. He begins to reshape working and living conditions for his employees.   Robert Owen's factory at New Lanark, Scotland, Library of Congress
New Lanark, LOC
1824
Robert Owen’s utopian village, New Harmony, Indiana, Corbis
New Harmony, Corbis
  Owen travels to America to found an experimental community in New Harmony, Indiana. He attempts to eliminate private property.
1828 Although some settlers continue to live in New Harmony, the experiment effectively falls apart due to arguments. Owen returns to London. Owen and his supporters begin using the term, "socialism."
1844
Artist’s drawing of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marx Memorial Library
Marx and Engels, Marx Memorial Library
  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels meet in Paris, France.
1848
Marx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.

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  Cover page of the Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marx Memorial Library
Communist Manifesto, Marx Memorial Library
1848 Revolutions erupt in France, Germany, Italy and Poland.
1863 Samuel Gompers, age 13, moves with his family from London to New York City.
1867
Cover page of Das Kapital or Capital by Karl Marx
Das Kapital or Capital, Marx Memorial Library
  Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital

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1883 Marx Dies.
1885 Engels publishes the second volume of Das Kapital, edited by Engels from an earlier draft by Marx.
1886
Samuel Gompers founds the American Federation of Labor.

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  Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor, Library of Congress
Samuel Gompers, LOC
1894 Engels publishes the third volume of Das Kapital.
1895 Engels dies.
1899
Eduard Bernstein, IISH
Eduard Bernstein, IISH
  Eduard Bernstein publishes Evolutionary Socialism, a critique of Marxism. This marks a major split in the socialist movement between communists who believe in revolution as a necessary transformative step and social democrats who believe in the possibility of a gradual transformation of capitalism into socialism through democratic means.
1900 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin founds Iskra, or The Spark, an underground newspaper published in Germany to organize a Russian Marxist revolutionary party.
1912
Eugene V. Debs wins 6% of the popular vote as the Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States.

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  Eugene V. Debs, Library of Congress
Eugene V. Debs, LOC
1912 Benito Mussolini becomes the editor of Italy's Socialist Party newspaper, Avanti.
1917 Lenin overthrows the provisional Russian government and establishes The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
1945
Clement Attlee, National Archives
Clement Attlee, National Archives
  In a landslide defeat of Winston Churchill, the Labour Party's Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain. Labour begins nationalizing industries.

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  British Labour Party Campaign poster, 1945, National Museum of Labor History
Labour Party campaign poster, NMLH
1949 The Chinese Communist Army defeats the Nationalist Kuomintang. Mao Zedong establishes the People's Republic of China as a Marxist-Leninist state.
1955 Attlee loses to Winston Churchill.
1957
Mao Zedong, National Archives
Mao Zedong, National Archives
  Mao launches the "great leap forward," an attempt to force China 's labor force to increase industrial and agricultural production. It is an economic disaster leading to several years of famine.
1961 The British African colony of Tanganyika gains its independence and merges with Zanzibar to become Tanzania. Julius "Mwalimu" Nyerere becomes its first President.
1966
Mao sets off the "cultural revolution" in China. Thousands are executed, millions are imprisoned. Deng Xiaoping, a longtime supporter of Mao's, is purged from the Chinese Communist Party.   Parade with posters of Mao Zedong, National Archives
Chinese demonstration with banners of Mao Zedong, National Archives
1967 Nyerere issues the Arusha Declaration, outlining his concept of "ujamaa" or African-style socialism.
1973
Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, TVT
Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, TVT
  Nyerere begins re-villagization program, forcing Tanzanians to move into ujamaa villages. Crops are severely disrupted. In the following years, harvests fail and the economy collapses.
1976 Mao Zedong dies.
1978
Deng Xiaoping becomes the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and embarks on "modernizing" socialism in China.

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  Deng Xiaoping, Corbis
Deng Xiaoping, Corbis
1979 The Conservative Party's Margaret Thatcher is elected Prime Minister of Great Britain. She begins to undo many of Labour's socialist oriented policies.
1985 Julius Nyerere retires as President of Tanzania.
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.
1989
Chinese demonstration in Tiananmen Square, ITN
Tiananmen Square demonstration, ITN
  Massacre of protestors in Tiananmen Square, China.
1989
First free parliamentary elections in the Soviet Union's history.

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  Polish Solidarity demonstration with Lech Walesa, Corbis
Lech Walesa, Corbis
1989 Solidarity, a Polish trade union, defeats the Communist Party with a coalition government led by Lech Walesa.
1990 John Major is elected Prime Minister of Great Britain, continuing the Conservative Party's majority in parliament.
1990
During a Russian coup attempt in August, Mikhail Gorbachev held hostage then released. Boris Yeltsin takes control. By December, Gorbachev resigns.   Mikhail Gorbachev on Russian Television, held hostage in a failed coup attempt, Videopressa
Mikhail Gorbachev, Videopressa
1993 Chinese National People's Congress enshrines the phrase "socialist market economy" in the constitution.
1994
Tony Blair, ITN
Tony Blair, ITN
  Tony Blair elected the leader of the British Labour Party. He advocates a move away from socialist principles of common ownership and nationalized economy, refashioning the party as "New Labour," friendly to private enterprise and market economy policies.
1997 Blair defeats John Major to become Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1997 Deng Xiaoping dies.
2005 Blair wins his third term, becoming the Labour Party's longest serving Prime Minister.

 

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