The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

Norman Thomas

Modified: Sunday, 19 October 2014 19:02 by admin - Categorized as: Politicians
Norman Thomas was a well-known socialist and pacifist who ran for President under the nomination of the Socialist Party of America. Thomas took the place of famous Socialist Eugene V. Debs as perennial presidential candidate after Debs passed away in 1926 (the two primary leaders of the SPA at the time were both foreign born, thus unable to run). Running in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944 and 1948, Thomas never garnered more than 2.2% of the vote.

In addition to his membership (and candidacy for president) in the Socialist Party of America, Norman Thomas also was a leading member of the League of Industrial Democracy and a founding member of the National Civil Liberties Bureau. These names may not be familiar, but you probably know of both groups in more modern terms. The League of Industrial Democracy changed its name to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1960. In 1920, the National Civil Liberties Bureau was reorganized and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was born.


Speech Relevance

In 'A Time For Choosing', Reagan quotes Thomas:
Last February 19 at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-time candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States."
Evidence of the speech may be available through a book entitled, The proceedings of the 1964 Minnesota Symposium "Great Issues In Government" February 16-19, 1964, Northrop Memorial Auditorium, University of Minnesota which appears to be available at one college library in Minnesota. Norman Thomas spoke along side Robert Welch (founder of the John Birch Society) about the left and right of politics. Below is the only section of Thomas' comments, as recorded in this book, which contained a reference to Barry Goldwater:
I'm also talking about the greatest issue of all, the absolute necessity that we live under of avoidind war, that is to say, at least large-scale war. We dare not count on any small-scale war remaining small unless we can put it effectively under a police action. Our alliances make it likely that small wars will escalate into large. Now as a matter of fact, whenever I hear Senator Goldwater (I'm not sure how orthodox Mr. Welch thinks him; the last time I heard they didn't quite agree on some thinqs, especially when Mr, Goldwater is looking for votes - well, in any case) I should like Mr. Welch to tell us whether he agrees with the Senator that if we only stand firm, we can so-to-speak bluff or threaten the Soviet Union into doing our bidding; that we can manage our allies by saying, "Thus far and no farther. England, you stop that trade. We'll do what we please, but you do what we say or else we'll boycott you." "Do you, Mr. Welch really think that this kind of thing is-a foreign policy that gets anywhere except toward war?"
Thomas may have made other comments about Barry Goldwater, but are unrecorded or Reagan was mistaken.

From 'Encroaching Control':
A short time ago, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the socialist party ticket, gave a critique on the success of this program when he said the American people will never knowingly vote for socialism, but under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.
This quote has been debunked as there are no known references to it being said by Norman Thomas. There is a article which actually attributes the sentiment (but not the specific quote) to famous author Upton Sinclair in a letter written to Norman Thomas. The Sinclair quote is: The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to 'End Poverty in California' I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.


Source Links

Norman Thomas (Wikipedia)

The proceedings of the 1964 Minnesota Symposium "Great Issues In Government" February 16-19, 1964, Northrop Memorial Auditorium, University of Minnesota article on Norman Thomas

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