What political leader started the Socialist party in progressive era?

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According to most sources, the American version of the Socialist Party was founded in the early 1900’s when the Social Democratic Party, led by Eugene Debs and Victor Berger, merged with the Socialist Labor Party, led by Morris Hillquit.

Much of the party’s early support came from union officials and...

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According to most sources, the American version of the Socialist Party was founded in the early 1900’s when the Social Democratic Party, led by Eugene Debs and Victor Berger, merged with the Socialist Labor Party, led by Morris Hillquit.

Much of the party’s early support came from union officials and members, who were trying to make inroads in working conditions and pay for America’s blue collar workers. The merged party was less radical than the original Socialist Labor Party and favored taking a more gradual, “evolutionary” approach to social change. When the Russian Revolution succeeded, some party hardliners withdrew and formed the Communist Party.

Debs ran for president in 1912 and won 6% of the vote, but that was as well as the party could do in national elections. Several representatives were elected to the House, however.

When FDR’s New Deal instituted new social programs intended to help the working class the socialists lost some of their appeal and eventually withdrew from many election contests.

The Socialist Party still exists in America. The following statement appears at the top of their webpage:

THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a radical democracy that places people's lives under their own  control - a non-racist, classless, feminist socialist society... where working people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically-controlled public agencies, cooperatives, or other collective groups.;  where full employment is realized for everyone who wants to work; where workers have the right to form unions freely, and to strike and engage in other forms of job actions; and where the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few. We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible... From Socialist Party USA Statement of Principles "Socialism As Radical Democracy"

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