Blog post

Legendary Americans who were more than a little bit red ...

Clara Heyworth13 April 2011

In a weekend review of John Nichols' The "S" Word, the Washington Post asks, "What do Thomas Paine, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. have in common?" The answer, as Nichols' details in his book, is that they were "more than a little bit red." Describing The "S" Word as "a search for the legacy of our homegrown radicals," the review goes on to quotes Nichols,

The United States is a country that has always been and should continue to be informed by socialists, socialist ideals and a socialist critique of public policies ... Socialist ideas, now so frequently dismissed not just by the Tories of the present age but by political and media elites that diminish and deny our history, have shaped and strengthened America across the past two centuries.

And reiterating that the history Nichols presents in The "S" Word "isn't merely wishful," the review singles out Lincoln and Marx:

The party of Lincoln will be surprised to learn that in 1864 the 16th president corresponded with Karl Marx through intermediaries.

Indeed, there was an exchange between Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War, with Marx writing on behalf of the International Working Men's Association—for more on this, see An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln.

Visit the Washington Post to read the review in full.

Filed under: reviews