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Socialist Party

Alwyn Barr General Entry

Three Socialist parties have existed in Texas-the Socialist Labor party, Socialist party of Texas, and the Socialist Workers party. Generally they favored improvements in labor conditions, popular government, increases in taxes on large accumulations of land and wealth, and government ownership of transportation, communication, and exchange facilities. The Socialist Labor party nominated candidates for governor from 1898 to 1914 (except for 1902) without polling more than 590 votes in any election. In 1904 a group including several former Populists (see PEOPLE'S PARTY) organized a Social Democratic convention and in 1906 became the Socialist party of Texas. Its voting strength increased steadily to peaks of slightly more than 25,000 in the presidential election of 1912 and in the gubernatorial elections of 1912 and 1914, when it replaced the Republican party as the second largest party in the state. A decline followed, and no candidates were nominated in 1922 and 1924. The party then received a few votes in state elections through 1938 and in presidential elections through 1948. In the 1970s the Socialist Workers party briefly flourished, fielding candidates in state elections from 1972 through 1978 and in national elections in 1972 and 1976. The party had faded away by the early 1980s.

Margaret Jayko, ed., FBI on Trial: The Victory in the Socialist Workers Party Suit against Government Spying (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1988). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. E. W. Winkler, Platforms of Political Parties in Texas (Austin: University of Texas, 1916).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Alwyn Barr, “Socialist Party,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 23, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.