Practical Christian socialism: a conversational exposition of the true system of human society; in three parts, viz: I. Fundamental principles. II. Constitutional polity. III. Superiority to other systems.

Hopedale and New York, by the author and Fowlers and Wells, 1854.

8vo, pp. xxi, [22]-655, [1, blank], with an engraved portrait frontispiece of Ballou; light foxing to endpapers and frontispiece, a few small stains to fore edge, else a very good copy in contemporary cloth, spine and covers decoratively blind-stamped and ruled, spine direct-lettered gilt, extremities slightly worn, scrape to lower cover, but good.

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Practical Christian socialism: a conversational exposition of the true system of human society; in three parts, viz: I. Fundamental principles. II. Constitutional polity. III. Superiority to other systems.

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First edition. Adin Ballou (1803-90), Universalist clergyman and leading American Christian social reformer, founded the utopian Hopedale Community in 1841, during the heyday of such communal experiments. He surrendered his presidency of Hopedale in 1852 in order to devote himself to expanding his movement and elucidating its principles. The present work – his most important – was the result. His early use of the phrase ‘Christian socialism’ in the work is highly significant, since no definite movement under that banner existed in the United States until, in the 1870s and ’80s, firm links were forged between progressive clergymen and leaders of the fast-growing ranks of organised labour.

Ballou’s ideas had a significant influence on socialist and libertarian thought in the United States and Europe. He particularly influenced Tolstoy, and their correspondence was published in Arena in the year of Ballou’s death. See Nettlau, Bibliographie de l’Anarchie, p. 229.

Not in Goldsmiths’. Rare in the UK: COPAC records one copy only, at the British Library.

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