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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Socialist Party Membership by States 1904-1940

by James Gregory and Rebecca Flores

The Socialist Party grew dramatically in the early 20th century, reaching a peak dues-paying membership of 113,000 in 1912. Based on party records, this map and accompanying charts show the reported membership numbers for each state for most years from 1904 to 1940. Notice that membership as a percent of population was strongest in the West until 1917 when the US entered World War I. At that point, party membership increased in New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and some other states. After 1919, membership declined precipitously as many left the SP to join the Communist Party and others drifted away as the Red Scare undercut all radical movements. Choose from six visualizations below including two data tables. The maps are hosted by Tableau Public and may take a few seconds to respond. If slow, refresh the page. Here are other Socialist Party maps.

Move between six maps and charts by selecting tabs below

Note: Data come from Socialist Party reports on dues paying membership. Dues payments fluctuated from month to month, often dramatically. These are 12 month averages, except for 1919 where we have averaged January-August. Reliable data has not been located for 1920-1922, 1931, 1938-1939.

Sources: The Socialist Party Official Bulletin, January issues for 1905-1913; American Socialist, October 3, 1914; January 23, 1915; January 22, 1916; and the following documents from Socialist Party of America papers (microfilmed) reel 75: "Membership report for the year 1925"; "1926 Membership Report"; "Comparative Membership Report 1928"

Data compilation: Becca Flores

Maps: James Gregory

Additional Socialist Party maps and charts

Click to see map and photos
Membership by state 1904-1940

This combination of interactive maps and charts track Socialist Party membership by state during the party's heyday from 1904 to 1919 and then from 1923 to 1940. Party membership reached a high of 113,000 in 1912. Advance the slide to see changing membership by year. Interactive controls allow you to compare particular states.


Votes for SP candidates for president, governor, and congress by county, 1904-1948

The SP secured over a million votes for congressional candidates in 1912 and large totals in other races as late as 1938. Here are seven maps and charts showing vote totals for Socialist Party candidates in each presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional election for each county and state.

Click to see map and photos
Newspapers 1900-1920

This interactive map identifies 380 newspapers linked to the Socialist Party, providing detail about editors, circulation, and about the towns and cities where they were published.

Click to see map and photos
Socialists elected to office 1901-1960

This interactive map shows 353 cities and towns that elected Socialist Party candidates to public office, including mayors, congressmen, legislators, and many other offices, more than 1,000 in all.


Socialist Activities by States and Regions

These maps and charts zero in on regions and subregions, displaying county by county electoral support for socialist candidates for the Northeast, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest, and subregions of the South. They make it possible to follow hotspots of party support from election to election.