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Communism: Topics in Chronicling America

Communism was being cultivated as a political and social ideology as early as the mid-19th century. This guide provides access to materials related to "Communism" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Laying the black bogie of Bolshevism in America." December 1, 1918. New-York Tribune (New York, NY), Image 25. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

From the mid-1800s on, communism began slowly rising around the globe in both fame and notoriety. As the ideas spread and developed, new questions on morality and the meaning of human existence emerged creating the political and social environment that we still live in today. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


April 17, 1845 Philanthropist and social reformer Robert Owen lectures in New York about the amelioration of the evils of the social state.
1848 French Revolution leads to the creation of the French Second Republic and shifts towards communism.
October 13, 1870 Plans, theories, and organization of the New International Workingmen’s Association are featured on the New York Tribune.
June 17, 1878 Over 5,000 march through Chicago in a political demonstration called the "Communist picnic."
August 23, 1893 Rev. Thomas Dixon, Jr. compares and contrasts communism and socialism.
November 1919 Palmer Raids (conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice) begin.
February 11, 1920 A revolutionary pamphlet calling for revolution in Chicago was found in the U.S. Department of Justice investigations.