An inductive approach to studying socialism as a phenomenon and the socialist movements in America during the 19th century.
there is reason to believe that if not now collected, many particulars of the various movements would be forever lost.
"It remains for a future historian to continue the labor which I have thus superficially commenced; for the day has not yet arrived when it can be said that Communism or Association has ceased to exist; and it is possible yet, in the progress of things, that man will endeavor to cure his social diseases by some such means; and a future history may contain the results of more important experiments than have ever yet been attempted.
"I here return my thanks to the fearless, confiding, and disinterested friends, who so freely shared with me what little they possessed, to assist in the completion of this work. I name them not, but rejoice in their assistance.
"New York City, 1854."
The tone of this preface indicates that Macdonald was discouraged. The effect of his book, if he had lived to publish it, would have been to aggravate the re-