Publication information

Corporations Auxiliary Company Bulletin
Source type: magazine
Document type: public address
Document title: “Industrial Socialism or the Problem of Getting a Living”
Author(s): Apthorp, Henry
Date of publication: October 1903
Volume number: 2
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 247-85 (excerpt below includes only pages 282-85)

Apthorp, Henry. “Industrial Socialism or the Problem of Getting a Living.” Corporations Auxiliary Company Bulletin Oct. 1903 v2n4: pp. 247-85.
Henry Apthorp (public addresses); McKinley assassination (personal response); Leon Czolgosz (as socialist); socialism (criticism).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz [misspelled below]; Emma Goldman; William McKinley.
“The principal part of this address was delivered April 12, 1903, at the regular Sunday afternoon meeting of Socialists, at Army and Navy Hall, Cleveland, Ohio” (p. 247).

“Mr. Apthorp has devoted the past twenty years to a study of the economic conditions in the United States, and is well qualified to speak upon this important subject” (p. 246).

Industrial Socialism or the Problem of Getting a Living

     Socialists draw a beautiful picture of future industrial conditions where peace and plenty everywhere abound. In [282][283] examining the background of the picture, the scenery and the figures, I can see that most of the color spread upon the canvas is drawn from the imagination. Looking again I see another picture where the background, the scenery and the figures are all real, they have been spread on the canvas with the color of actual experience in human life. This picture represents the evolution of mankind in solving the problem of getting a living. It shows improvement upon improvement, progress following progress. It also shows that the spirit of justice, never sleeping, constantly operating upon men, actively and steadfastly asserting its claims to the conscience and judgment of the world, forces its decrees in proportion as wealth increases and that wealth increases and finds more equitable distribution in proportion as it is respected and protected.
     Still another picture appears before me in which the figures, the scenery and the background are all real. I saw in a neighboring city two years ago a great exposition, to which were brought the best products of all America. These products were summoned as witnesses of man’s skill and invention. Rewards were offered and the measure of reward was determined by benefits to humanity. Man asserting his individuality and operating through private agencies was there contesting for these rewards.
     The President was there also to join with the people in honor of their industrial triumph. Of the eighty million inhabitants of this country there was one man present, a [283][284] young man, who hated the present economic system, who believed that capital robs labor, that the rich are the rulers and that it was his duty to kill the President because he was a slave of capital.
     This man said: “I was born in Detroit nearly twenty-nine years ago. I got my education in the public schools in Detroit and then went to Cleveland. In Cleveland I read books on socialism and met a great many socialists. I was pretty well known as a socialist in the west. During the last five years I have had as friends, anarchists in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit, and suppose I have become more or less bitter. I never had much luck and this preyed upon me. What started the craze to kill was a lecture I heard some time ago by Emma Goldman. Miss Goldman’s words went right through me and when I heard the lecture I made up my mind that I would do something heroic for the cause I love.”


     Can we fail to see and shudder at the fatal similarity between the ideas expressed by Cholgosz and the ideas now taught by leading socialists, labor unionists and anarchists? “The slave of capital,” said Cholgosz. “Capital enslaves the wage workers,” say these teachers. Perhaps they did not intentionally encourage that tragedy. Maybe they did not know their extravagant and virulent utterances were loaded with assassination. At that time did they believe what they preached? Do they believe it now? If they do believe it [284][285] ought not that pistol shot to be taken as a signal by them and all others to pause and carefully re-examine and thoroughly review and candidly reconsider the facts surrounding the now burning issue which involves such terrible consequences to mankind?
     That poor young man, who was educated in the public schools, who read books on socialism, whose life was made bitter, who never had any luck at anything, was tried and convicted alone and put to death in less than a month. Vengeance was swift. In youth and alone. Think of it! Young and alone in that dark hour in the morning of his life! McKinley was buried with universal tears and covered with flowers. Cholgosz was buried with universal curses and covered with quick lime.
     Is it not strange, more than that, is it not pitiful that not one of the many who taught the economic philosophy which he believed and which, however misguided, he gave his life to advance, came out into the open then, and offered a word or look or sign of sympathy in that mortal crisis of his young life? What a cowardly confession of doubt in the truth of their doctrines is concealed in the universal desertion of Cholgosz and in the shameless silence which prevailed among those who incited and encouraged hatred of capitalists in teaching socialism to the American people.