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Published on Sep 20, 2015
Lecture Forty-three Anarchism, Atheism and Emma Goldman The books and articles referred to in the lecture may be found in the Bibliography at the end of the written lecture, Lecture Forty-three Lecture 43 Anarchism, Atheism and Emma Goldman This lecture will discuss the impact of anarchism, atheism and Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940) on United States culture and legal development from the Gilded Age up to America’s entry into the First World War in 1917. If you will recall from my earlier lecture on Ingersoll and the Golden Age of Freethought in the United States, the Gilded Age’s dates were approximately from the 1870’s to 1900. (Please see Ingersoll and the Golden Age of Freethought for a more developed view of the Gilded Age.) Emma Goldman was a Jewish Lithuanian/Russian anarchist. She had immigrated to the United States in 1886, just four months before the infamous Haymarket Riot, in which 7 policemen and 4 citizens had been killed by a bomb and the ensuing gunfire. Eight men, all of them anarchists, were arrested and found guilty. Seven of the defendants were sentenced to death for murder and the eighth man received a sentence of 15 years. The Haymarket Riot and the Haymarket martyrs, as the condemned anarchists were called, were sources of great inspiration for Goldman. She was called “Red Emma,” and she was part of the left wing of American politics, but she was not a Communist or a socialist. She was an anarchist. The Haymarket Riot also inspired Edward Bellamy’s famous 1887 novel, Looking Backward. The novel talks about America’s fear of a small band of anarchists. His book, according to Marian J. Morton, was a “powerful critique of the Gilded Age.”