Solidarity and the Social Gospel: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Document Type


Publication Title

American Journal of Philosophy and Theology

Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Theology


Rapid industrialization with little regulation stimulated a wide array of critiques of unrestrained capitalism and grassroots movements for economic justice in Europe and North America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The idea of solidarity was pervasive throughout intellectual histories and progressive social and theological writings of that time. Solidarity as a concept was of particular importance for socialist and labor movements and the social gospelers. Eugene V. Debs, who ran five times as the Socialist Party's candidate for president of the United States and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World, is remembered today by labor organizers to have said that "solidarity is not a matter of sentiment, but a fact, cold and impassive as the granite foundations of a skyscraper"; it is the "identity of interest, clarity of vision, honesty of intent, and oneness of purpose."