Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

"Fading Beams of the Nineteenth Century:" Radicalism and Early Socialism in Canada's 1890s

Document type Article
Author Homel, Gene Howard
Journal Labour / Le Travail
Volume 5
Date 1980 Spring
ISSN 0700-3862
Pages 249-249


The intensified problems of an increasingly urban and industrial Canada by the late nineteenth century stimulated the development of a significant movement of radical social critics. This article describes and interprets the convictions, supporters, and organizations of Canadian radicalism during the 1890s, encompassing labour leaders, anti-monopolists, single taxers, social gospellers, and the like. The radicals rejected free-market assumptions and, on the basis of their concern for ethical values and for the protection of the productive elements of the community, advocated a radically restructured society based on cooperation and brotherhood. The article explains the rise of socialist ideas against the background of traditional forms of radical protest.