American Labor Party

American Labor Party

The American Labor Party was a political party in the United States active almost exclusively in the state of New York.


The first attempt to form an American Labor Party in New York occurred in 1918. This organization participated in the Farmer-Labor Party of the 1920's.

The second American Labor Party was formed in 1936 by labor leaders and former members of the Socialist Party. A fusion party, its initial purpose was to give New York Socialist Party members a way of supporting President Franklin Roosevelt's reelection without having to cast a vote for the Democratic Party.

The Party's most successful politician was Vito Marcantonio, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1939 to 1951. From 1948 until 1949, the ALP had two seats in the House, as Leo Isacson joined Marcantonio after winning a special election early in 1948, but he was defeated in the general election that year.

The ALP's most common strategy was to co-endorse the candidate of one of the major parties, although, as in the case of Marcantonio and Isacson, it would also sometimes run its own candidates. It was able to elect some of its own candidates by trading support for major party candidates (often Republicans) with the major parties for support of their candidates.

In 1936, 1940, and 1944, the ALP endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt for president of the United States. In 1941, American Laborite Joseph V. O'Leary was appointed New York State Comptroller by Governor Herbert H. Lehman both to recognize the ALP's previous and to maintain the party's future support. In 1948, rather than support Harry Truman, it backed Progressive Party candidate Henry A. Wallace. By the 1950s, the ALP had lost much of its support to the rival Liberal Party of New York, in part because of accusations of communist influence in the ALP. In 1952, the party nominated lawyer Vincent Hallinan for president, but he attracted little support. Corliss Lamont made an unsuccessful run under the party's banner for the U.S. Senate, also in 1952. After a disappointing campaign for governor in 1954, the ALP lost access to the ballot, and in 1956, it voted itself out of existence.

See also

*National Guardian

Further reading


* [ American Labor Party Minutes and Proceedings] . Archive #: Tamiment 061. [ The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives] at New York University.


* Hardman, J.B.S. "The Late-Lamented American Labor Party." Labor and Nation, January-February 1948.
* Waltzer, Kenneth. "The Party and the Polling Place: American Communism and an American Labor Party in the 1930’s." Radical History Review, no. 23 (1980).
* Wolfe, Allan. "The Withering Away of the American Labor Party." Rutgers University Library Journal 31 (1968)


* Bakunin, Jack. The Role of the Socialists in the Formation of the American Labor Party. Master’s thesis. College of the City of New York, 1965.
* Carter, Robert Frederick. Pressure From the Left: The American Labor Party, 1936-1954. Ph.D. diss. Syracuse University, 1965. Surveys the political history of the ALP.
* Licht, Walter. An Analysis of a Political Experiment: The American Labor Party (1936-1940). Senior Thesis. Harvard University, 1967.
* Sarasohn, Stephen Beisman. The Struggle for Control of the American Labor Party 1936-1948. Master’s thesis. Columbia University, 1948.
* Stern, Sheila Irene. The American Labor Party, 1936-1944. Master’s thesis. University of Chicago, 1964.
* Stewart, William James. A Political History of the American Labor Party, 1936-1944. Master’s thesis. American University, 1959.
* Waltzer, Kenneth. The American Labor Party: Third Party Politics in New Deal-Cold War New York, 1936-1954. Ph.D. diss. Harvard University, 1977.

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