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George Ross Kirkpatrick

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George Ross Kirkpatrick

George Ross "Kirk" Kirkpatrick (1867–1937) was an American anti-militarist writer and political activist. He is best remembered as the 1916 Vice Presidential nominee of the Socialist Party of America. He was briefly the Executive Secretary of that organization from November 1925 until May 1926.


Early years

George Ross Kirkpatrick was born February 24, 1867 in West Lafayette, Ohio, the son of a farmer.[1] He attended Allegheny College Preparatory School before enrolling in Ohio Wesleyan University. He received his Bachelor's degree from Albion College and did graduate coursework at Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago.[1]

Upon graduation, Kirkpatrick worked as a teacher at Kansas Methodist College and Ripon College for 4 years before moving to the Socialist Party-affiliated Rand School of Social Science in New York City.[1][2]

Political career

Kirkpatrick joined the Socialist Party of America in 1903. For nearly 20 years thereafter Kirkpatrick traveled across America as a lecturer for the party, speaking to general audiences on the topic of militarism and other political and economic questions.[1]

In 1910 he self-published his first full-length book, a blistering attack on militarism called War — What For? The first printing of 2500 copies sold out almost immediately and the book was subsequently reprinted many times over the course of the decade.[3]

In 1916, a mail referendum of the membership of the Socialist Party of America named Kirkpatrick as the party's Vice Presidential nominee, topping St. Louis feminist Kate Richards O'Hare in the contest.[4] Kirkpatrick appeared on the ballot along with Presidential hopeful Allan L. Benson and he toured extensively in support of the ticket.

In 1924, Kirkpatrick was in Chicago on the payroll of the Socialist Party as the manager of its "Department of Literature."[5] In that capacity he prepared several propaganda leaflets which were distributed in quantity by the party during the 1924 campaign season: a first on the growing wealth of the capitalist class (a four page leaflet entitled Silence!), another detailing the party's opposition to the then-booming Ku Klux Klan, and a third on unemployment. He also edited the party's monthly magazine, The Socialist World, with Executive Secretary Bertha Hale White's name appearing on the masthead of the publication as "Business Manager."

From November 15, 1925, Kirkpatrick served a brief stint as acting Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party, following the resignation of Bertha Hale White, herself a former teacher and journalist.[6] Kirkpatrick, who had been serving as Organization Director, was elected Assistant Executive Secretary by the National Executive Committee at its meeting of October 10, on the heels of White tendering of her resignation effective in a month.[7] Kirkpatrick's time at the helm of the declining organization was short, however, as William H. Henry of Indiana was chosen as a permanent Executive Secretary following the party's May 1–3, 1926 National Convention held in Pittsburgh.

Kirkpatrick later ran for U.S. Senate from Illinois on the Socialist Party ticket in 1928, and for the U.S. Senate from California in 1932 and 1934.[8]

Death and legacy

George Kirkpatrick died in 1937.



Books and pamphlets

  • Mental Dynamite, or Little Lessons to Learn. 1906.
  • West LaFayette, OH: George Kirkpatrick, 1910. —Reissued in multiple editions, including Lithuanian and Finnish translations.
  • For the Educated Proletariat: Some Questions. New York: Cooperative Press, n.d. [c. 1911].
  • Think, or Surrender. Pittsburgh, PA: The Collectivist Press, 1916.
  • The Socialists and the Sword. Chicago: Socialist Party, n.d. [c. 1916].
  • War and the Working Class. n.c.: George R. Kirkpatrick, n.d. [c. 1916].
  • Pittsburgh, PA: The Collectivist Press, 1919.
  • Silence! Chicago: Socialist Party, n.d. [May 1924].
  • The Socialist Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Chicago: Socialist Party, 1924.
  • Out of Work. Chicago,IL: Socialist Party, National Headquarters, [September 1924].
  • Art Young. San Gabriel, CA: Florence H. Kirkpatrick, 1939.


  • "The Priceless Remnant," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 4 (April 1924), pg. 5.
  • "Fall In or Fall Out," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 5 (May 1924), pp. 1, 3.
  • "On to Cleveland Gladly — And Carefully," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 6 (June 1924), pg. 14.
  • "The Enemy Opens Fire Upon the Workers — With Lies," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 7 (July 1924), pp. 6-7.
  • "One Hundred Days!" The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 8 (August 1924), pp. 1-3.
  • "Our Charter of Liberties," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 11 (November 1924), pp. 5-6.
  • "Looking Ahead," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 11 (November 1924), pp. 10, 15.
  • "The Crucifixion of the Children," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 5, no. 12 (December 1924), pp. 5-6.
  • "Certain Difficulties," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 1 (January 1925), pp. 15-16.
  • "The Proletariat and the Right of Revolution," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 2 (February 1925), pp. 12-14.
  • "'Taken!'" The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 5 (May 1925), pp. 5-6.
  • "Join the Army," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 6 (June 1925), pp. 1-3.
  • "The Significance of Youth in Social Progress," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 6 (June 1925), pp. 10-11.
  • "Christ in China, or — Why Hesitate?" The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 7 (July 1925), pp. 1-2.
  • "The International and Labor Congress of 1925," The Socialist World [Chicago], vol. 6, no. 7 (July 1925), pg. 7.

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