Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Evan Friss

Michael Gubser

Steven Reich


This project used two socialist magazines to analyze the relationship between radical politics and the historical moment. Political radicals worked outside of the mainstream and aimed to influence the creation of a dramatically different future. The question then was how did a group of radicals like those that worked on The Masses and the Liberator deal with the open contingency of history, that their imagined future may never come or could appear in a different form than they imagined, and how did they communicate that vision of the future in an intelligible way. Based on the magazines, I argued that radicals looked to models in the present that invoked characteristics in line with their idea of the future. At one point during The Masses that model was the bohemian artist who was free from restrictive bourgeois values and thus able to realistically represent life under capitalism. During the Liberator that model was the Bolshevik revolutionary who based pragmatic political decisions on objective facts to engineer social revolutions. In both cases, those models broke down as new events and changing political environments presented alternative models better suited for the current moment.



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