The Communist Manifestoes: media of Marxism and Bolshevik contagion in America

James Farr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Communist Manifesto—rhetorical masterpiece of proletarian revolution—was published 69 years before the Bolshevik Revolution and had a complex reception history that implicated America and Russia in the long interval between. But once the Revolution shook the world, the Manifesto became indissolubly tied to it, forged together as constitutive moments of some supratemporal revolutionary dynamic. Its subsequent and further reception in America bore the marks of Bolshevik contagion, negatively in many quarters, positively in the early American communist movement. As various communist parties morphed and multiplied in the 1910s and 1920s, they announced themselves in manifestoes—communist manifestoes that in form and content followed and kept centrally in view the original of 1848. This essay explores the symbioses and synergies between the Manifesto, its Anglophone reception in America, and the Bolshevik contagion that spread into an emergent medium, namely, the manifestoes of American communist parties that heralded the revolution in Russia, a century ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-105
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in East European Thought
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • American communist movement
  • Bolshevik contagion
  • Manifestoes
  • Marxism
  • The Communist Manifesto

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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