Antedating of "Socialism"

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed Feb 10 12:48:15 UTC 2010

Wouldn't you know: VERMONT!


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 20:34:38 -0500
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>)
>socialism (OED 1833)
>1801 _Weekly Wanderer_ (Randolph, Vermont) 27 June (America's Historical Newspapers)
>HOW often has this little word
>In genteel arguments occurr'd;
>As tho' the soul of SOCIALISM
>Must be transmitted thro' a PRISM;
>Which like the Prism Glass, indeed,
>Affords all colors which we need.
>High in the front see ATHEISM,
>And next in rank stands TOM PAINEISM,
>With jovial UNIVERSALISM,
>Which stands oppos'd to FEDERALISM;
>And all together make GINGLEISM.
>Kind Heaven grant me MASONISM,
>With all the joys of FREEDOMISM,
>And shield my bones from RHEUMATISM,
>And I'll be proof 'gainst DEVILISM.
>NOTE:  The above citation seems "too good to be true" as an antedating of _socialism_, but internal evidence from the newspaper page makes it clear that it is correctly dated.  Much less certain is what the meaning of _socialism_ is here, and whether it has any connection to the later signification.
>Fred Shapiro
>YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)

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