Socialism So"cial*ism, n. [Cf. F. socialisme.] A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor. In popular usage, the term is often employed to indicate any lawless, revolutionary social scheme. See {Communism}, {Fourierism}, {Saint-Simonianism}, forms of socialism. [1913 Webster]

[Socialism] was first applied in England to Owen's theory of social reconstruction, and in France to those also of St. Simon and Fourier . . . The word, however, is used with a great variety of meaning, . . . even by economists and learned critics. The general tendency is to regard as socialistic any interference undertaken by society on behalf of the poor, . . . radical social reform which disturbs the present system of private property . . . The tendency of the present socialism is more and more to ally itself with the most advanced democracy. --Encyc. Brit. [1913 Webster]

We certainly want a true history of socialism, meaning by that a history of every systematic attempt to provide a new social existence for the mass of the workers. --F. Harrison. [1913 Webster]

{Socialism of the chair} [G. katheder socialismus], a term applied about 1872, at first in ridicule, to a group of German political economists who advocated state aid for the betterment of the working classes. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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