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The History of the Fabian Society   By: (1857-1955)

Book cover

First Page:

The History of the

Fabian Society


Edward R. Pease

Secretary for Twenty five Years

With Twelve Illustrations



The History of the Fabian Society will perhaps chiefly interest the members, present and past, of the Society. But in so far as this book describes the growth of Socialist theory in England, and the influence of Socialism on the political thought of the last thirty years, I hope it will appeal to a wider circle.

I have described in my book the care with which the Fabian Tracts have been revised and edited by members of the Executive Committee. Two of my colleagues, Sidney Webb and Bernard Shaw, have been good enough to revise this volume in like manner, and I have to thank them for innumerable corrections in style, countless suggestions of better words and phrases, and a number of amplifications and additions, some of which I have accepted without specific acknowledgment, whilst others for one reason or another are to be found in notes; and I am particularly grateful to Bernard Shaw for two valuable memoranda on the history of Fabian Economics, and on Guild Socialism, which are printed as an appendix.

The MS. or proofs have also been read by Mrs. Sidney Webb, Mrs. Bernard Shaw, Sir Sydney Olivier, Graham Wallas, W. Stephen Sanders, and R.C.K. Ensor, to each of whom my cordial thanks are due for suggestions, additions, and corrections.

To Miss Bertha Newcombe I am obliged for permission to reproduce the interesting sketch which forms the frontispiece.


January , 1916.


Chapter I

The Sources of Fabian Socialism

The ideas of the early eighties The epoch of Evolution Sources of Fabian ideas Positivism Henry George John Stuart Mill Robert Owen Karl Marx The Democratic Federation "The Christian Socialist" Thomas Davidson

Chapter II

The Foundations of the Society: 1883 4

Frank Podmore and Ghost hunting Thomas Davidson and his circle The preliminary meetings The Fellowship of the New Life Formation of the Society The career of the New Fellowship

Chapter III

The Early Days: 1884 6

The use of the word Socialism Approval of the Democratic Federation Tract No. I The Fabian Motto Bernard Shaw joins His first Tract The Industrial Remuneration Conference Sidney Webb and Sydney Olivier become members Mrs. Annie Besant Shaw's second Tract The Tory Gold controversy "What Socialism Is" The Fabian Conference of 1886 Sidney Webb's first contribution, "The Government Organisation of Unemployed Labour"

Chapter IV

The Formation of Fabian Policy: 1886 9

The factors of success; priority of date; the men who made it The controversy over policy The Fabian Parliamentary League "Facts for Socialists" The adoption of the Basis The seven Essayists in command Lord Haldane The "Essays" as Lectures How to train for Public Life Fabians on the London School Board "Facts for Londoners" Municipal Socialism "The Eight Hours Bill"

Chapter V

"Fabian Essays" and the Lancashire Campaign: 1890 3

"Fabian Essays" published Astonishing success A new presentation of Socialism Reviewed after twenty five years Henry Hutchinson The Lancashire Campaign Mrs. Besant withdraws "Fabian News"

Chapter VI

"To your tents, O Israel": 1894 1900

Progress of the Society The Independent Labour Party Local Fabian Societies University Fabian Societies London Groups and Samuel Butler The first Fabian Conference Tracts and Lectures The 1892 Election Manifesto The Newcastle Program The Fair Wages Policy The "Fortnightly" article The Intercepted Letter of 1906

Chapter VII

"Fabianism and the Empire": 1900 1

The Library and Book Boxes Parish Councils The Workmen's Compensation Act The Hutchinson Trust The London School of Economics Educational Lectures Electoral Policy The controversy over the South African War The publication of "Fabianism and the Empire"

Chapter VIII

Education: 1902 5, and the Labour Party: 1900 15

Housing "The Education muddle and the way out" Supporting the Conservatives The Education Acts of 1902 and 1903 Feeding School Children The Labour Representation Committee formed The Fabian Election Fund Will Crooks elected in 1910 A Fabian Cabinet Minister Resignation of Graham Wallas The younger generation: H... Continue reading book >>

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