Home About Chat Users Issues Party Candidates Polling Firms Media News Polls Calendar Key Races United States President Senate House Governors International

New User Account
"A historical political resource." 
Email: Password:

  Thomas, Norman M.
NameNorman M. Thomas
New York City, New York , United States
Born November 20, 1884
DiedDecember 19, 1968 (84 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedZeus the Moose
Feb 12, 2021 10:26am
Tags ACLU - Presbyterian -
InfoNorman Mattoon Thomas, the son of a Presbyterian minister, was born in Marion, Ohio, on 20th November, 1884. He studied political science under Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University and graduated in 1905.

Thomas did voluntary social work in New York before studying theology at the Union Theological Seminary. Influenced by the writings of the Christian Socialist movement in Britain, Thomas became a committed socialist. Thomas was ordained in 1911 and became pastor of the East Harlem Presbyterian Church in New York City.

A pacifist, Thomas believed that the First World War was an "immoral, senseless struggle among rival imperialisms". His brother shared his views and went to prison for resisting the draft. Thomas joined with Abraham Muste, Scott Nearing and Oswald Garrison Villard to form the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). In 1917 Thomas, Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin established the National Civil Liberties Bureau (NCLB).

In 1918 he founded and edited the World Tomorrow and two years later joined with Jane Addams, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Upton Sinclair to establish the American Civil Liberties Union. As well as being associate editor of the Nation (1921-22), he was co-director of the League of Industrial Democracy (1922-37) and a frequent contributor to its journal, The Unemployed (1930-32).

Thomas, a member of the Socialist Party, was its candidate for Governor of New York in 1924. After the death of Eugene Debs Thomas became the party's presidential candidate in 1928, 1932 and 1936. Although easily defeated, Thomas had the satisfaction of seeing Franklin D. Roosevelt introduce several measures that he had advocated during his presidential campaigns.

Thomas joined Burton K. Wheeler and Charles A. Lindbergh in forming he America First Committee (AFC) in September 1940 and soon became the most powerful isolationist group in the United States. The AFC had four main principles: (1) The United States must build an impregnable defense for America; (2) No foreign power, nor group of powers, can successfully attack a prepared America; (3) American democracy can be preserved only by keeping out of the European War; (4) "Aid short of war" weakens national defense at home and threatens to involve America in war abroad.

The AFC influenced public opinion through publications and speeches and within a year had over 800,000 members. The AFC was dissolved four days after the Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor on 7th December, 1941. Although previously a pacifist, Thomas now supported United States involvement in the Second World War. However, he was critical of some aspects of Roosevelt's policies, including the internment of Japanese Americans and big business control of war production.

Thomas was the Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1940, 1944 and 1948. A strong critic of Soviet communism, Thomas also denounced rearmament and the development of the Cold War. Other issues associated with Thomas during the post-war period included his campaigns against poverty, racism and the Vietnam War.

Thomas wrote several books on politics, including Is Conscience a Crime? (1927), As I See It (1932), A Socialist Faith (1951), The Test of Freedom (1954), The Prerequisites of Peace (1959) and Socialism Re-examined (1963). Norman Thomas died on 19th December, 1968.


Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor

Importance? 7.87500 Average

Wife Frances Violet Stewart Thomas Sep 01, 1910-Aug 01, 1947
Daughter Mary "Polly" Thomas 0000-
Daughter Rebekah Thomas 0000-
Son Evan Thomas, II 0000-
Daughter Frances Thomas 0000-
Son Norman M. Thomas, Jr. 1911-1921
Son William Stewart Thomas 1912-

  10/10/1964 Nobel Peace Prize Lost 0.00% (-100.00%)
  12/13/1948 US President Lost 0.00% (-57.06%)
  11/02/1948 US President National Vote Lost 0.28% (-49.27%)
  05/09/1948 US President - S Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  12/18/1944 US President Lost 0.00% (-81.36%)
  11/07/1944 US President National Vote Lost 0.16% (-53.22%)
  06/04/1944 US President - Soc Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  12/16/1940 US President Lost 0.00% (-84.56%)
  11/05/1940 US President National Vote Lost 0.23% (-54.50%)
  04/08/1940 US President - Soc Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/08/1938 NY Governor Lost 0.53% (-49.85%)
  12/14/1936 US President Lost 0.00% (-98.49%)
  11/03/1936 US President National Vote Lost 0.41% (-60.38%)
  05/26/1936 US President - Soc Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  04/02/1936 NY US President - Soc Primary Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  01/00/1936 Soc Party Chairman Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/06/1934 NY US Senate Lost 5.27% (-50.07%)
  01/04/1933 US President Lost 0.00% (-88.89%)
  11/08/1932 US President National Vote Lost 2.23% (-55.20%)
  05/24/1932 US President - Soc Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/03/1931 Manhattan Borough President Special Lost 13.27% (-54.54%)
  11/04/1930 NY District 6 Lost 22.10% (-24.92%)
  11/05/1929 New York City Mayor Lost 12.29% (-48.41%)
  01/02/1929 US President Lost 0.00% (-83.62%)
  11/06/1928 US President National Vote Lost 0.72% (-57.50%)
  04/17/1928 US President - Soc Convention Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/02/1926 NY State Senate 14 Lost 9.63% (-56.05%)
  11/03/1925 New York City Mayor Lost 3.48% (-62.30%)
  11/04/1924 NY Governor Lost 3.07% (-46.89%)
US President National Vote - Nov 03, 1964 D Lyndon Baines Johnson
US President National Vote - Nov 04, 1924 R Robert Marion La Follette