August Palm

August Teodor Palm (February 5, 1849 - March 14, 1922) was the son of a school teacher near Malmö in southern Sweden and a key person in introducing the social democrat labour movement in Sweden and forming it in a pragmatic and non-revolutionary direction.

An orphan at the age of 10, he was trained to be a tailor. At the age of 18 he made a training journey through Denmark and Germany, after which he settled in 1874 as a tailor in Haderslev/Hadersleben in Northern Schleswig. Also in 1874 he married Johanna Larsson.

During his journey in Germany, he came to know the socialist ideas, and in 1877 he was evicted from Germany because of his socialist agitation. He then stayed in Storheddinge in Denmark until 1881, when he returned to his native Sweden. On November 6 this year in Malmö he held the first socialist speech ever in Sweden, and entered a political tour to Gothenburg and Stockholm.

In March 1882, he started the newspaper Folkviljan (will of the people) in Malmö, and acted as its editor until 1885, when it was discontinued. Instead, August Palm moved to Stockholm and on September 25, 1885 started the newspaper Social-Demokraten (the social democrat), acting as its editor for its first year. From the fall 1886, Hjalmar Branting took over as editor-in-chief.

In 1900, August Palm was invited to visit America by the Scandinavian club of the Socialist Labour Party (S. L. P.) in Providence, Rhode Island, in cooperation with similar clubs in New York and Brooklyn, as a means to attract more members to these clubs. The trip started on September 1, 1900 and is described in the Swedish book Ögonblicksbilder från en tripp till Amerika (snapshots from a trip to America), published in 1901. He was much impressed by the improved conditions that workers enjoyed in America, and hoped that Swedish workers would one day reach the same material wealth.

Books by August Palm

  • Några drag ur mitt lif (some characteristics of my life), 1899
  • Ögonblicksbilder från en tripp till Amerika (snapshots from a trip to America), 1901
  • Ur en agitators lif (from the life of an agitator), 1904

See also


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