The following essays were first published in a Socialist daily paper in Paris, and are therefore addressed to a public not only well versed in the main theories of Socialism, but in the various questions that have arisen since Socialist ideas have ceased to be merely theories and have become crystallised into party programmes. In America, however, we cannot take for granted, as M. Jaurès does, a familiarity with these ideas, and it has therefore seemed best to prefix to a translation of his essays a summary of the fundamental Socialist theories and of the various methods advocated.
Although Socialists differ upon many points, they all agree on the following main definition:
Socialism is the doctrine that the means of production (that is, capital, land, and raw materials, or in other words, all wealth which is used for the creation of more wealth) should not be owned by individuals, but by society.
In order to understand the process of thought by which Socialists have arrived at this formula, we may imagine an unprejudiced observer of a philosophic turn of mind who has set himself to