Darlington Hoopes

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Darlington Hoopes (September 11, 1896—September 25, 1989) was the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Darlington Hoopes was born September 11, 1896 in Vale, Maryland in Harford County, the son of a farmer. He was a descendant of Joshua Hoopes, a Quaker from Yorkshire, England who had settled in Pennsylvania in 1683 to take part in William Penn's "Holy Experiment." Young Darlington attended the public schools of Maryland until the eighth grade, and then completed his education at a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania, George School, graduating in 1913. While attending George School, Darlington became a Christian Socialist.

After high school, Hoopes returned to Maryland to work on the farm of his parents. In 1914, he began his studies at the University of Wisconsin, majoring in agriculture. He also visited the Madison office of the Socialist Party in October 1914 and joined the party. Hoopes only completed one year at the University before being called back to work on his parents' new farm in Pennsylvania. He changed his career goals and decided to study the law on his own, taking correspondence courses in public speaking and law from the socialist school People's College at Fort Scott, Kansas, as well as studying during the evening for a five-year period at a law office in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He passed his final Pennsylvania Bar Exam in 1921. Hoopes practiced law in Norristown from 1921 to 1927.

From 1923 Hoopes served as the Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the Socialist Party of Pennsylvania.[1] He was also a member of the Pennsylvania state grange.

Hoopes relocated to Reading, Pennsylvania in December, 1927 following the victory of the Socialist Party there in the November, 1927 elections. In that election J. Henry Stump won the first of his three terms as Mayor of Reading, and saw the majority of Reading City Council won by members of the Socialist Party. Hoopes was hired in 1928 as an assistant city solicitor by the Stump Administration.

Political career[edit]

Hoopes' first election campaign was for judge in Berks County (county of the city of Reading) in 1929, but he was defeated. He did win his next election, as a Socialist candidate to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (he would be re-elected in 1934 and 1936). For his work on outlawing child labor in Pennsylvania, Hoopes was voted as the "most able legislator" by Pennsylvania journalists. Also elected with Hoopes to the legislature (in 1930, 1932, and 1934) was Lilith Martin Wilson, the first Socialist woman elected to any such body in the United States (in 1922, she had been the first woman candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania).

The 1936 split[edit]

In the summer of 1936 the Socialist Party of Pennsylvania severed its connection with the Socialist Party of America over ideological and tactical differences.[2] Hoopes remained with the state organization outside of any national organization. On February 7, 1937 the Socialist Party of Pennsylvania called an "Eastern States Conference of Social Democratic Organizations" in Philadelphia which moved forward towards establishing a new organization, the Social Democratic Federation.[2] Hoopes was named to the 7 member committee which issued a call for a National Convention in Pittsburgh, to be held May 29–31, 1937.[2]

Hoopes later left the Social Democratic Federation and returned to the Socialist Party.

National campaigns[edit]

Hoopes had also been the Socialist vice presidential candidate in 1944, as the running mate of Norman Thomas, and had also been a chairman of the party. He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1930 to 1936, at one point being voted "most able legislator" by journalists.[3]

In both the 1952 and 1956 elections, his running mate was Samuel H. Friedman. In 1952 they received 20,065 votes, in 1956 only 2,044. The 1956 election would be the last presidential election the Socialist Party contested until after it broke into three groups in 1972-1973. In 1973 Hoopes joined the reconstituted Socialist Party USA, which resumed fielding presidential candidates and remains a small third party.

Death and legacy[edit]

Hoopes died on September 25, 1989.

Hoopes' papers reside in the special collections department of Paterno Library at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Solon DeLeon (ed.) with Irma C. Hayssen and Grace Poole, The American Labor Who's Who. New York: Hanford Press, 1925; pg. 109.
  2. ^ a b c "SDF Calls Convention at Pittsburgh, May 20," The New Leader [New York], vol. 20, no. 7 (Feb. 13, 1937), pp. 1-2.
  3. ^ Glenn Fowler, "Darlington Hoopes, Socialist, 93; Twice Party Choice for President", The New York Times, 27 September 1989 (accessed 9 November 2007).

Additional reading[edit]

  • J. Paul Henderson, Darlington Hoopes: The Political Biography of an American Socialist. Glasgow, Scotland: Humming Earth, 2005.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Norman Thomas
Socialist Party Presidential candidate
1952 (lost), 1956 (lost)
Succeeded by
Frank Zeidler (1976)
Preceded by
Maynard C. Krueger
Socialist Party of America Vice Presidential candidate
1944 (lost)
Succeeded by
Tucker P. Smith