Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Raymond Robins

Raymond Robins (17 September 1873 Staten Island, New York - 26 September 1954) was an American economist and writer. He was an advocate of organized labor and diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia under the Bolsheviks.

After financial troubles, his father left the children in care of his mother and left to do mining in Colorado. When his mother went into a mental asylum, his upbringing was left to relatives.[1] He was educated privately. In the early 1890s, he worked as a coal miner in Tennessee and Colorado.[1] After a bad legal experience in a land deal,[1] he studied law at George Washington University (then Columbian University) from where he graduated in 1896. He joined the Klondike gold rush in 1897, where he made some money, converted to Christianity, and became pastor for a Congregational church in Nome, Alaska. He moved to Chicago in 1900.[1] He engaged in social work there 1902 to 1905, and was a member of the Chicago Board of Education from 1906 to 1909. He served also as social service expert for the Men and Religion Forward Movement, in 1911-12, and made a world tour in its interests in 1913. He was leader of the National Christian Social Evangelistic campaign in 1915.
He became identified with the Progressive Party and served as chairman of the State Central Committee. In 1914, he was candidate for United States Senator from Illinois for that party, and was temporary and permanent chairman of the Progressive National Convention in 1916.
During World War I, he was engaged in Y.M.C.A. work and Red Cross work in France. In 1917, he headed the expedition for the American Red Cross to Russia, and worked unsuccessfully at establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia, but some years later, in 1933, did manage to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to exchange ambassadors.[1] On his return from the 1917 expedition, he presented an elaborate report on conditions in Russia, which occasioned much discussion on account of the report's alleged leaning toward the Soviet movement. Although not philosophically sympathetic with the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917, he felt it was popular, and counter-revolutionary efforts were counter productive.[1]

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