Eugene Victor Debs


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(b. 5 Nov. 1855, d. 20 Oct. 1926).

US socialist Born at Terre Haute, Indiana, he started work for the US railroad system at 14, and soon became a prominent advocate of labour organization. He became the founding president of the American Railroad Union in 1893 and was imprisoned in 1894 for ‘conspiracy’ over the unsuccessful boycott and strike of the Pullman Palace Car Company. While in prison he became a socialist and, after his release, was elected president of the Socialist Party of America in 1900. A highly effective public speaker, he was socialist candidate for President five times between 1900 and 1920. Debs was sentenced to imprisonment again, under the 1917 Espionage Act, for his anti‐war speech in 1918, in which he discouraged recruitment to the US armed services. He was released in 1921 on the order of President Harding, but his citizenship was never restored. He spent the rest of his life as a newspaper editor.

Subjects: History.

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