Debs, Eugene V(ictor)

Debs, Eugene V(ictor)

biographical name


Eugene V. Debs.—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Nov. 5, 1855, Terre Haute, Ind., U.S.—died Oct. 20, 1926, Elmhurst, Ill.) U.S. labour organizer. Debs left home at age 14 to work in the railroad shops. As a locomotive fireman, he became an early advocate of industrial unionism, and he became president of the American Railway Union in 1893. His involvement in the Pullman Strike led to a six-month prison term in 1895. In 1898 he helped found the U.S. Socialist Party; he would run as its presidential candidate five times (1900–20). In 1905 he helped found the Industrial Workers of the World. Debs was charged with sedition in 1918 after denouncing the 1917 Espionage Act; he conducted his last presidential campaign from prison, winning 915,000 votes before being released by presidential order in 1921.

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