Debs, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1855-1926

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1855-11-05
Death 1926-10-20
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American socialist leader.

From the description of Eugene V. Debs letters, 1885-1926, to Frank X. Holl. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754867567

Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926) was born in Terre Haute, Indiana to Jean Daniel and Marguerite Marie Debs. He married Katherine Metzel in 1885. During the 1870s he served as an official of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (BLF) and editor of Locomotive Fireman's Magazine. He resigned from the BLF in 1892 to begin organizing the American Railway Union (ARU). He was arrested in 1894 for his activities in a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company and sentenced to six months in prison. He became a socialist shortly after serving his first prison sentence and was instrumental in forming the Social Democratic Party. In 1918 he was sentenced to ten years in prison as a result of his activities against American involvement in World War I. He was pardoned by President Warren G. Harding in 1921. Debs ran for President of the United States on the Socialist Party ticket in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920.

From the guide to the Eugene V. Debs Photographs, [ca. 1895]-1923, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Eugene V. Debs was a five-time candidte for president on the Socialist ticket, an advocate of industrial unionism and a tireless champion of the working class. Born 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana, Debs wa introduced to the plight of the working man as a fireman on the railroad. He arganized firemen in 1875, later becoming secretary-treasurer of the national organization and editor of its magazine. He was elected city clerk of Terre Haute in 1883 and member of the Indiana House in 1885. In 1893 Debs formed the American Railway Union and in 1897 transformed it into the Social Democratic Party of America (later the Socialist Party of America) and ran unsuccessfully for president on its ticket in 1900 and 1904. After helping found the Internation Workers of the World in 1905, Debs ran for president again in 1908 and 1912. Debs' vehement opposition to U.S. entry into World War I secured him a jail term for violation of the Espionage Act, and in 1920 from the Atlanta prison he ran for president fro the last time. Released in 1921 by President Warren Harding, Debs spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing. He died in Elmhurst, Illinoi in 1926.

From the description of Eugene V. Debs photographs [graphic]. [ca. 1895]-1923. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 58787538

A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Debs became active in the local and national Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen as a young man. In 1885 he served one term in the Indiana legislature. In 1893 Debs helped to form the American Railway Union, and in 1897 transformed the union into the Social Democratic (Socialist) Party of America. He ran for president on the party's ticket several times without success and continued his activities as a leader in the labor movement.

From the description of Papers, 1881-1940. (Indiana Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 27919419

Born and reared in Terre Haute, Indiana, Eugene Debs began work in a railroad enginehouse and then became a locomotove fireman, serving as an officer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen and as editor of the FIREMEN'S MAGAZINE. Resigning from his union offices in 1892, Debs organized the American Railway Union along industrial lines. The ARU was crushed in the Pullman Strike of 1894 and Debs was convicted of conspiracy and jailed for six months. In 1897, Debs helped to form the Social Democratic Party, which merged with a faction of the Socialist Labor Party to form the Socialist Party of America in 1901. One of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905, Debs withdrew from that organization three years later. Debs ran for president of the United States on the Socialist ticket in five elections between 1900 and 1920. An opponent of American involvement in World War I, Debs was convicted of violating the Espionage Act in 1918 and was sentenced to a ten year prison term. Pardoned by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, Debs died in 1926.

From the description of Eugene V. Debs papers, 1834-1945, bulk 1877-1927. [microform] (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64091616

Lecturer, labor organizer.

From the description of Letters, to Joseph A. Labadie, 1905-1928. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34368282

Leader of the Socialist Party of America.

From the description of Walls and bars : manuscript, 1899-1922 (inclusive), 1922 (bulk). (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 52250103

From the description of Walls and bars : manuscript, 1899-1922 (inclusive), 1922 (bulk). (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 83760735

Eugene V. Debs was born in Indiana, became a railway worker, was active in his union, and a leader in the Chicago Pullman strike of 1894. He was a founder of the Social Democratic Party of America, 1899, and a five-time Socialist candidate for U.S. President. He edited several journals and wrote books on socialism and unionism.

From the description of Eugene V. Debs letter to Isidore Fischer, 1924 Oct. 8. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 57358488

Eugene V. Debs was a five times candidate fro president on the Socialist ticket, an advocate of industrial unionism and a tireless champion of the working class.k Born in 1955 in Terre Haute, Indiana, Debs was introduced to the plight of the working man as a fireman on the railroad. He organized firemen in 1875, later becoming secretary-treasurer of the national organization and editor of its magazine. He was elected city clerk of Terre Haute in 1883 and member of the Indiana House in 1885. In 1893 Debs formed the American Railway Union and in 1897 transformed it into the Social Democratic Party of America (later the Socialist Party of America) and ran unsuccessfully for president on its ticket in 1900 and 1904. After helping found the International Workers of the World in 1905, Debs ran for president again in 1908 and 1912. Debs' vehement opposition to U.S. entry into World War I secured him a jail term, for wiolation of the Espionage Act, and in 1920 from the Atlanta prison, he ran for president for the last time. Released in 1921 by President Warren Harding, Debs spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing. He died in Elmhurst, Illinois in 1926.

From the description of Papers, 1884-1955. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 17269710

Union organizer,

Socialist candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920.

From the description of Debs, Eugene Victor, papers, 1884-1941. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 23175374

Biographical/Historical Note

American socialist leader.

From the guide to the Eugene V. Debs letters to Frank X. Holl, 1855-1926., (Hoover Institution Archives)

Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926), leader of the Socialist Party of America and its presidential candidate on four occasions, was bitterly opposed to American entry into World War I. He denounced the war and assailed the federal administration for its prosecution of persons charged with sedition. He himself was indicted by a federal grand jury for a violation of the Espionage Act, and on September 24, 1918, after a four-day trial, Debs was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict in March, 1919, and Debs was taken to the federal penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia. On Christmas Day, 1921, by order of President Warren G. Harding, Debs was released, though without restoration of his citizenship.

While still an inmate of the penitentiary, the suggestion was made to Debs that he write a series of articles describing his prison experience. After his release, twelve articles were written and published through the Bell Syndicate of New York and in newspapers which subscribed for them throughout the country.

Debs later decided, since many of his articles were censored on the grounds that they were "propaganda," or "too radical," to publish them in book form, under the title Walls and Bars.

From the guide to the Debs, Eugene V., Walls and Bars. Manuscript, 1899-1922 (inclusive), 1922 (bulk)., (Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to French immigrant parents, Eugene V. Debs worked as a painter on the railroad and as a clerk, while becoming active in Democratic politics at the local and state levels. He gained prominence as editor of the magazine of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and served as secretary-treasurer of the union. In 1893 he broke away from the conservative Brotherhood to organize the American Railway Union (ARU), one of the first industrial unions in the United States. After leading the ARU in a bitter strike against the Pullman Company in 1894, he was sentenced to six months in jail. He was among the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905, but broke with the organization in 1908.

Debs ran for president of the United States in 1900 as the standard-bearer of the newly formed Social Democratic Party, a precursor of the Socialist Party of America. A compelling orator and charismatic leader, he was the Socialist Party's presidential candidate in 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920.

On June 16, 1918, Debs delivered an impassioned speech in Canton, Ohio in opposition to the United States' involvement in World War I. He was arrested and tried under the Espionage Act of 1917; the indictment accused him of "attempting to cause insubordination, mutiny, disloyalty and refusal of duty within the military…. [and promoting] the cause of the Imperial German Government." He was sentenced, at the age of sixty-three, to serve ten years in federal prison. In 1920, while still imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, Debs conducted his last campaign for president; he won more than 900,000 votes - 3.5 percent of the total. On December 25, 1921, President Warren G. Harding commuted Debs' sentence to time served and Debs was released from prison.

After his release, and despite his worsening health, Debs continued to speak and publish widely on behalf of the Socialist Party, and related causes such as the campaign to free Sacco and Vanzetti. He died at the age of 70 at Lindlahr Sanitarium in Elmhurst, IL on October 20, 1926, and was buried in Terre Haute.

From the guide to the Eugene V. Debs Papers, 1886-1966, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6vj6bz2
Ark ID:
w6vj6bz2
SNAC ID:
83797877

Subjects:

  • Socialists--United States--Correspondence
  • Presidents--Election--1908
  • Socialists--Portraits
  • Presidents--Election--1912
  • Elections--California--Los Angeles--19th century--Archival resources
  • Labor leaders
  • Presidents--Election--1920
  • Socialists--Correspondence
  • Socialists--United States--Biography
  • Presidents--Election--1900
  • Radicalism
  • Socialism--United States
  • Socialists
  • Labor and laboring classes
  • Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Officials and employees
  • Prisoners' writing, American
  • Railroads--Employees--Labor unions
  • Socialism
  • Prisons
  • Caricatures and cartoons
  • Labor laws and legislation
  • Political parties
  • Labor movement
  • Elections
  • Labor leaders--United States--Correspondence
  • Railroads--Employees--Labor unions--United States
  • Labor unions and communism
  • Socialist parties
  • Labor leaders--United States--Biography
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • Presidents--Election--1904
  • Industrial relations
  • Trials (Sedition)--United States
  • Socialists--United States
  • Labor unions--Political activity
  • Labor movement--United States
  • Presidential candidates

Occupations:

  • Socialists

Places:

  • Elmhurst, IL, US
  • Terre Haute, IN, US