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

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Eugene Victor "Gene" Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American socialist, political activist, trade unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States. Through his presidential candidacies as well as his work with labor movements, Debs eventually became one of the best-known socialists living in the United States.

Early in his political career, Debs was a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected as a Democrat to the Indiana General Assembly in 1884. After working with several smaller unions, including the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Debs led his union in a major ten-month strike against the CB&Q Railroad in 1888. Debs was instrumental in the founding of the American Railway Union (ARU), one of the nation's first industrial unions. After workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company organized a wildcat strike over pay cuts in the summer of 1894, Debs signed many into the ARU. He led a boycott by the ARU against handling trains with Pullman cars in what became the nationwide Pullman Strike, affecting most lines west of Detroit and more than 250,000 workers in 27 states. Purportedly to keep the mail running, President Grover Cleveland used the United States Army to break the strike. As a leader of the ARU, Debs was convicted of federal charges for defying a court injunction against the strike and served six months in prison.

In prison, Debs read various works of socialist theory and emerged six months later as a committed adherent of the international socialist movement. Debs was a founding member of the Social Democracy of America (1897), the Social Democratic Party of America (1898) and the Socialist Party of America (1901). Debs ran as a Socialist candidate for President of the United States five times, including 1900 (earning 0.6% of the popular vote), 1904 (3.0%), 1908 (2.8%), 1912 (6.0%) and 1920 (3.4%), the last time from a prison cell. He was also a candidate for United States Congress from his native state Indiana in 1916.

Debs was noted for his oratory, and his speech denouncing American participation in World War I led to his second arrest in 1918. He was convicted under the Sedition Act of 1918 and sentenced to a term of 10 years. President Warren G. Harding commuted his sentence in December 1921. Debs died in 1926, not long after being admitted to a sanatorium due to cardiovascular problems that developed during his time in prison.

Archival Resources
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referencedIn Walt Whitman Collection TXRC03-A4., 1846-1965, nd Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Darrow, Clarence, 1857-1938. Letters, to Joseph Labadie, 1926-1928. University of Michigan
creatorOf Fawcett, James Waldo. Correspondence of James Waldo Fawcett, 1925-1928. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Rand School of Social Science, Dept. of Labor Research records, 1916-1923 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Cowles, Archie A. Papers. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Curry, Mabel Dunlap. Letters, 1920 Nov. 2 and 16, Terre Haute, Ind., to [Louis Untermeyer, New York?] University of Michigan
referencedIn Witter Bynner letters from various correspondents and other material, 1904-1962. Houghton Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner letters from various correspondents and other material, 1904-1962. Houghton Library
referencedIn Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. Rose Pastor Stokes papers, 1900-1993 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Lloyd, Henry Demarest, 1847-1903. Papers, 1840-1937, 1977. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Chicago Federation of Labor and Industrial Union Council. Chicago Federation of Labor records, ca. 1890-1983. Chicago History Museum
referencedIn Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. Morris Hillquit papers, 1886-1944 (inclusive), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley. Papers, 1896-1964 (bulk 1937-1964) Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Debs, Theodore, 1864-1945. Letter, 1918 Jul. 6, Terre Haute, Ind., to [C. V.] Cook [n.p.] University of Michigan
referencedIn Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. Houghton Library
creatorOf Debs, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1855-1926. Letters, to Ralph and Edith Chaplin, 1922-1926. University of Michigan
creatorOf Debs, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1855-1926. Walls and bars : manuscript, 1899-1922 (inclusive), 1922 (bulk). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Picture File, and undated, bulk 1814-1950, 1600s-1979 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Records of District Courts of the United States. 1685 - 2009. Criminal Case Files. 1912 - 1986. The United States of America v. Eugene V. Debs
referencedIn National American Woman Suffrage Association. National American Woman Suffrage Association records, 1839-1961 (inclusive), 1890-1930 (bulk), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Herman W. Liebert manuscript collection, 1604-1987 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Duke University. Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. Picture File, 1600-1979 and undated (bulk 1814-1950). Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives,. Tamiment Library general photograph collection [graphic]. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen. Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen series 1. Executive officers' files, 1881-1968. Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Speech Given by Eugene V. Debs in Canton, Ohio National Archives at Chicago
referencedIn United States of America v. Eugene V. Debs National Archives at Kansas City
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Winfred G. person
associatedWith Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Legion. Jefferson Post No. 15 (Louisville, Ky.) corporateBody
associatedWith American Railway Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Railway Union. General Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Ameringer, Oscar, 1870-1943. person
associatedWith Barnhill, John Basil. person
associatedWith Bellamy, Edward, 1850-1898 person
associatedWith Benson, Allan L. (Allan Louis), 1871-1940. person
associatedWith Berger, Victor L., 1860-1929. person
associatedWith Berlyn, Bernard, 1843-1928. person
associatedWith Berryman family family
associatedWith Berryman family Washington, D. C. family
associatedWith Blair, Montgomery, 1813-1883 person
correspondedWith Boyce, Edward, 1862-1941 person
associatedWith Brandborg, Charles W., 1847-1916. person
associatedWith Brewer, George, d. 1967. person
associatedWith Brommel, Bernard J., 1930- person
associatedWith Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, N.Y.) corporateBody
memberOf Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. corporateBody
associatedWith Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen. corporateBody
associatedWith Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (U.S.). Vigo Lodge No. 16. corporateBody
associatedWith Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (U.S.). Vigo Lodge No. 16. corporateBody
associatedWith Browder, Earl, 1891-1973 person
associatedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Cameron, Simon, 1799-1889 person
associatedWith Cannon, James Patrick, 1890-1974. person
associatedWith Carney, Jack. person
associatedWith Carr, Edward E. person
associatedWith Carrillo, Jose Antonio, 1796-1862 person
associatedWith Castleton, Samuel. person
associatedWith Caylor, George N., 1885-1973. person
associatedWith Central Labor Union of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. corporateBody
associatedWith Chaplin, Edith Medlin. person
associatedWith Chaplin, Ralph, 1887-1961. person
associatedWith Charles H. Kerr Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Chase, Salmon P., (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873 person
associatedWith Chicago Federation of Labor and Industrial Union Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Clarke, Edward Perkins. person
associatedWith Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908 person
associatedWith Codman, John Thomas. person
associatedWith Cohen, Joseph E. person
associatedWith Cohen, Joseph E., 1883-1950 person
associatedWith Communist Party of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Constantine, J. Robert, person
associatedWith Cowles, Archie A. person
associatedWith Cramton, Louis C. (Louis Convers), b. 1875. person
associatedWith Curry, Mabel Dunlap. person
associatedWith Curry, Mabel Dunlap, 1868-1947. person
associatedWith Darrow, Clarence, 1857-1938. person
associatedWith Debs, Emma Mailloux. person
associatedWith Debs, Theodore. person
associatedWith Debs, Theodore, 1864-1945. person
associatedWith Dennison, William, 1815-1882 person
associatedWith Doris Stevens person
associatedWith Doster, Frank, 1847-1933 person
associatedWith Dugan, Madison, 1860-1917. person
associatedWith Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Duke University. Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Duluth Federated Trades and Labor Assembly (Duluth, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Eastman, Max, 1883-1969 person
associatedWith Ehrmann, Max, 1872-1945. person
associatedWith Eugene V. Debs Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Fawcett, James Waldo, b. 1893. person
associatedWith Feinstone, Sol, 1888-1980, person
associatedWith Fessenden, William Pitt, 1806-1869 person
associatedWith Fischer, Isidore, person
associatedWith Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley person
associatedWith Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley. person
associatedWith Gallagher, Mary E. (Mary Eleanora), 1883-1966. person
associatedWith Gandhi, Mahatma, 1869-1948. person
associatedWith Germer, Adolph. person
associatedWith Ginger, Ray. person
correspondedWith Gleason, Arthur, 1878-1923. person
associatedWith Goldman, Emma, 1869-1940. person
associatedWith Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924. person
associatedWith Harned, Thomas Biggs, 1851- person
associatedWith Harrison, Harry P., 1878- , person
associatedWith Harrison, Harry P., 1903- , person
associatedWith Herron, George Davis, 1862-1925. person
correspondedWith Hickey, Thomas A., 1869-1925 person
associatedWith Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. person
associatedWith Hoffman, Christian Balzac, 1851-1915 person
associatedWith Holl, Anne, b. 1864. person
associatedWith Holl, Frank X. person
associatedWith Holl, Frank X. person
associatedWith Holl, Frank X. person
memberOf Indiana. General Assembly corporateBody
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
founderOf Industrial Workers of the World. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ingersoll, Robert Green, 1833-1899. person
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. President's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Irvine, Alexander, 1863-1941. person
correspondedWith Ishill, Joseph. person
associatedWith Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 person
correspondedWith Johnston, Mercer Green, 1868-1954 person
associatedWith Joint Board, Fur, Leather & Machine Workers Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Karsner, David, 1889-1941. person
associatedWith KATE RICHARDS O'HARE, 1877-1948 person
associatedWith Katherine Metzel, 1857-1936 person
associatedWith Kautsky, Karl, 1854-1938. person
associatedWith Keller, Helen, 1880-1968. person
associatedWith Korngold, Ralph, 1882-1964. person
associatedWith Labadie, Jo, 1850-1933. person
correspondedWith LaFollette family family
associatedWith Lee, Algernon. person
associatedWith Lee, Algernon, 1873-1954. person
correspondedWith Le Prade, Ruth person
associatedWith Le Prade, Ruth. person
associatedWith Lewis, Lena Morrow person
associatedWith Lewis, Lena Morrow, 1862-1950. person
associatedWith Liebert, Herman W., person
associatedWith Liebert, Herman W., collector. person
associatedWith Lindbergh, Charles A., (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974 person
associatedWith Lloyd, Henry Demarest, 1847-1903. person
associatedWith Lovely, Clinton W., 1894- person
associatedWith Love, W. A. person
associatedWith Mailly, William, 1871-1912. person
associatedWith Markham, Anna Catherine, person
associatedWith Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940. person
associatedWith Michigan State University. corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, Harriet Maud. person
associatedWith Morris, James. person
associatedWith National American Woman Suffrage Association. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Legislature. Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities. corporateBody
associatedWith Northrup, Edwin Dwight. person
associatedWith Northrup, Edwin Dwight. person
associatedWith O'Brien, William Smith, 1803-1864. person
associatedWith O'Hare, Kate Richards, 1877-1948. person
associatedWith Oneal, James, b. 1875 person
associatedWith Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen. corporateBody
associatedWith Parsons, Frank, 1854-1908. person
associatedWith Porter, Albert G. (Albert Gallatin), 1824-1897. person
correspondedWith Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964 person
associatedWith Provost, John C., 1870?-1931. person
associatedWith Pullman's Palace Car Company. Secretary. corporateBody
associatedWith Rand School of Social Science. corporateBody
associatedWith Rand School of Social Science. Dept. of Labor Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Ravin, Irving. person
associatedWith Raymond, Henry J., (Henry Jarvis), 1820-1869 person
associatedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920 person
correspondedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920 person
associatedWith Reynolds, Stephen Marion. person
associatedWith Rieber, Anthony F., 1889- . person
associatedWith Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916. person
associatedWith Rissman, Sidney. person
associatedWith Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D., (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 person
associatedWith Rosemont, Franklin. person
associatedWith Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967. person
associatedWith Sanford, Marvin. person
associatedWith Sepulveda, Juan Capistrano, 1814-1898 person
associatedWith Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872 person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968. person
associatedWith Smith, William Stephens, 1755-1816 person
associatedWith Social-Democratic Party of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Social-Democratic Party of America. Branch No. 1 (Louisville, Ky.) corporateBody
associatedWith Social Democrats, USA corporateBody
associatedWith Social Democrats, U.S.A. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.). Local New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Stedman, Seymour. person
associatedWith Stedman, Seymour. person
associatedWith Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. person
associatedWith Stone, Irving, 1903-1989. person
associatedWith Stone, Melville Elijah, 1848-1929. person
associatedWith Strong, Sydney, 1860-1938. person
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, corporateBody
correspondedWith Traubel, Anne Montgomerie, 1864-1954 person
correspondedWith Traubel, Horace, 1858-1919. person
associatedWith Triay, Frank Charles, 1886-1947. person
associatedWith Tuvim, Abraham. person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of the Army. General Staff. Military Intelligence Division. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia. corporateBody
employeeOf Vandalia Railroad Company corporateBody
associatedWith Van der Weyde, William M., 1870-1929. person
associatedWith Viereck, George Sylvester, 1884-1962. person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Vincent, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Vincent, Henry. person
associatedWith Walden, May, 1865-1960. person
associatedWith Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879- person
associatedWith Warren, Fred D., 1872-1959. person
associatedWith Washington, George, 1732-1799 person
associatedWith Washington, Martha, 1731-1802 person
associatedWith Weinberger, Harry, 1888- person
associatedWith White, Walter, 1906- person
associatedWith Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 person
associatedWith Willis, Frank Bartlett, 1871-1928. person
associatedWith Witt, Peter, 1869-1948. person
associatedWith Wolf, Herman. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Terre Haute IN US
Indianapolis IN US
Atlanta GA US
Elmhurst IL US
Subject
Labor movement
Labor leaders--United States--Correspondence
Trials (Sedition)--United States
Presidents--Election--1904
Elections
Socialists--United States--Biography
Political parties
Presidents--Election--1900
Socialists--United States--Correspondence
Caricatures and cartoons
Industrial relations
Labor unions and communism
Labor laws and legislation
Socialism
Labor unions--Political activity
Radicalism
Socialist parties
Presidents--Election--1908
Socialists--Portraits
World War, 1914-1918
Railroads--Employees--Labor unions--United States
Socialists
Socialists--Correspondence
Labor unions--Officials and employees
Labor unions
Socialism--United States
Presidential candidates
Socialists--United States
Labor leaders
Labor leaders--United States--Biography
Labor and laboring classes
Elections--California--Los Angeles--19th century--Archival resources
Labor movement--United States
Presidents--Election--1912
Railroads--Employees--Labor unions
Prisoners' writing, American
Presidents--Election--1920
Prisons
Occupation
Political activists
State politicians
Socialists
Newspaper editors
Trade unionists
Orators
Railroadmen
Function

Person

Birth 1855-11-05

Death 1926-10-20

Male

Americans

English

Information

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