This week in our history: Eugene V. Debs was born

BY:Joe Sims| November 3, 2014
This week in our history: Eugene V. Debs was born

On November 5, 1855 socialist labor leader Eugene Debs was born. A leader of the American Railway Union (ARU), Debs in two presidential elections won close to a one million votes. The socialist leader was imprisoned during the World War 1 for opposing the war. He was arrested for making a speech considered “anti-war” in Canton Ohio.

In his speech Debs had said, “They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and have yourself slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world, you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war.” He continued,

“Years ago I recognized my kinship will all living beings, and made up my mind that that I was not one bit better than the meanesst on earth. I said then, and I say now that if there is a lower class, I am init; if there is a criminal element, I am of it; if there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

The Espionage and Sedition Act is still on the books today.

Text was drawn from’s Today in Labor History.


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