Eugene Debs

1855- 1928

American Labor Leader

Eugene Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on November 5, 1855. He was both a renowned labor leader and a five-time candidate for US President on the Socialist ticket. He was a co-founder of the American Railway Union, which organized a strike against the Pullman Company. The strike deteriorated into violence and after Federal intervention was required, Debs and his associates were jailed. The Union was ruined.

Debs eventually founded the Socialist Party of America, running for President in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and in 1920. His opposition to US entry into World War I led to his indictment under the Espionage Act in 1918 and a ten-year sentence, but Debs was ultimately pardoned in 1921.