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Eugene V. Debs

Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 - October 20, 1926) was an American labor and political leader and five time Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States.

Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He became a prominent American labor leader, beginning with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen[?] in 1875. In 1893 he organized the first industrial union in the United States, the American Railway Union[?]. The Union struck the Great Northern Railway in April 1894. He was jailed later that year as part of the Pullman boycott. In 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, (the final time from prison) he was the Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States. In the 1920 election, while in jail (see below), he received 913,664 votes, the most ever for a Socialist Party presidential candidate in the US. He was also a leader of the Industrial Workers of the World during this period.

On June 16, 1918 he made an anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, protesting World War I, and was arrested under the Espionage Act. He was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and disenfranchised for life. While in prison in Atlanta, he ran for President. On December 25, 1921 President Warren G. Harding released Debs from prison, commuting his sentence to time served.

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