Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Eugene Victor Debs  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT History Non-Fiction

Born: 1855 in Terra Haute, Indiana


Illinois Connection

Eugene Debs was a union organizer who led the Pullman strike in Chicago in 1894 which shut down the U. S. railsystem in the northeastern United States. He died at a Elmhurst sanatorium in 1926 at the age of 71.

Biographical and Professional Information

Debs was born in Terre Haute Indiana where he worked as grocery clerk and locomotive fireman. He entered politcs when he founded the American Railway Union and sat on the Terre Haute City Council and served in the Indiana Legislature. In 1894, he led the Pullman Strike in Chicago which caused President Cleveland to call out federal troops. Debs was jailed in Woodstock Illinois for violating an injunction. Upon relase, he campaigned for William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and then formed the Socialist party in 1897 and ran for President on its ticket 5 times, the last from federal prison in Atlanta. He was sent there in 1918 during the Wilson administration for anti-war speeches at Canton, Ohio. He was pardoned by President Harding in 1921 but had suffered ill-health from his stay in prison. Subsequenly, he entered a sanitorium in Elmhurst, Illinois where he died in 1926.

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