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Eugene Debs: Topics in Chronicling America

After the 1894 Pullman Strike, Eugene Debs' extensive socialist political career led to him losing his US citizenship. This guide provides access to materials related to "Eugene Debs” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"There will be work for all and wealth for all willing to work for it." October 26, 1904. The Spokane Press (Spokane, WA), Image 3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Propelled to national prominence for his role in the 1894 Pullman Strike, Eugene Debs (1855-1926) was among the foremost labor organizers and Socialist advocates in the United States. While never expecting to win, he ran for the Presidency five times on the Socialist ticket. In 1920, he ran for the final time from his federal prison cell after being convicted under the Espionage Act. While President Warren Harding pardoned him in 1921, his American citizenship was never restored. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


July 1894 After its start in May, the Pullman Strike, organized by Debs’ American Railway Union, ends.
1895 Debs is in jail for the majority of 1895 in connection to the Pullman strike. Clarence Darrow even unsuccessfully argues his case before the Supreme Court.
1897 Debs announces his adoption of socialism.
1900 Debs runs for President on the Social Democratic Ticket. Coverage notes large crowds at his rallies and calls by some socialists for him to drop out to help Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan.
1904 Debs campaigns for President again.
July 1905 Debs and other prominent labor leaders found the Industrial Workers of the World, often referred to in its early days as the Industrial Union, and considerable in-fighting ensues.
1908 Debs runs his Presidential campaign by touring the country out of a train car known as the “red special.”
1912 Debs makes his fourth Presidential campaign.
1916 Debs runs for Congress in his native Indiana.
1918 Debs makes a speech in Canton, Ohio in June, resulting in his arrest for violations of the Espionage Act in July.
1920 Debs runs for President from prison.
December 1921 President Harding pardons Debs around Christmas but does not restore his American citizenship.