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Debs, Eugene V. (1855–1926)

EUGENE V. DEBS WAS born in Terre Haute, Indiana. His career made him one of the best known American socialist critics of the capitalist system. Unlike most European and American socialist thinkers, Debs avoided obtuse theory or hair-splitting about the timing of the socialist revolution. He kept his ideas simple and accessible to a wide audience and within the American traditions of utopianism, individualism, political democracy, and radical reform.

Debs left school to support his immigrant parents by scraping and painting railroad cars, so when he got the chance, he took a much better job as a locomotive fireman. The job was dangerous, so when his mother asked him to quit, he took a job with a wholesale grocer. He became active in local politics and ...

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