Skip to page content
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

Labor Hall of Fame Honoree (1990)

Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs
1855-1926

"Years ago, I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth...While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.."

Eugene V. Debs Signature

Labor leader, radical, Socialist, presidential candidate, Eugene Victor Debs was a homegrown American original. He formed the American Railway Union, led the Pullman strike of the 1890s in which he was jailed, and emerged a dedicated Socialist. An idealistic, impassioned fighter for economic and social justice, he was brilliant, eloquent and eminently human. As a "radical" he fought for women's suffrage, workmen's compensation, pensions and social security — all commonplace today. Five times the Socialist candidate for president, his last campaign was run from federal prison where he garnered almost a million votes.

Previous Section Next Section