Eugene V. Debs Essay

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Eugene V. Debs Citizen and Socialist

Nick Salvatore's book Eugene V. Debs Citizen and Socialist provides a very detailed account of the life and times and Eugene Debs. Debs was born in Terre Haute Indiana and Salvatore emphasizes the important role that this played in Debs upbringing. Terre Haute was ripe with religious fundamentalism from its founding. Religion permeated everyday life throughout Terre Haute. Salvatore writes that, "In newspaper editorials, political speeches, civic dedications and Sunday sermons they assured the kingdom of God had already arrived and that their town was destined to become the center of the Kingdoms Midwest development." It is striking how the ideals of the Terre Haute community based in religious
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He was still active as grand secretary of the BLF at this time and engaged in the national debate regarding the need for a larger all encompassing railway union in place of smaller ones to advance the needs of railway workers. He believed a larger national union would be much more effective in this role. Salvatore argues that at this time Debs' even began to form the idea of a all encompassing union for all laborers nationwide at this time. He retired from his role in the BLF in 1891 and organized the first national industrial union in the United States in 1893, the American Railway union or ARU. He rose to the national spotlight as the leader of the ARU when they struck on the great northern railway in 1894 and had all of their demands unconditionally granted after 18 days. This was the first large scale union victory in American history and emphasized Debs' ability as a Labor leader.
In 1894 Debs was confronted with his most daunting situation to date. He presided over the infamous Pullman strike in Chicago in 1895. This proved to be the most important event in Debs' life regarding the formation of his ideologies. This was the first strike in America which was not authorized by the laborers local unions. The employees being both members of their local unions and Debs' ARU showed their allegiance to the ARU and struck with Debs' approval. The workers refused to operate any trains with Pullman cars on them except
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