Eugene Debs

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Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American socialist , political activist , trade unionist , one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States . [1] Through his presidential candidacies, as well as his work with labor movements, Debs eventually became one of the best-known socialists living in the United States.

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The railroad brotherhoods were comparatively conservative organizations, focused on providing fellowship and services rather than on collective bargaining. Their motto was "Benevolence, Sobriety, and Industry". Debs, as editor of the official journal of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, initially concentrated on improving the Brotherhood's death and disability insurance programs. During the early 1880s, Debs' writing stressed themes of self-upliftment: temperance, hard work and honesty. Debs also held the view that "labor and capital are friends" and opposed strikes as a means of settling differences; the Brotherhood had never authorized a strike, from its founding in 1873, to 1887: a record which Debs was proud of. Railroad companies cultivated the Brotherhood and granted them perks like free transportation to their conventions for the delegates. Debs also invited railroad president Henry C. Lord to write for the magazine. Summarizing Debs's thought in this period, historian David A. Shannon wrote: "Debs's desideratum was one of peace and co-operation between labor and capital, but he expected management to treat labor with respect, honor and social equality".

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