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100 Years Ago, Eugene Debs Gave An Anti-War Speech That Landed Him in Prison

By: 
Peter Dreier

In 1920, Eugene Victor Debs ran for president from a cell in the federal prison in Atlanta for a speech opposing World War 1 that he gave 100 years ago – on June 18, 1918.   Despite his imprisonment, Debs received 913,664 votes – 3.4 percent of the total.

In his speech, the Socialist Party leader told a packed crowd at a park in Canton, Ohio: “You need to know that you are good for something more than slavery and cannon fodder.”