June 23, 2008

Inspirational Person: Eugene V. Debs, Prisoner & Presidential Candidate

"Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that 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

Biography on Eugene Debs: A Socialist labor leader and president of the American Railway Union, campaigned for the US Presidency five times. In the 1912 election, the pacifist netted six percent of the votes. In 1920 (the first to include women voters) Debs was incarcerated but still ran and garnered three percent of the votes. He had been incarcerated for nonviolently opposing America's participation in the First World War. He was released on orders form President Warren G. Garding, who invited him to the White House for a chat. Before he was sentenced, he address the court.

Information retrieved from page 506 of the book "Words that make America Great" by Jerome Agel, published by Random House (1999).

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