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date: 08 May 2021

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Eugene Debs, a leader of the Socialist Party of America, vehemently opposed American involvement in World War I. In June, 1918, after visiting several local Socialist leaders who had been jailed for their opposition to the war, Debs spoke in Canton, Ohio. During his speech, he criticized the war as a capitalist undertaking and charged that those who led the patriotic charge did so for purely financial purposes. He called for the working classes to join the Socialist Party and fight for a socialist republic in America. In the aftermath of his speech, Debs was convicted for sedition under the Espionage Act of 1917 and sentenced to ten years in prison. President Warren Harding commuted his sentence in 1921.

Source: Jean Y. Tussey, ed., Eugene V. Debs Speaks (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970), 243–279.

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