Fifth Estate Collective
Eugene V. Debs

A 1918 Anti-War Speech Sent Eugene V. Debs to Prison Do Today’s Activists Face the Same Threat?

On June 16, 1918, four months before World War One’s end, prominent labor organizer and political activist, Eugene V. Debs, delivered a speech at a Socialist Party convention in Canton, Ohio. The speech led to his prosecution under the Espionage Act for interfering with the draft. He received a 10-year prison sentence and was stripped of his US citizenship. He eventually served two years and eight months behind bars before President Harding commuted his sentence.