Eugene Debs was arrested and sent to jail for violating an injuntion. While he was in jail, he read about Karl Marx and socialism. He was released from prison in 1895 and he started a political career following cocialism. Debs helped to found the Social Democracy of America. One year later this group split and Debs went with the majority of peoplen to found the Socialist Democratic Party of the United States, also called the Social Democratic Party. Debs was elected chairman of the Executive Board of the National Council, which governed the party. Debs gained position as chairman and the status of party figurehead. Debs popularity with the party led to his nomination as a candidate for president of the United States in 1900 as a member of the Social Democratic Party.
Eugene Debs said in court “Your honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the form of our present government; that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in the change of both but by perfectly peaceable and orderly means” This quote by Debs shows that his motivation for studying socialism and starting a socialist party is because he is unhappy with how the current form of government at that time. He starts a new socialst party in order to try to become president so he can make changes to the government.
If i could ask Eugene Debs two questions…..
1) Why did you continue to run for president after recieving only 0.6% of the popular vote.
2) Did you actually think a person from a party with socialst beliefs would become president.