Democracy's Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent

Democracy's Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent

by Ernest Freeberg
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674057201

ISBN-13: 9780674057203

Pub. Date: 10/30/2010

Publisher: Harvard

In 1920, socialist leader Eugene V. Debs ran for president while serving a ten-year jail term for speaking against America’s role in World War I. Though many called Debs a traitor, others praised him as a prisoner of conscience, a martyr to the cause of free speech. Nearly a million Americans agreed, voting for a man whom the government had branded an enemy

…  See more details below

Overview

In 1920, socialist leader Eugene V. Debs ran for president while serving a ten-year jail term for speaking against America’s role in World War I. Though many called Debs a traitor, others praised him as a prisoner of conscience, a martyr to the cause of free speech. Nearly a million Americans agreed, voting for a man whom the government had branded an enemy to his country.

In a beautifully crafted narrative, Ernest Freeberg shows that the campaign to send Debs from an Atlanta jailhouse to the White House was part of a wider national debate over the right to free speech in wartime. Debs was one of thousands of Americans arrested for speaking his mind during the war, while government censors were silencing dozens of newspapers and magazines. When peace was restored, however, a nationwide protest was unleashed against the government’s repression, demanding amnesty for Debs and his fellow political prisoners. Led by a coalition of the country’s most important intellectuals, writers, and labor leaders, this protest not only liberated Debs, but also launched the American Civil Liberties Union and changed the course of free speech in wartime.

The Debs case illuminates our own struggle to define the boundaries of permissible dissent as we continue to balance the right of free speech with the demands of national security. In this memorable story of democracy on trial, Freeberg excavates an extraordinary episode in the history of one of America’s most prized ideals.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674057203
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/30/2010
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
567,480
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Prologue: Free Speech Campaign 1

1 Dangerous Man 7

2 Never Be a Soldier 24

3 War Declarations 42

4 Canton Picnic 67

5 Cleveland 83

6 Appeal 110

7 Long Trolley to Prison 134

8 Moundsville 148

9 Atlanta Penitentiary 174

10 An Amnesty Business on Every Block 190

11 Candidate 9653 203

12 The Trials of A. Mitchell Palmer 215

13 The Last Campaign 236

14 Lonely Obstinacy 257

15 Free Speech and Normalcy 268

16 Last Flicker of the Dying Candle 301

Epilogue: Amnesty and the Birth of Civil Liberties 319

Notes 329

Archives Consulted 365

Acknowledgments 367

Index 369

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >