Books for changing the world
The Selected Works of Eugene V. Debs Vol. III
The Path to a Socialist Party, 1897–1904

This massive six volume set gathers together the most important spoken and written words of Debs for the first time, allowing a deeper understanding of radical political opposition in America during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Eugene V. Debs exploded upon the national scene in 1894 as the leader of a sensational strike by his American Railway Union (ARU) against the Pullman Parlor Car Company—a job stoppage which paralyzed the country's transportation network for nearly two weeks. On January 1, 1897, the polarizing public figure Debs declared his allegiance to international socialism, emerging as the most widely recognized socialist in America. He would thereafter tour the country relentlessly, speaking to large audiences and writing hundreds of articles on political and economic themes over the ensuing three decades.

Debs almost singlehandedly established a new political party, the Social Democracy of America, in the summer of 1897, building upon the remnants of the depleted ARU. The organization advanced a double agenda, seeking to promote both electoral politics and the construction of socialist colonies on the frontier—a dual focus which led to internal tensions and a bitter split. In 1898 Debs cast his lot with Milwaukee publisher Victor L. Berger in a new organization dedicated to political action, the Social Democratic Party of America.

After a split of the older and larger Socialist Labor Party of America in 1899, protracted unity discussions between the Debs group and an organized body of former SLP dissidents ensued. This unity effort was marked by Debs's first run for president of the United States on a joint Social Democratic ticket in November 1900. After heated on-again off-again negotiation between the two groups, a marriage was finally brokered in the summer of 1901 and the Socialist Party of America was launched. The party would soon grow to become the third biggest in American politics, with Debs enthusiastically heading the Socialist ticket in 1904 in the second of his five runs for the presidency.

  • "There is too much richness here to describe, so much more that the reader will discover. Read entry after entry or skip through and look for items of particular interest. Any method will satisfy curiosity about Debs and the particular era and will warm the heart of any socialist. But the final word on this volume, like its predecessors, belongs to the exquisite care for historical detail. Extensive footnotes follow many entries, explaining and exploring topics as no Introduction could do.  Although the footnotes are ostensibly a sidebar, in them the editors have written a deep scholarly volume about Debs and his world." —Paul Buhle, Democratic Left

    Gene Debs tirelessly urged the self-organization of working people in the United States as their only sure road to freedom. His role in the formation of the Socialist Party particularly provides lessons for our day." —Mark Lause

Other books Edited by Tim Davenport and David Walters

  • The Selected Works of Eugene V. Debs Vol. IV

    This volume includes a lengthy introduction by the editors and copious illustrations, most of which are published here for the first time.

  • Selected Works of Debs,

    This volume includes a lengthy introduction by the editors and copious illustrations, most of which are published here for the first time.

  • The Selected Works of Eugene V. Debs Volume II

    Eugene V. Debs Selected Works will provide activists and scholars with a definitive trove of his best work that remains readable, informative, and inspiring.


  • The Selected Works of Eugene V. Debs, Vol. I

    An extensive compilation of articles, speeches, press statements, and open letters by American socialist Eugene V. Debs.

  • The American Exceptionalism of Jay Lovestone and His Comrades, 1929-1940

    Few figures in the history of the American Left can claim a more significant and yet contradictory legacy as Jay Lovestone.

    Lovestone and his...

Other books of interest

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    The classic biography of Debs, one of the most important thinkers and activists in US.
  • Class Struggle and the Color Line

    A thoughtful collection of original documents highlighting the deep, early roots of Black radicalism in the US from 1900-1930.
  • Tramps and Trade Union Travelers

    A thought-provoking analysis of how internal migration in Gilded Age America undermined collective organizing and workers’ political power.

  • When Workers Shot Back

    When Workers Shot Back argues that the escalation of working-class conflict drives rather than reacts to capital's consolidation and reorganisation.