, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 466–480 | Cite as

The End of Capitalism: Eugene V. Debs and the Argument for Socialism in America

  • William E. CainEmail author
Symposium: Politics, Politicians, and Possibilities


We are in the midst in the United States, the world’s foremost capitalist country, of a surge of interest in Socialism. Many Americans contend, or at least have begun to imagine, that Socialism might remedy income inequality, limited or flawed health-care, poverty, hunger, and other ongoing social and economic problems. Yet few Americans know much about the history of Socialism, and about its major U. S. advocates and campaigners, above all Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926). Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Debs was a socialist, political activist, charismatic speaker and writer, radical trade-unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World, five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States, and a passionate fighter for free speech and the right to dissent. He is a powerful source of inspiration and enlightenment for those drawn to the theory and practice of socialism, and for those who believe in the possibility of a new American revolution.


Eugene V. Debs Socialism World War I Unions Railroads Capitalism Dissent Democratic Socialists of America Income inequality Karl Marx Wealth Poverty Communism Espionage act Hunger Labor Working class Soviet Union Obama Trump Revolution 


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA

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