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Workers in Hard TimesA Long View of Economic Crises$
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Leon Fink, Joan Sangster, and Joseph A. McCartin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038174

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038174.001.0001

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The Ordeal of Eugene Debs

The Ordeal of Eugene Debs

The Panic of 1893, the Pullman Strike, and the Origins of the Progressive Movement

Chapter:
(p.99) 5 The Ordeal of Eugene Debs
Source:
Workers in Hard Times
Author(s):

Scott Reynolds Nelson

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038174.003.0006

The American panic of 1893 has its origins in the fiscal policy of the U.S. Congress. Within a year, the 1893 panic ushered in one of the most famous labor conflicts in American history. The American Railway Union's support for workers locked out of the Pullman Palace Car Company became a titanic general strike centered in Chicago. What began as international doubt about the dollar's convertibility into gold became by 1894 a test of Eugene Debs' new American Railway Union, then an abortive strike, then a collapse of the traditional two-party system. This story is often told differently by political scientists, labor historians, and scholars of socialism, the South, or the transition from the Gilded Age to the Progressive era. This chapter attempts to put some of those histories and historiographies together.

Keywords:   strike, Eugene Dobs, progressive movement, fiscal policy, American panic, labor conflict, American Railway Union, Pullman Palace Car Company

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