This Day in American History: April 13, 1919 – Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for speaking out against the draft

The draft in question was of course for WWI, which the United States entered on April 6, 1917.

Debs’ speeches against the Wilson administration and the war earned the enmity of President Woodrow Wilson, who later called Debs a “traitor to his country.” On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio, urging resistance to the military draft of World War I. He was arrested on June 30 and charged with ten counts of sedition.

He was convicted on November 18, 1918 and sentenced to 10 years as well as being disenfranchised for life. In 1921, President Harding commuted Debs’ sentence to time served. He did not issue a pardon.

War has always been very popular in America.

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