Essay Sample on Eugene Debs Speech

Published: 2023-01-19
Essay Sample on Eugene Debs Speech
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination United States Democracy World War 1
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 557 words
5 min read

The United States of America believed to play a significant role in promoting democracy during the World War I. from exportation of American goods to promotion of civil rights, America was greatly involved in the European great war. For instance, it invaded numerous territories such as Haiti in 1915 ascertaining the restoration and maintenance of economic and political stability in the region devastated by a war between vicious superpowers. The quest for economic and imperial superiority resulted in fierce competition among nation in Europe, despite America claiming to take a neutral ground during the World War I, its involvement in the war resulted in adverse consequences to the Americans who were subjected under massive suppression of freedom of speech, expression and liberty that contradicted the fundamental principles of the American Constitution. Therefore, the investigation focuses on critical analysis and evaluation of Eugene Debs' speech as a reflection of the greater American historical context.

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Debs' speech to the jury in 1918 revealed massive oppression and suppression that Americans had to succumb regardless of the country's constitutional provisions established to protect the people. With the enactment of the Espionage Act of 1917, that allowed heavy punishment of 20 years imprisonment for individuals found guilty of violating the government prohibition of the interfering or holding false statements which were deemed to impend military success greatly limited Americans freedom of speech. Moreover, the implementation of the Sedition Act of 1918 also deterred many individuals from either speaking or printing contents viewed as scorning or criticizing the government effort on the war. Like Debs, many socialists, black nationalists, pacifists and radicals that criticized President Wilson's administration for allowing the country to participate in the Great War while pretending to take a neutral position faced severe punishments ranging from immense imprisonment to persecution. For example, Debs contend that unlike his predecessors like Jefferson and Washington who rebelled against the despotic monarch regime and their names shine in the American history books, he is being indicted with espionage charges for performing his moral duty or advocating against the oppressive and repressive government regime.

Moreover, the speech portrayed the adverse consequences that influential personalities underwent during American's involvement in the Great War as it greatly limited the civil liberty of many citizens from exercising their jurisdictional and constitutional duties. As Debs affirmed, the "Revolutionary fathers who were suppressed under the King's rule comprehended the vital role played by a free press, free speech and right to free assembly in facilitating a democratic government." Despite still being charged for violating the Espionage Act of 1917, the speech revealed how America valued security at the expense of freedom as the government focused on protecting the public and the administrative virtuous which harshly treated disagreeing voices and personalities that ware often charged with treason. Eugene Debs condemnation of the great war as a failure of 16th June 1918 significantly represented a common trend among numerous socialists who advocated against America's pretentious stance of maintaining a neutral ground while really subjecting her citizens under the harsh condition that violated the fundamental principles in the democratic government. Therefore, despite being termed as a disloyalist and a traitor, and facing conviction over espionage charges for performing his moral obligation of condemning the social evil enacted the American government, Debs like other 2000 socialists, Black nationalists and radicals substantially depicted the social degradation that dominated America during the Great War.

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