Eugene Debs and the 1894 Pullman Strike

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

The Pullman Strike was a nationwide railroad strike that pitted the newly formed American Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene Debs, against the Pullman Company, (maker of the famous sleeping car, located on the South Side of Chicago), as well as the main railroad bosses and the federal government. Pullman had created a company town where he housed his underpaid workers at unaffordable rents. Running a hysterical press campaign that painted the strikers as a violent mob, the railroad bosses were able to get federal troops sent in to end the strike. Many enraged workers resisted and some were killed, and the strike went down to defeat. Debs, while in jail at Woodstock after the strike, became a socialist for life, while George Pullman became such a hated figure he had his tomb lined with concrete to protect against looting. This talk will examine the historic significance of the Pullman strike.

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