DebsSpeak: “I Am In It; I Am Of It; I Am Not Free”

In an address to the court during his sentencing to federal prison after having been convicted for “obstructing recruitment” during World War I, Eugene V. Debs said,

“… years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

(Eugene V. Debs, Statement to the Court Upon Being Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act”, September 18, 1918)

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