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“as Warm A Heart As Ever Beat”
Gene Debs was America’s leading socialist, but just about everyone agreed he had
August 1975 | Volume 26, Issue 5
In 1925 Debs was able to attend the banquet that the Socialist Party of New York gave him on his seventieth birthday. Yet it was almost beyond his strength. To the chance remark that Socialism was dead he could still respond with the old fire. But he was a dying man. Some time in the spring of 1926 he went with Kate on a cruise to Bermuda and after a singularly rough return voyage came home worse than when he had started. Although he had hoped to attend a Socialist national convention in Pittsburgh on May i, he was too ill to leave his bed. There he managed to write an appeal for Sacco and Vanzetti, his last published work. On September 20 he went back to the Lindlahr Sanitarium for another cure and died there three weeks later, with Kate and Theodore at his bedside.
Debs is remembered as the brightest star of American Socialism, yet more for his character and kindly spirit than for his doctrinaire beliefs. That man was naturally good was his simplistic conviction. In his own case it happened to be true.