Authentication Materials:

  1. Speech title as it is to be printed: “The Issue.”
  2. Exact date and place of speech delivery: 16 May 1908. Girard, Kansas.
  3. Full name of speaker, with year of birth and year of death: Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926).
  4. Full name of editor of electronic text: Margaret D. Zulick and Andrew Leslie.
  5. Date of electronic edition: December 2022.
  6. Languages: English (100%).
  7. Indication of editorial functions performed: Margaret D. Zulick and Andrew Leslie transcribed and proofread the text found in Appeal to Reason.

Bibliographic List of Sources:

“Citizens of Girard Unite in Expression of Good Will for ‘Gene Debs.” Appeal to Reason. 23 May 1908., 1; 4. [=A]

Debs, Eugene V. The Issue. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1908. [=B]

Statement of Editorial Procedures:

The speech appears to have been stenographed on site and was published afterward in the Socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason (ATR), 23 May 1908, and in pamphlet form by the Chicago Socialist publisher, Charles H. Kerr.

The headings for the printed versions of the speech are identical in both Kerr and ATR, bolstering the theory that Debs inserted the headings for both publications. Debs was working as an editor on Appeal to Reason in 1908; however there is also every possibility he sent a copy to Kerr or had a chance to review the galleys.

A recent print edition of this speech in the edited volume by Stephen E. Lucas and Martin J. Medhurst, published by Oxford University Press and titled Words of a Century: The Top 100 American Speeches, 1900-1999, primarily follows the Appeal to Reason text. Lucas and Medhurst divide several longer paragraphs into multiple paragraphs.  However, there is no textual justification for their paragraphing and since paragraph numbers are also reference points, it behooves us to keep the paragraphs as they appear in the original transcripts.

Paragraphing does not always follow grammatical or logical norms. Paragraphs in contemporary speeches have become much shorter to conform to the requirements of teleprompters. Paragraphs in historical speeches printed in newspaper columns can be much longer.

Paragraph numbers have been added in square brackets.

The text of this edition has been thoroughly checked and proofread.

This copy text is not subject to end-of-line hyphenation.

Special characters and characters with diachronic marks: none.

There are no other departures from the copy-text.

A complete list of differences between the ATR version of “The Issue” and that published by Charles H. Kerr & Co. can be found at