The Final Years: 1921-1926
I did not start out expecting gratitude and I have never been disappointed. To be true to my principles and my ideals and to have my place in the ranks with the Comrades who share them has been more than sufficient, and everything that has come to me in return has been for my good and has added to my compen-sation.
Eugene V. Debs, 1922
The shadows seemed to lift in Washington and across the land in the spring of 1921 when the affable Warren G. Harding took the oath of office as President and ended the eventful eight-year administration of Woodrow Wilson. A gala inaugural ball greeted the new President's guests; he opened the White House to the public; he lifted many petty restrictions and encumbrances, indicating that he and his administration would depart markedly from the harshness of Wilson's latter years. Hopes rose that he would also undo much of the harm done to civil liberties. In this climate, amid returning prosperity and "normalcy," the drive for Debs' release from prison took on added life. Success was all but assured; it was merely a matter of time.
President Harding doubtless knew little of the details of the Debs case, but he inclined toward release of political