Winning a World - Recording

Date of Recording: 1904
Duration: 6:50
Call Number: VVL00077

This speech was originally delivered in 1904 and shortly thereafter recorded at one of Edison's sound recording studios. By this time Debs was a leading figure in the U.S. Socialist party, and in this impassioned speech describes a time when the socialist party will "win the world" from the 'frenzied revelry of capitalism." "What man," Debs asks, "unless his brain be atrophied and has become blinded can fail to perceive the impending crisis of a capitalist modern age?" The central metaphor of this speech is "the machine," which refers to the the proliferation of new labor-saving technologies, inventions that Debs saw as fundamental to the social revolution. Here Debs celebrates technology as a great equalizer and emancipator of the working classes: "The mute message of the machine, could but the worker understand and could he but heed it, child of his brain, the machine has come to free and not to enslave; to save and not destroy the author of its being... The machine compels the grand army of toil to rally to its tender, to recognize its power."


  • Introduction to Early Voices

  • America and Its Early Voices

  • Introduction to Early Recording
  • William Jennings Bryan
  • Eugene Debs
  • Thomas Edison
  • Samuel Gompers
  • William McKinley
  • William Taft
  • Booker T. Washington