A federal grand jury indicted Eugene V. Debs and other leaders of the American Railway Union, charging them with conspiracy against the government of the United States by interfering with interstate commerce during the Pullman strike. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, intended to regulate the power of corporations, was often used to shackle unions.
Despite the efforts of St. Paul lawyer William Erwin, legendary attorney Clarence Darrow and others, Debs went to jail for organizing the strike. His American Railway Union, which had attempted to unite all railroad workers in one big union, disintegrated. Debs later applied the "one big union" philosophy to his efforts to found the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies and IWW.