Bernie Sanders inspired a generation - but who inspired him? 'American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs' is the culmination of five years of research and production. Its inspiration was the use of the word 'socialist' as a political epithet, and director Yale Strom wanted to define and contextualize the term. Most people in America do not know that the contemporary political movement to address income inequality began over 100 years ago with Eugene Victor Debs. This film traces the history of American populism, with the man who inspired progressive ideas - from FDR's New Deal to Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. This is an objective but passionate history of the movement as championed and founded by Eugene Victor Debs, a movement that continues to have an impact on our daily lives today.