Thursday, November 5, 2009


Police charged 7 anarchists with murder. All of them were German immigrants and only one spoke english. Albert Parsons surrendered himself to stand on trial with his comrades. There was absolutely no evidence that any of the 8 men had thrown the bomb into the crowd. All of the defendants had reasonable alabis that explained that they couldn't have thrown the bomb on May 4, 1886. The identities of the bomb-thrower and bomb-manufacturer were never determined. Many claimed that it wasn't only the men who were on trial, but anarchism, and irreligion as well.

The jury decided the fate of the men after only three hours. All 8 men were found guilty of murder. One recieved a fifteen year prison sentence and the other seven were sentenced to death. Petitions for mercy for the men came from all over the country. Requests for mercy even came from overseas.
Four of the defendants were hanged and one commited suicide while waiting to be executed. Two men had their sentenc
es changed to life in prison because they officially requested mercy. These men were later pardoned by Illinois Governor John Altgeld in 1893. The five executed men were thought of as martyrs. Some of the funeral procession was led by a war veteran carrying an American flag draped in black.

The Haymarket Riot crippled America's early labor movement, even though the bombing was not the work of labor union men. The Knights of Labor lost over half of their members. A monument was built in 1899 to honor the fallen policemen. Several bombing attempts have caused the statue to change locations several times.

The Haymarket Square Riot

On a cloudy May 3rd in 1886, six thousand men gathered outside of the International Harvest Plant in Chicago. Being outraged at being replaced by strikebreakers once a shift change occurred, and the men were in a face-to-face with their replacements, the riot began. The strikebreakers were attacked and in turn private guards hired by McCormicks Harvest Plant attacked the strikers. Locked in the battle over an 8 hour workday two men were killed by the guards bearing clubs and pistols.
REVENGE. That was all that was on the minds of the strikers at this point. They regrouped and vowed that the very next day, May 4th in Haymarket square, they would behave and not raise a raucous. The 1,500 men that showed simply came and listened to the speakers talk of socialism and anarchism with no action. The Mayor, Carter Harrison even stopped by and confirmed that the group was no trouble.
Then the rain came and only 300 men remained, as well as the final speaker. In a burst of power and hysteria, 150 Chicago policemen barged into Haymarket square and told everyone to leave, they didn't have to go home but they had to get the heck out of Haymarket Square.
BOOM! That was the next sound that all heard. It was a bomb thrown into the midst of the policemen. All at once panic hit and the policemen fired into the crowd, workers fled and 7 policemen died and 60, yes 60 were wounded. The workers death toll remains unknown for fear that they would have been reported to the police.
From REVENGE to BOOM to JUSTICE the chain reaction of events that made up the Haymarket Square Riot was documented by newspapers across the East Coast. Fear of law and order disintegrating took over and labor unions became a thing of the past. But that didn't mean the Chicago police force had to let the incident die...

Tenison Growing

During the 1880s, America started to find out that many Radical Labor Movements started to rise. The attitude towards Unions, and labor reform for the majority of American Nativist, (Who were Anglo-Americans, or those who came from a northwestern European background) was very different from our current Society. Though unskilled workers (Who were usually southern European immigrants) were meet by harsh working conditions, and unreasonable work days, It appeared to be that the Nativist did not sympathize. This is the Reason why labor unions started to come into existence.

For the most part, Labor Unions pushed for workplace reform, and humane treatment to workers from Labor manager. However, Big Industries had a large amount of control and freedom during the 1880s. Many business practices, even though ethically wrong, were still allowed. The Government tired their best to control these Companies, by passing acts and Laws (i.e. The Sherman Antitrust Act) but the industries power was so large that in some cases, it reviled the governments on power.

Labor Unions were many, but very few succeed. The Knights Of labor was a Very Large American Labor Organization that was loose about their membership requirements only disallowing highly skilled workers from joining. Another large group was the American Federation of labor, or commonly known as the AFL; founded by Samuel Gompers. Unlike the Knights of Labor who were a Labor Organization,The AFL was a group of separate unions. Also, the AFL was more strict about their membership. Disallowing Women, and African Americans, the AFL wanted only high skilled workers unions to join for the most part.