Haymarket Square riot


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Haymarket Square riot,

outbreak of violence in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Demands for an eight-hour working day became increasingly widespread among American laborers in the 1880s. A demonstration, largely staged by a small group of anarchists, caused a crowd of some 1,500 people to gather at Haymarket Square. When policemen attempted to disperse the meeting, a bomb exploded and the police opened fire on the crowd. Seven policemen and four other persons were killed, and more than 100 persons were wounded. Public indignation rose rapidly, and punishment was demanded. Eight anarchist leaders were tried, but no evidence was produced that they had made or thrown the bomb. They were, however, convicted of inciting violence, although no evidence was presented that they knew the bomber, who was never discovered. Four were hanged, one committed suicide, and the remaining three—after having served in prison for seven years—were pardoned (1893) by John P. AltgeldAltgeld, John Peter
, 1847–1902, American politician, governor of Illinois (1892–96), b. Germany. He was taken by his immigrant parents to Ohio, where he grew up with little formal schooling.
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, governor of Illinois, on the ground that the trial had been patently unjust. The incident was frequently used by the adversaries of organized labor to discredit the waning Knights of LaborKnights of Labor,
American labor organization, started by Philadelphia tailors in 1869, led by Uriah S. Stephens. It became a body of national scope and importance in 1878 and grew more rapidly after 1881, when its earlier secrecy was abandoned.
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 movement.

Bibliography

See studies by H. David (1936), P. Avrich (1984), and J. Green (2006).

References in periodicals archive ?
Whatever happened to those Haymarket Square Riots for the eight-hour day and all that agitation for the five-day week?