Haymarket Riot Research Paper

1474 Words6 Pages
The growth of American industrial might in the 1870s and 1880s through the creation of unions representing the workers for fair conditions. Working conditions at the time were terrible: little concern for safety existed in most factories, pay was low, benefits were nonexistent and the work day was often 10 to 12 hours, six days a week {Illinois Labor}. The immediate focus of the unions were to achieve the eight-hour day of work. The national movement for the eight-hour day reached a height in the mid-1880s. In 1885, there were 645 strikes nationwide at over 2,400 businesses in support of the eight-hour goal. From that, In 1886, the year of the Haymarket riot, the number of strikes had more than doubled to 1,400, affecting over 11,000 businesses.…show more content…
Many foreign-born radicals and labor organizers were rounded up by the police in Chicago and elsewhere {History.com}. Eight local Chicago anarchists were caught and arrested for the bombing at Haymarket. The accustations acknowledged that the bomb had been "thrown by an unknown person", yet the unknown bomb-thrower was “encouraged” through the speeches of Parsons and Fielden {Truth.org}. All eight of the defendants were tried and convicted. Seven were sentenced to death. Two of the eight convicted had their sentences commuted to life in prison. One man was sentenced to 15 years.In a gesture of revenge towards the convicted, the ropes used to kill the prisoners were made too short, so that instead of dying instantly when the trap doors opened on the gallows, each prisoner was made to suffocate to death slowly and excruciatingly {Truth.org}. With the Haymarket Riot, two problems surfaced. The first problem is that at least seven of the defendants were actually innocent of the accused chargers. Some of the accused were not even present when the bombing occurred. For instance, Parsons was at a labor hall, and Engel was at home on Milwaukee Avenue{U.S History.com}. The defendants had no knowledge that the bombing would occur. The second problem with the Haymarket Riot accused was the extreme injustice of their trial. On July 15, 1886, prosecutor Julius Grinnell made his opening statement, stressing the need to convict the dangerous anarchists. The next day, Judge Joseph E. Gary delivered a daylong address to the jury Judge Gary was very clear on this point: the defendants needed to be convicted not for what they had actually done, but for what they believed {History.org}. Judge Gary had spent weeks carefully selecting a jury that was bound to convict. People were placed on the jury if the people either claimed that they were prejudiced against anarchists, believed that these specific defendants were

More about Haymarket Riot Research Paper

Open Document