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The Trial in American Life$
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Robert A. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226243252

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226243283.001.0001

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Traitors in Name Only: The Haymarket Defendants

Traitors in Name Only: The Haymarket Defendants

(p.191) Chapter Six Traitors in Name Only: The Haymarket Defendants
The Trial in American Life
University of Chicago Press

On May 4, 1886, a bomb from an unknown assailant was thrown into the ranks of policemen who had come to break up a peaceful labor rally near Haymarket Square in Chicago. Eight men were accused of murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the bombing. None of the eight defendants could be connected to the bomb that had been thrown, but all were anarchists organizing the labor force against deplorable conditions in the workplace, and seven of the eight were foreign-born. Four of the men were hanged the following year. The execution itself, on November 11, was bungled badly. All four men died by slow strangulation on the scaffold instead of receiving the quick death by broken neck that the mechanism should have given them. The important point to take away from the Haymarket trial and executions is not what happened, but how and why something like it could happen again.

Keywords:   Haymarket trial, Chicago, executions, strangulation, anarchists, bombing, Haymarket Square, defendants, murder

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