What were the causes and consequences of the Haymarket Affair?



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Chapter 6 Question #1

What were the causes and consequences of the Haymarket Affair?

First of all, the biggest cause was the fact that workers were sick and tired of barely getting paid while they work for ten hours a day, six days a week. They were tired of this “CEO” type people at the time, getting rich and not doing anything to get it. So eventually workers started going on strike, and soon there weren’t that many people working at the factories and people were losing money. The business and civic leaders started feeling threatened and wanted to get one of the civil rights leaders to silence them. They got their chance and soon they had August Spies in their sights. About 200 policemen surrounded them and fired their guns killing two people in the group. Soon this peaceful talk was turned into a violent and deadly battle. Not only did the police fire into the crowd, but an anarchist threw a bomb into the group of 200 policemen.

Question #4

It has been argued that the Haymarket bomber was an anarchist. It has also been argued that the bomber was an agent provocateur. What possible motivation would an anarchist have for tossing a bomb? What would be the motivation for an agent provocateur?

I don’t fully believe that the bomber was an anarchist. I don’t defend for what he did; however calling him an anarchist might be a little much. The Haymarket affair was a time when workers went on strike to show America how they were being treated. The bomber used a little more violence then the other people did. An anarchist by definition is 1. “A person who advocates or believes in anarchy or anarchism.” 2. ”A person who seeks to overturn by violence all constituted forms and institutions of society and government, with no purpose of establishing any other system of order in the place of that destroyed.” 3. “A person who promotes disorder or excites revolt against any established rule, law, or custom.”1 I don’t know if he believed in it, and that would be whether or not he was an anarchist. In source 15, Alexander Berkmen says, “But before I tell you what Anarchism is, I want to tell you what it is not. . . . It is not bombs. It is not robbery and murder. It is not war of each against all. It is not a return to barbarism or to the wild state of man. Anarchism is the very opposite of that.” From the definitions above he is right; however the reason why the bomb was set off was an act of anarchism. The bomb was set off to show disagreement in the way that workers were treated. It got so bad that even Alexander Berkmen tried to assassinate Henry Frick, an industrialist. The reason an anarchist would toss the bomb is because it was a violent way to protest against something. After reading the definitions again, I noticed that the second one says, “…with no purpose of establishing any other system of order…” These revolts took place because workers were tired of getting paid hardly anything while the head bosses became rich quick.



Chapter 7 Question #3

What was the significance and the impact of Coxey’s march on Washington?

It showed congress and the president how desperate they were. If an “army” arrives on your front steps and you don’t take it to mean anything then something must be wrong with you. Sources 15, 16, 17, and 18 all state that the “economy hit rock bottom in 1894.” Since the economy was so bad and people in position weren’t really doing anything about it, the people, led by Jacob S. Coxey, marched into Washington and “demanded relief.” (source 17) The “government offered no relief.” So the people took it into their hands by marching into Washington and demanding that something be done. They had a lot of support along the way but they never reached the capital. The biggest impact was the fact that it sent a message that the unemployed weren’t going to sit around. They wanted something to be done right then.



Question #5

It has been argued that implicit in the “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is the right to a job. Should government be the employer of last resort? Should the American nation ensure a job for everyone willing and able to work? Present both sides of the issue.

I do believe that government should provide jobs, but not as a last resort. If people want to work in government provided jobs on their own then let them, but the government should do something about jobs. Now a days it is harder to get a job because company CEO’s want to be rich so they’ll ship their companies out of America and hire people cheaper than they would here. Not only do they make a profit on salary, but they also can get material cheaper. If government doesn’t want to get involved with providing jobs for Americans, then they need to get involved with preventing the loss of jobs by making a law that says companies can’t send their industries out of country. I don’t mean to sound prejudice, or racist, but when I call my phone company and talk to a live supervisor, it is always someone that sounds like they are from India. These greedy CEO’s create our social class. If they don’t provide the jobs for Americans, then they make money which puts them in the higher class, and all the people that could have had a job and now don’t create the lower class. The middle class is from hard working Americans that work part or full-time and make a little more than what they need to survive.

On the flip side I don’t believe they should provide work, because it’s not really their job. They control the post office, libraries, and any other government related place, but it’s all on the companies. Supermarkets will never be shipped out of country because Americans need to buy things. However, there is one big problem that is starting to surface and that’s online shopping. Not only is it sometimes cheaper, but you don’t have to leave the house. If more and more people start online shopping then that will wreck-havoc on stores, which could affect jobs in the close future. There will always be jobs in the medical, construction, judicial, etc. but with so much education required now a days the unemployment rate could eventually go up. So I believe government should get involved with jobs by preventing companies from shipping their business’ out of country, but that’s mostly the extent of what they should do. If people are able to work then they should, and I believe there should be a job for every single person. This will really cut out some of the social class. It will still be rich and poor, but at least it’s not homeless poor.



1 Dictionary.com, Definition of an Anarachist.


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