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Search > Learning Exercise Results > Haymarket and the American Labor Movement

Learning Exercise: Haymarket and the American Labor Movement

Haymarket and the American Labor Movement
The Haymaket rally, bombing, trials, executions, and pardons represent a watershed in American Labor History. This site contains primary source material based on interviews, memoirs, and contemporary news reports about the Haymarket Strike.
Course: U.S. History


Submitted by:
William Paquette
Date Last Modified:
June 01, 2006


When the web site comes on screen, click Enter. Click Main Contents. Click
Introduction. Read the Introductory information about the web site. Click
Prologue. Answer Questions 1-7.
1. Where and when did the Haymarket bomb go off?
2. How did urbanization and industrialization affect the United States and the
city of Chicago?
3. Describe the conditions leading to Chicago's emergence as a major
industrial city.
4. What was the impact of the Panic of 1873 and the railroad strike of 1877 on
5. Who was Julius Grinnell and what role did he play in Haymarket?
6. Who was Albert Parsons and what role did he play in the Haymarket events?
7. Who was August Spies and what role did he play in the Haymarket events?

Click Act I: Subterranean Fire. Answer Questions 8-12.
8. What was the "Pittsburgh Manifesto?"
9. What is the philosophy of an anarchist?
10. What acts of violence did anarchists encourage?
11. What acts of anarchist violence had occurred in the United States before
the Haymarket incident?
12. Why is May 1, May Day, an important celebration for socialists and

Click Act II: Let Your Tragedy be Enacted Here. Answer Questions 13-19.
13. Describe the circumstances leading to the May 3 meeting.
14. Why were workers discontented with the working conditions at the McCormick
Reaper Works?
15. Describe events that began at 7:30 p.m. on May 3.
16. Why were the mayor and the police worried about the Haymarket gathering?
17. Who was John Bonfield and what role did he play in the Haymarket events?
18. Who planted the bomb?
19. What were the consequences of the bomb going off?

Click Act III: Toils of the Law. Answer Questions 20-27.
20. Who was arrested and indicted?
21. What role did the newspaper "Arbeiter-Zeitung" play in the events at
22. Why were Marshall Field, George Pullman, and Cyrus McCormick, Jr. the
targets of anarchists?
23. When did the trial begin and where was it held?
24. Summarize theState of Illinois' case.
25. Summarize the Defense's case.
26. Why did the Haymarket trial gain such national and international attention?
27. What role did Chicago's newspapers play in the Haymarket events?

Click Act IV: The Voice of the People. Answer Questions 28-35.
28. On what grounds did the defense appeal?
29. Why was Judge Gary criticized by the defense?
30. Who supported the anarchists?
31. What did public opinion say?
32. Who were convicted and what were their individual punishments?
33. What happened at the Circuit Court and Supreme Court levels in the
Haymarket appeals?
34. What role did Governor Richard Oglesby play in the appeal's process?
35. Whose sentences were commuted and who was executed?

Click Act V: Raising the Dead. Answer Questions 36-40.
36. What were the outcomes of the Haymarket convictions?
37. How did Haymarket affect the labor movement?
38. Why does Haymarket continue to be such an important event in United States
39. What happened to the principals involved in the Trial, the Government, and
those sentenced to prison?
40. Who was pardoned and why?

Click Epilogue. Answer Questions 41-44.
41. What is the heritage of Haymarket?
42. How did Haymarket affect the labor movement and its leaders?
43. What monuments were established to commemorate Haymarket?
44. What is the current opinion about Haymarket and how does this opinion
differ from public opinion at the time of the Haymarket incident?

Additional Information: None



  • High School


Americas: United States 1865-1900, Business and Economics, Class, Labor, Local/Regional, Political, Social.


U.S. History background in 19th century politics and industrialization.

Learning Objectives

To acquaint students with primary sources detailing the events of the Haymarket labor strike and the resulting consequences for American Business and Industry and the working class population.

Type of Task

  • Individual
  • Student-centered
  • Unsupervised

Technical Notes

Basic computer skills necessary.