On May 4, 1886, a peaceful labor rally in Haymarket Square in Chicago erupted in violence. Four anarchists were convicted and hanged for their purported role in a bombing that resulted in the death of seven police officers and at least four civilians.
For much of a century the executions of the anarchists were widely viewed as a miscarraige of justice. But in a discussion of his book The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age, Timothy Messer-Kruse argues that the prosecution was solid. It was the anarchists’ lawyers who chose to ignore a sound defense and instead use the trial for political grandstanding.
Messer-Kruse is the interim vice-provost for Academics and dean of the graduate college at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. Among his books are The Yankee International: Marxism and the American Reform Tradition and The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks.