1886 LIBERTY 5C MS66

Grading Service: PCGS
SKU: 140625
Cert Number: 39182750

The industrial revolution is arguably considered the officially movement into modernity and could be thought of as a spectacular boost for the economy. Though we wouldn’t be where we are today without the revolution, it is attributed to some climate issues today and certainly was not fantastic for industrial workers. In fact, due to horrid work conditions and low pay, workers would often strike for union rights- which included eight hour workdays, better pay, and work safety. As with many protests, things are not always calm and peaceful. Such was the case for multiple strikes and protests in the highly industrialized city of Chicago, Illinois. On May 4, 1886 approximately one thousand five hundred radical workers gathered in Haymarket Square in Chicago to protest the deaths of a few picketers from a protest the day before. Unfortunately things escalated rather quickly, especially once an unidentified striker threw a bomb into a line of two hundred police officers that had come to break up the remaining strikers; out of the thousand plus, only three hundred remained due to rain. As soon as the bomb detonated, police opened fire on the crowd. When the chaos settled dozens laid dead and nearly one hundred were injured. This event triggered a mass trend of xenophobia nationwide that included a wide round up of foreign workers throughout Chicago; most radicals happened to be German immigrants especially those who wanted the “exploitation” of capitalism to end. By the end of the round up, over thirty-six men had been arrested and all were set to go to trial. This trial was considered highly controversial and the result ended in seven of these men sentenced to death and one sentenced to fifteen years. On November 11th of the following year, four of the eight men were executed. Of the four others, one committed suicide before his execution date, the other two received commuted sentences of life and by 1893 the two lifers and the one short term men were all pardoned. Thankfully the question of their innocence had been circulating for years and when the next mayor took office, all crimes were forgiven.

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