Posts Tagged ‘Haymarket Square

04
May
09

On This Day, May 4: Kent State

May 4, 1970

Four students killed at Kent State

At Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fire their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding 11. This incident occurred in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon’s April 30 announcement that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had been ordered to execute an “incursion” into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese bases there. In protest, a wave of demonstrations and disturbances erupted on college campuses across the country.

At Kent State University in Ohio, student protesters torched the ROTC building on campus and Ohio Governor James Rhodes responded by calling on the National Guard to restore order. Under harassment from the demonstrators, the Guardsmen fired into the crowd, killing four and wounding 11. The Guardsmen were later brought to trial for the shootings, but found not guilty.

President Nixon issued a statement deploring the Kent State deaths, but said that the incident should serve as a reminder that, “When dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.” The shooting sparked hundreds of protests and college shutdowns, as well as a march on Washington, D.C., by 100,000 people. The National Student Association and former Vietnam Moratorium Committee leaders called for a national university strike of indefinite duration, beginning immediately, to protest the war. At least 100 colleges and universities pledged to strike. The presidents of 37 universities signed a letter urging President Nixon to show more clearly his determination to end the war.

“Four students killed at Kent State,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1825 [accessed May 4, 2009]

On This Day

1471 – In England, the Yorkists defeated the Landcastrians at the battle of Tewkesbury in the War of the Roses.

1493 – Alexander VI divided non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal.

1626 – Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on Manhattan Island. Native Americans later sold the island (20,000 acres) for $24 in cloth and buttons.

1776 – Rhode Island declared its freedom from England two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

1863 – The Battle of Chancellorsville ended when the Union Army retreated.

1930 – Mahatma Gandhi was arrested by the British.

1961 – Thirteen civil rights activists, dubbed “Freedom Riders,” began a bus trip through the South.

1979 – Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first woman prime minister.

1994 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a historic accord on Palestinian autonomy that granted self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1998 – Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, CA. The sentence was under a plea agreement that spared Kaczynski the death penalty.

May 4, 1886

The Haymarket Square Riot

At Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, a bomb is thrown at a squad of policemen attempting to break up a labor rally. The police responded with wild gunfire, killing several people in the crowd and injuring dozens more.

The demonstration, which drew some 1,500 Chicago workers, was organized by German-born labor radicals in protest of the killing of a striker by the Chicago police the day before. Midway into the rally, which had thinned out because of rain, a force of nearly 200 policemen arrived to disperse the workers. As the police advanced toward the 300 remaining protesters, an individual who was never positively identified threw a bomb at them. After the explosion and subsequent police gunfire, more than a dozen people lay dead or dying, and close to 100 were injured.

The Haymarket Square Riot set off a national wave of xenophobia, as hundreds of foreign-born radicals and labor leaders were rounded up in Chicago and elsewhere. A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight men were convicted in a sensational and controversial trial. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, August Spies, and Albert Parson were executed.

Of the three others sentenced to death, one committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. Governor Oglesby was reacting to widespread public questioning of their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon fully the three activists still living in 1893.

“The Haymarket Square Riot,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4972 [accessed May 4, 2009]

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03
May
08

On This Day, 5-3-08: Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli born

On this day in 1469, the Italian philosopher and writer Niccolo Machiavelli is born. A lifelong patriot and diehard proponent of a unified Italy, Machiavelli became one of the fathers of modern political theory.

Machiavelli entered the political service of his native Florence by the time he was 29. As defense secretary, he distinguished himself by executing policies that strengthened Florence politically. He soon found himself assigned diplomatic missions for his principality, through which he met such luminaries as Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and perhaps most importantly for Machiavelli, a prince of the Papal States named Cesare Borgia. The shrewd and cunning Borgia later inspired the title character in Machiavelli’s famous and influential political treatise The Prince (1532).

Machiavelli’s political life took a downward turn after 1512, when he fell out of favor with the powerful Medici family. He was accused of conspiracy, imprisoned, tortured and temporarily exiled. It was an attempt to regain a political post and the Medici family’s good favor that Machiavelli penned The Prince, which was to become his most well-known work.

Though released in book form posthumously in 1532, The Prince was first published as a pamphlet in 1513. In it, Machiavelli outlined his vision of an ideal leader: an amoral, calculating tyrant for whom the end justifies the means. The Prince not only failed to win the Medici family’s favor, it also alienated him from the Florentine people. Machiavelli was never truly welcomed back into politics, and when the Florentine Republic was reestablished in 1527, Machiavelli was an object of great suspicion. He died later that year, embittered and shut out from the Florentine society to which he had devoted his life.

Though Machiavelli has long been associated with the practice of diabolical expediency in the realm of politics that was made famous in The Prince, his actual views were not so extreme. In fact, in such longer and more detailed writings as Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (1517) and History of Florence (1525), he shows himself to be a more principled political moralist. Still, even today, the term “Machiavellian” is used to describe an action undertaken for gain without regard for right or wrong.

“Niccolo Machiavelli born.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 May 2008, 03:07 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52685.

1802 – Washington, DC, was incorporated as a city.

1855 – Macon B. Allen became the first African American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.

1916 – Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.

1926 – U.S. Marines landed in Nicaragua and stayed until 1933.

1933 – The U.S. Mint was under the direction of a woman for the first time when Nellie Ross took the position.

1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.

1952 – The first airplane landed at the geographic North Pole.

1971 – Anti-war protesters began four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC.

1992 – Five days of rioting and looting ended in Los Angeles, CA. The riots, that killed 53 people, began after the acquittal of police officers in the beating of Rodney King.

2006 – In Alexandria, VA, Al-Quaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was given a sentence of life in prison for his role in the terrorist attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

 

Strike turns bloody in Chicago

May of 1886 was an explosive, and ultimately tragic, month for the nation’s labor movement. The action, which was concentrated in industry-heavy Chicago, kicked off on the very first day of the month, as forty thousand workers, under the charge of anarchists and a band of German socialists, took to the streets to call for an eight-hour workday. Unlike the events that were about to unfold, the march came and went without violence. However, on May 3, things turned bloody at the McCormick Reaper Works: with simmering tensions between the plant’s strikers and scabs threatening to come to a boil, police were called in to quell the situation. The day quickly turned violent, as the officers began attacking the workers; two unarmed strikers were killed, while others were beaten and wounded. August Spies, an anarchist and staunch supporter of workers’ rights, witnessed the incident and immediately called for action against the “latest atrocious act of the police.” At Spies’s behest, workers gathered the next day in Chicago’s Haymarket Square for what proved to be a fateful protest: a bomb was thrown during one speech, prompting the police to open fire on the crowd. The Haymarket Riot left eight officers dead and many more wounded, including scores of workers. Though police and prosecutors were unable to find evidence that the radicals were connected to the bomb, a band of seven anarchists were charged with, and in a four cases hung for, murder.

“Strike turns bloody in Chicago.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 May 2008, 03:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5851.

Allisons face mixed day at Talladega

The late Davey Allison recorded his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory at the Winston 500 in Talladega, Alabama, driving his #28 Ford Thunderbird. Davey, the son of racing legend Bobby Allison, was born into racing as a member of the Alabama Gang. His father Bobby was Alabama’s most successful stock-car racer ever. Both men have come to be remembered for their triumphs and their tragedies at the Alabama Superspeedway in Talladega. On this day in 1987, while Davey won his first race, his father Bobby suffered a terrible crash in which his rear tire was pierced by a chunk of metal, causing his car to flip into the grandstand at over 200mph.

“Allisons face mixed day at Talladega.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 May 2008, 03:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7407.




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