Originally published 05/01/2013
For anyone who observes May 1 from a labor history perspective, there’s a fresh take on the Haymarket Riots of 1886 and the trial that followed.Timothy Messer-Kruse, author of “The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age,” examines the litigation during which several “anarchists” were convicted and later hanged for their roles in a bombing that killed seven police officers in Chicago.For much of the more than 100 years since, said Messer-Kruse, the trial has been portrayed as a sham of justice likely perpetrated to suppress the burgeoning labor movement, which then included support of an eight-hour workday.But if the trial harmed the labor movement, Messer-Kruse said, at least some blame must go to the defense lawyers of the alleged anarchists....
Originally published 01/29/2013
George Leef writes for the National Review.In the current National Review, John J. Miller has a fascinating piece about history professor Timothy Messer-Kruse. Messer-Kruse became interested in finding out all that he could about the famous Haymarket Incident, which is an important part of the left/progressive narrative about the plight of labor in 19th-century America. The presumption among historians has long been that the people put on trial were innocent victims of a repressive society. Messer-Kruse believed that himself, until a question from a student caused him to look into the transcript of the trial. He came to the conclusion that the defendants were not innocent after all. Of course, when he wrote about his findings, he was blasted by leftist historians for having the nerve to challenge the prevailing (and politically useful) view....