Researched at the Newberry Library in Chicago, this presentation attempts to show that the events of Chicago’s Haymarket Affair in 1886 and it’s aftermath portray an anti-leftist, pro-capitalist bias in the mainstream newspapers and periodicals of the time as a middle-class phenomenon. Illustrations and articles from Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (two of the main nationally syndicated news periodicals of the late 19th Century) comprised the bulk of this study. Chicago Daily Tribune articles and several books written about the Affair were used to obtain a more local perception and highlight its broader social context.
The middle-class bias for the low-wage laborer was expressed in three ways: defense of the establishment, praise for the laborers who led moral and loyal lives, and vilification of those who opposed the political and economic establishment. However, the research also revealed a certain amount of sympathy in these periodicals for some of the lesser revolutionary reforms sought by the labor movement which highlights a deeper complexity to middle-class values of the time.
Patrick Farrell, ’05 Brookfield, IL
Majors: History and Environmental Studies
Sponsor: Catherine Stewart