The Haymarket Executions

The Haymarket Executions

A brief report on the execution of four anarchists for the Haymarket bombing of 1884.


On November 11 four of the Anarchists who were convicted of participating in the Hay-market riot in Chicago on May 4, 1884, in which seven policemen were killed, were hanged in the jail of that city. These were Parsons, Engel, Fischer, and Spies. The exe-cution was conducted in an orderly manner, and without being interfered with by sympa-thizers with the condemned men. The culprits maintained a bold attitude to the last, but offered no resistance to the officers who carried out the judgment of the court.

After fully considering the applications made to him for executive clemency, Gov Oglesby commuted the death sentence of Schwab and Fielden to imprisonment for life, on the ground that these two were less directly concerned in the murders than the other five were.

About nine o’clock on the day before the executions were to take place, Lingg killed himself by means of an explosive placed in his mouth, and which lacerated the lower part of his face so that he died in a few hours. The authorities were unable to discover how he came into possession of it.

On the day Parsons, Spies, Fischer, and Engel were hanged, Schwab and Fielden were immured in the penitentiary.

The night before the executions in Chicago a procession of about 2,000 Anarchist sym-pathizers passed down Broadway in New York, bearing red flags and black banners in-scribed with incendiary sentiments. At the City Hell the procession broke up without any act of violence having been committed.

The bodies of the dead Anarchists were given to their friends, and on Sunday they were buried by them. Mayor Roche permitted a funeral procession to march through the nec-essary streets to the graves, under restrictions which forbade demonstrations of undue partisanship towards the dead, without other music than dirges, and without the flags and other emblems of Anarchy. The Mayor’s restrictions were partly disregarded, red ribbons were worn, and the Marseillaise Hymn was played and sung.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy