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The major effect of the Haymarket Riot is that it hurt American labor unions. It especially hurt the more radical unions and the Knights of Labor in particular.
Before the Haymarket Riot, the Knights of Labor were an important union in the United States. They were relatively radical since they included women, blacks, immigrants and unskilled workers and because they pretty much wanted workers to have more control over the factories where they worked.
But the Knights were destroyed by the negative public opinion connected with Haymarket. People saw them as dangerous, violent radicals and stopped supporting them and other unions like them. This had the long term effect of helping businesses prevent unions from organizing. Because of that, Haymarket worked to harm the interests of workers.
The Haymarket Riot, which took place on May 4th 1886 at Haymarket Square Chicago, was a result of a peaceful labor demonstration turned chaotic. This riot had both immediate effects and long term effects some of which will be discussed below.
To begin with, one immediate effect of the riot was the loss of lives caused by both the hurling of the bomb and the indiscriminate open fire by the police in response. It is estimated that approximately eleven people died including seven policemen and an unconfirmed number of civilians.
Another immediate effect was the arrest of eight labor movement radical leaders who were arraigned and tried in court. Eventually, seven of them were slapped with capital punishment and one handed a 15 year jail term.
Also, the Haymarket riot sparked a deep sense of xenophobia throughout the country. Chicago newspapers incited the public against the anarchists by publishing the police version of the Haymarket incident and stirring sympathy for them. While depicting the radical anarchists as a threat to social stability, the newspapers managed to trigger deed hatred and fear towards labor movements and foreigners in entirety.
The Knights of Labor, the largest labor movement, declined in popularity as anti-labor sentiments surged. Alongside the above, the riot caused a delay in the realization of the eight-hour work day as well as other better working conditions advocated for by the labor movement.
In the long term, the labor movement became stronger and organizations such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) were established to agitate for workers’ rights.
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