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The Haymarket Affair and the Norwegian Immigrant Press
by Arlow W. Andersen (Volume 31: Page 97)

On November 11, 1987, a graveside ceremony will undoubtedly take place at Waldheim cemetery in Oak Park, on the western edge of Chicago. There lie the remains of four men whose direct guilt in the Haymarket riot of May 4, 1886, has never been established. They were among those charged with inciting to violence in a bomb-throwing incident which brought death to seven policemen in downtown Chicago. Imprisonment and trial followed, ending with their hanging in the Cook county jail on November 11, 1887. One can only surmise who will be present to observe the centennial of this gruesome historical event. To the majority of their contemporaries the victims were dangerous socialists and anarchists whose punishment was well deserved. Others regarded them as genuine martyrs to the twin causes of reform and justice, seeking to benefit an oppressed working class. Their immediate goal was simply an eight-hour day for all industrial workers.

While the antipodal points of view suggested above do not lend themselves to reconciliation, it is safe to say that the judgment of the twentieth century would be more concerned with the punitive atmosphere and the questionable procedures in the trial than with the social and economic aims of the accused. Radicals in their day, were these dead to rise and look about them they would find comfort in learning that their nineteenth-century vision for the lower ranks of society, including unskilled immigrants, was not completely askew. In fact, their dreams have in large measure been fulfilled.

The labor question was not new in the 1880s. But the rise of the modern factory had created a human robot, paid, to be sure, but nevertheless committed to long hours of tedious work under unpleasant and often hazardous conditions. Fringe benefits were unheard of. Hardly any segment of the western world escaped this dehumanization. Tolstoy painted the picture correctly when he remarked that people he saw on the streets of St. Petersburg seemed to be walking along a wire that drew them unwillingly toward their factory jobs. From the first days of the Christian era, and probably much earlier, the laborer was said to be worthy of his hire. Unfortunately, that worthiness was lost sight of in the impersonal drive for profits.

American labor retaliated by organizing its forces. Among its first nationwide efforts was the founding of the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, the name itself suggesting both secrecy and grandeur. Its beginning in 1869 received little attention in the Norwegian-American press. A decade later Bikuben (The Beehive), the voice of Mormonism for Scandinavian converts in Utah, denounced the yearning for profit but turned its attention more toward allegedly dangerous social and economic philosophies. The editor declared socialism to be “an unmerciful enemy” in European countries. He saw the same red color and the identical destructive pattern in the French Commune of 1871, Russian nihilism, and American railroad strikes. Bikuben took seriously the rumors that anarchists were storing ammunition in American cities, and spoke out for gradual reform of working conditions within the law. {1}

The early 1880s brought an unusual sharpening of tension between dissatisfied laborers and adamant employers. Norwegian-American editors and correspondents surveyed the world of manufacturing much as the general public did. Some played the “plague on both your houses” game, scolding the contending parties for ignoring the welfare of the people. Others added that labor’s right to organize was not in question, but that unions should not resort to sabotage or drive away “scabs,” the non-union strikebreakers. Too bad, they thought, that the Knights of Labor, embarrassed by their large membership - 700,000 in 1886 - and handicapped by the demands of disparate interest groups among them, could not control their rebellious and violence-prone factions. Agitators from France and Germany further aggravated the problem. {2}

A few journalists spoke more positively on behalf of the exploited laborers. Rapid industrial development had produced an unprecedented impulse toward progress, something in which labor would have no share unless capital came to the rescue. Had a larger segment of Norwegians in America been identified with urban manufacturing and processing and with railroad maintenance, perhaps their newspapers would have discussed the sad plight of the working class in greater depth and length. As it was, the majority of their readers were involved in farming, which knew no limitations on working hours and which carried no assurance of a fixed income. {3}

Well-informed Norwegians understood that one of their fellow citizens, of an earlier generation, had championed the workingman’s cause in both Norway and America. This was Marcus Thrane, who had provided the original impetus to the rise of labor as an organized force in his native land. In 1850 he drew up a petition which was signed by hundreds and presented hopefully to King Oscar I of the twin kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. In the perspective of the twentieth century, the petition must be deemed reasonable and moderate in its proposals. But the authorities, suspicious of violence, which Thrane had repeatedly warned his followers against, moved in and arrested him. He spent the next eight years in prison.

The second half of Thrane’s life was lived out in America. Through the medium of two Chicago newspapers, Marcus Thrane’s Norske Amerikaner in 1866 and Dagslyset (Dawn), a philosophical-religious monthly from 1869 to 1878, the exile from Norway supported a new radical reform movement then coming upon the American scene. He likened the party to the Social Democratic organization in Europe. In 1878, still in Chicago, he and Louis Pio, a Danish-American socialist, edited Den Nye Tid (The New Times). Thrane’s declining years, until his death in 1890, were spent rather uneventfully in the home of his son Arthur, a physician in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. {4}

Norwegian-American responses to Thrane’s death were tolerant in tone but lacking in appreciation. None associated him with conspicuous service to society. All condemned him for his freethinking agnosticism. They conceded his importance to the labor movement in Norway but thought him too superficial to be great. {5}

Concerning the Chicago Haymarket violence of 1886, the Norwegian immigrant press appraised it, for the most part, from the cautious perspective of the propertied classes. Readers learned of a confrontation between policemen and strikers at the McCormick Harvester Company plant on May 3 and of the socialist-inspired protest meeting of the following evening at Haymarket Square. There the fateful and mysterious bomb was thrown and the seven policemen killed. Suspects were rounded up, known socialist leaders in particular, whether they had attended or participated in the meeting or not. During the ensuing weeks the metropolitan and national press covered the trial of the alleged murderers. Jury verdicts were finally announced in August. Eight men were declared guilty of murder, primarily because of their socialistic-anarchistic philosophies. Seven of them were sentenced to death. Governor Richard Oglesby of Illinois commuted the sentences of two of the doomed men, namely Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab. Louis Lingg committed suicide in his cell. Eventually four men were hanged: August Spies, George Engel, Albert Parsons, and Adolph Fischer. {6}

American popular opinion saw the bombing as the work of a motley crew of radicals infesting Chicago. Immediately there arose a cry for vengeance, with no thought of suspending judgment until the facts in the case could be determined. News accounts were sensationalized. The Chicago Tribune, the leading voice, left no doubt of its position. Because of a “hellish deed” at Haymarket Square the ground was covered with dead and mutilated police officers. The anarchists, “led by the wiry-whiskered foreigners, grew bolder and made repeated attempts to renew the attack,” a description hardly supported by other evidence. The “windbag orators” themselves slunk away. This, in part, was the Tribune’s version of the night of May 4.

Foreign-born newsmen in America resented the implication that all the immigrants in this country had been hounded out of Europe and that they were all habitual lawbreakers. Like the vast majority of Americans, however, they registered indignation, if not hostility, toward the weapon-wielding participants in labor strikes. No doubt the condemnation of the Haymarket prisoners in Norwegian-American newspapers came easier by virtue of the circumstance that no Scandinavian name emerged in the search for the bomb thrower. Overall, they registered disgust or horror at the killings. Budstikken (The Messenger) of Minneapolis said little, the editor choosing merely to write a column on the rise of un-American socialism among Germans, Poles, and Bohemians. Skandinaven of Chicago appears to have deliberately avoided mention of the clash of May 4. It had kind words, however, for Grand Master Workman Terence V. Powderly of the Knights of Labor, who was urging moderation among his unruly and heterogeneous membership. When the dust had settled, Skandinaven addressed two columns to employers, suggesting that most troubles derived from misunderstandings, and that employers, in their own interest, would do well to offer reasonable and acceptable terms to their employees. Let workers have a say in the conditions of their employment, as John A. Johnson of Madison, Wisconsin, was doing in his machine-tool industry. Decorah-Posten, though less outspoken, deplored the vandalism (pøbeltøier) in Chicago. It feared that the struggle for an eight-hour day would be lost because of the acts of anarchists “chased out of Europe.” {7}

Other journals merely echoed the factual reports of the American dailies. Only Budstikken opposed the death penalty. The condemned men had not been proved guilty, it argued. The newspaper also sympathized with the Knights of Labor, who were caught in a dilemma. On the one hand, they denounced the philosophy of anarchism, with which critics identified the accused. On the other hand, the Knights pleaded for justice for the men under trial. This attitude placed the Noble Order in a position of seeming to implore mercy for men who showed no mercy themselves. Budstikken raised doubts concerning the fairness of the jury system. Judgment by peers was a good thing, it conceded, but impartiality was often impossible. Bribery, ignorance, public pressure, and prejudgments formed on the basis of early reports on the case might result in unjust decisions. Norwegian-American journals otherwise made no objection to the judicial proceedings and findings. Many believed that the courts and judges had correctly upheld law and order. Sentiment for life sentences rather than death weakened even more after the sensational discovery of bombs in the cell of Louis Lingg, one of the condemned men. Now nothing but the death penalty would do. {8}

Compassion tempered judgment somewhat when the wire services brought word of the hangings. Skandinaven had maintained a guarded silence, but now editor Peter Hendrickson, in an editorial entitled “Justice is Done,” called the executions “a significant event in the nation’s history.” Let there be no hatred or bitterness, he wrote, but rather sympathy for the bereaved families; perhaps the home and the church had failed to influence these rebellious persons. In the spirit of the adage, “Show me the landscape and I will show you the man,” Hendrickson seemed to portray the victims as products of bitter experience and cruel environment. Decorah-Posten, through an anonymous Chicago correspondent, sensed that most Chicagoans deplored the executions, feeling that justice might have been better served without the taking of human lives. Albert Parsons, one of the doomed four, was thought to have been less guilty than the others. All had faced death with dignity. But if the radical wing of the labor movement was thus severely prosecuted, might not would-be anarchists retaliate with violence in years to come? Hallvard Hande of Chicago’s Norden (The North) also voiced this concern. He found it ominous that 15,000 mourners had joined the funeral procession and many more lined the streets. Other editors responded variously. One said that August Spies, a known anarchist and a highly intelligent man, was most guilty and that Governor Richard Oglesby of Illinois had had no choice, inasmuch as state law demanded death in murder cases. Another writer declared that Norwegians and anarchists were in basic disagreement: The freedom and unity preserved in the Civil War had to be maintained. Nordvesten (The Northwest) of St. Paul, and Fædrelandet og Emigranten (The Fatherland and the Emigrant) of La Crosse reported the details of the hangings but made no further comments. {9}

Though the immigrant press in general addressed itself specifically to the Haymarket experience, there were some newspapers that looked at the events in the light of the social gospel, which preceded the Christian Socialism of the 1890s. Budstikken, consistently humanitarian in its outlook, came out in favor of the eight-hour day as a measure that would insure a more relaxed and a more intelligent citizenry. It expressed regret when the railroad brotherhoods decided not to cooperate with Powderly and the Knights in any further demands. Reform, in Eau Claire, praised Powderly for his steady and wise labor leadership and not least for his stand on temperance, quoting from a speech delivered in Chicago in 1889. Four years later editor Ole Br. Olson regretted Powderly’s resignation, calling the Grand Master Workman one of the great men of the time. Apparently Powderly held too many reins in his hands; his horses were taking off in all directions. As Chicago’s Amerika indicated, many of the Knights were strong in demands but weak in work incentives.

The fight for the eight-hour day, however, was not completely lost. In 1892 Congress passed an eight-hour bill covering government employees in the District of Columbia. The Norwegian-American congressman Nils P. Haugen, formerly railroad commissioner for the state of Wisconsin, succeeded in getting the measure amended so as to include “drivers and conductors on streetcar lines, and employees in certain corporations doing business with the government, or in the public interest.” In passing this bill, Congress probably spoke for the vast majority of Americans in a nation then witnessing rapid and substantial industrial growth. {10}

Among those deeply concerned on ethical and judicial grounds over the Haymarket hangings was the new governor of Illinois, John Peter Altgeld, elected in 1892. His Civil War experience as a volunteer infantryman and his demonstrated sense of a fairness notwithstanding, Norwegian-American editors accused him of liberal views and anarchistic sympathies after he pardoned the three remaining Haymarket prisoners. As a leading spokesman for the Democratic party he was destined to incur the wrath of Scandinavian Republicans. Nicolai Grevstad, the new editor of Skandinaven, led the way, charging that the German-born governor would some day be ashamed of the speech he delivered to the state Democratic convention in the spring of 1892. In it Altgeld was said to have attacked the Republican leadership as threatening American institutions. Grevstad concluded that the governor had yielded to a political urge to foment German-American hatred of the Yankees. {11}

Undoubtedly Altgeld was aware of his potential strength in the class-dominated society of Chicago, where economic giants like Marshall Field, Gustavus F. Swift, and George Pullman prevailed in finance and government. Altgeld knew his political ground. He knew that the population of Chicago, the great metropolis within his administrative domain, was sixty-eight percent of foreign stock. These were the people who rendered aid in his election as a German immigrant to the highest office in the state.

No Norwegian-American newspapers acclaimed Altgeld’s pardoning of Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, and Oscar Neebe on June 26, 1893. Grevstad of Skandinaven, craving a wider audience, responded in English, as if to sound a note of protest to the citizens of Chicago and of the entire state and country. He cited the governor’s action as “anarchy at the helm.” He saw it not as pardon, but as an act of compassion suggesting that the prisoners had not been given a fair trial. This distinction Grevstad understood, as a student and admirer of the American judicial system. But the electorate as a whole hardly comprehended the distinction. The governor was telling the nation that the prisoners had been unjustly condemned. At a ceremony at Waldheim cemetery, where a monument to the men hanged in 1887 was unveiled, the governor, in a long speech, extolled the deceased as martyrs. This was too much for Grevstad. “On behalf of the Scandinavians,” he wrote, “we emphatically brand Governor Altgeld’s message as a menace to law and order.” {12}

Amerika, Nordvesten, and Budstikken, while speaking for themselves, agreed in the main with Skandinaven. To reject the judge’s decision was one thing, to pardon was another. Men who openly advocated the use of dynamite in support of their political philosophy deserved no leniency simply because of good behavior. The governor was suggesting that anarchy and innocence were reconcilable. Budstikken questioned not so much the governor’s action as his reasoning. The editor of this normally Democratic newspaper, and hence one likely to defend a fellow Democrat, would have preferred a simple statement without a lengthy review of the issues in the trial. Altgeld’s implication of injustice in the heated atmosphere of the courtroom back in 1886 seemed to him unwise. {13}

If Governor Altgeld was criticized in 1893, Mayor Carter H. Harrison of Chicago had earlier been the target of many darts in the popular tumult which erupted after the mysterious bombing in 1886. Norden correctly reported that the American press, led by owner Joseph Medill of the Chicago Tribune, charged Harrison with having coddled socialists, even in the city government. Yet Harrison fared better than Altgeld in the aftermath. Chicagoans reelected him repeatedly. Amerika felt that the people trusted the Democratic mayor despite his known propensity for collaborating with political gangs. Even Republicans voted for him. Amerika wished that both political machines would vanish. Budstikken seemed to go along with others in at least tolerating the worldly-wise Mayor Harrison. {14}

Harrison’s murder on October 28, 1893, shocked the public and brought condolences, even praise, from all quarters. A disappointed office-seeker had gained entrance to the mayor’s Ashland Boulevard home and shot him on the spot. Harrison had addressed an assembly of visiting mayors that day at the Columbian Exposition, or World’s Fair. Norden remarked that there was more sorrow in Chicago at the murder than there was joy over the memory of Columbus’s discovery of America. The editor described the exposition as a lasting monument to the mayor. Amerika headlined its eulogy “Our Carter is Dead.” Yet Carter Harrison, it was said, fell victim to the lawlessness that characterized his administration. Succumbing to the low ideals of the people around him, he looked through his fingers at violations of law by saloon-keepers and gambling operators. {15}

Other journals spoke in the same vein. Decorah-Posten acknowledged Harrison’s popularity and absolved him of demagoguery. Grevstad of Skandinaven claimed that even foreign countries would feel Harrison’s loss. He called him “preeminently a whole-souled man,” strong, vigorous, impressive, and gifted. This was high tribute coming from one of the staunchest Republicans among Norwegian Americans. The publisher of Scandia in Duluth-Superior, who clearly had socialist leanings, had once denounced Harrison. Now he declared, in a three-column editorial, that Chicago would never experience a greater sorrow. Nordvesten proclaimed that the murder of this public official was a blot on the record of American civilization, coming as it did at an exposition where many official representatives from all over the world were present. How long must the nation wait for civil service reform? First Garfield, and now Harrison, both excellent men, had fallen to the guns of office-seekers. {16}

Knute Nelson, then governor of Minnesota and later United States senator, withheld any public comment upon learning of Carter Harrison’s violent death. No doubt he remembered his words of five years earlier, in 1888, spoken on the floor of the House of Representatives. On that occasion he defended foreign-born Americans, who would be the losers under the terms of a proposed new land law. Using his opportunity, he voiced his displeasure at Harrison’s coddling of a few crazy anarchists in Chicago” prior to the Haymarket explosion. At that time, he declared, “Chicago had something worse than the anarchists themselves. It had Carter Harrison (laughter and applause), who had nursed them for years here” and “got them to believe that they had come to this country to do anything under the sun except pay attention and be respectful to the flag of the United States. . . . We had better incorporate into the land laws that men like Carter Harrison should have no business in this country.” In 1893, when eulogies were in order, Nelson held his peace. {17}

The Haymarket affair revived fears of violence and generated reappraisals, pro and con, of alien ideologies. Wiser heads came to understand that socialists wore coats of many colors, not all deep red. As a concept, socialism defied definition because of the diversity of kind and degree of social change intended and the methods to be employed. It ranged widely from radical to moderate, from atheistic to Christian, and from anarchistic to reformist working within the constitution. Criticism of socialism, however, was directed mainly toward the Marxist philosophy of class struggle, ultimate victory of the proletariat, obliteration of national boundaries, and a world at peace which had no room for patriotism, let alone nationalism. Most Norwegian analysts in America shied away from Marxism and of course had no kind words for anarchism. The assassination of President Sadi Carnot of France and Tsar Alexander III of Russia by anarchist hands in 1894 tended to make this predominantly European ideology more than a simple bogeyman. By 1903 Congress enacted a measure which banned alien anarchists from entering the United States and prohibited their naturalization.

Of the newspapers presently under review, only Scandia offered a clear defense of socialism around 1890, between the time of the Haymarket disturbance and the death of Carter Harrison. Scandia debated socialism with Nordvesten, claiming that the latter did not understand this new social doctrine. Nordvesten, it is true, sided with judges who denied citizenship to socialists, suspecting danger to American institutions. Nordvesten also took Amerika to task, conceding that socialism was acceptable in theory but that in practice it threatened both state and church. Budstikken leaned in Scandia’s direction, citing the arbitrariness of the Chicago police. The editor’s animosity toward Skandinaven may have colored his stand. Normally Democratic, Budstikken charged the generally Republican daily newspaper in Chicago with being two-faced, trying to satisfy both political parties, pretending to speak for agriculture and labor while favoring great monopolies, and pleading for temperance while not averse to running saloon advertisements. {18}

The press found it difficult to distinguish between anarchism and socialism, if indeed it made serious attempts to do so. Syd Dakota Ekko (South Dakota Echo) attributed anarchistic outbursts to poverty and portrayed anarchism as mainly a European phenomenon. Folkebladet (The People’s Newspaper) of Minneapolis balked at the idea of honoring the four “anarchists” who paid with their lives. The editor held that such radicals were either Germans or Jews, Albert Parsons being an exception. When a German Jew from Russia praised Michael Schwab and a Farmers’ Alliance leader made a martyr of Parsons at a Minneapolis meeting, Folkebladet wondered how far this adoration could go. Wasn’t Ignatius Donnelly enough?, editor A. M. Arntzen asked, referring to Minnesota’s leading exponent of populism. With an eye on this new people’s party, Syd Dakota Ekko appealed to labor not to draw class lines. {19}

The Haymarket affair coincided with important labor developments in Norway. It was at that time that a Social Democratic organization, a labor party, and a permanent party organ, Social-Demokraten, came into being. While Norway experienced nothing comparable to the rise of big business in the United States, the Norwegian press as a whole observed with concern the reform trend across the water. For the most part newspapermen in Norway were well informed about the Haymarket affair. They seemed to view it from the position of the peaceful American workingman, business manager, or government official. Their views paralleled in most cases those of the anti-socialist press in America; this cannot be attributable solely to imitation. Like their American counterparts, they were obviously ignorant of the identity and motivation of the bomb-thrower. Could it be, as Governor Altgeld of Illinois was later to suggest, that Captain John Bonfield of the Chicago police department had antagonized certain strikers and onlookers at the McCormick works with brutal clubbing and that one of the offended workers had decided to retaliate on his own against the police? {20}

The specific events of the Haymarket affair are relatively easy to record. Causes and consequences, however, remain more elusive. It is clear that the American people were outraged and that the Knights of Labor, although opposed to strikes, suffered a terminal blow. Skilled workers withdrew from the organization en masse. The Knights soon ceased to exert any significant influence in labor-management relations. The American Federation of Labor, with its union of unions, all skilled workers, fared better, though it suffered a temporary setback in the Homestead strike against the Carnegie steel mills in 1892. Few Americans, whether native or foreign-born, looked far beneath the surface of social and economic circumstances. For the vast majority, execution because of radical ideas and execution for murder were not inconsistent. Given the emotional pitch of the time, circumstantial evidence was enough to justify extreme punishment. If aliens were involved, and especially if they promulgated disturbing ideas, retribution seemed even more justifiable.

The Haymarket affair raised many troubling questions. The issue of freedom of speech was involved. How far should public speaking be allowed without becoming license to advocate overthrow of existing institutions? A nation grounded in revolution found itself perplexed. When, if ever, should direct action take precedence over political avenues to change? How could a “new world” proletariat succeed against bourgeois opposition, represented by the moguls of finance and their protective guardians, the police and the courts? When could a repressed working class expect to be free from the domination of a laissez-faire economic system which seemed to rest upon an inhumane theory of the survival of the fittest? All of this made the search for the bomb-thrower of May 4, 1886, a matter of less importance.

Norwegian-American journalists devoted their attention mainly to the men being tried for the murder of the Chicago policemen, not to the elusive killer whose identity may never be known. As a rule, they were not bent on punishment. They sought no scapegoats. They showed signs of both justice and mercy, of the eye-for-an-eye principle on the one hand and a measure of Christian forbearance on the other. Some wondered whether employers had done their part to improve the lot of the working man. Others inquired whether the police had provoked the tragic Haymarket incident. Still others doubted that guilt had been proved in the courtroom. Opinions varied on the appropriateness of the punishment. Would the sensational deaths of the four condemned men only create martyrs useful to the cause of violent radicalism? Immigrant editors felt for the families of the doomed socialists but showed little sympathy for the prisoners who were pardoned. In this respect their views differed little from American opinion in general.


<1> Henri Troyat, Tolstoy (New York, 1967), 76; Bikuben, June 6, 1878.

<2> Fædrelandet og Emigranten, March 20, 1883; Skandinaven, June 17, 1885, and March 31, 1886; Amerika, May 20, 1885.

<3> Folkebladet, March 3 and May 5, 1886; Norden, April 27, 1886; Budstikken, May 4, 1886.

<4> Halvdan Koht, Marcus Thrane. Til hundreaarsdagen, oktober 14 (Kristiania, 1917), 31-50; Aksel Zachariassen, Fra Marcus Thrane til Martin Tranmæl (Oslo, 1962), 43-44. In 1949 the Social Democratic government of Norway arranged to have the earthly remains of Thrane removed, with appropriate ceremonies, to Vor Frelsers Graviund (Our Savior’s cemetery) in Oslo, the final resting place of many of Norway’s immortals.

<5> Nordvesten, May 8, 1890; Amerika, May 7, 1890; Decorah-Posten, May 7, 1890; Johannes B. Wist, “Pressen efter borgerkrigen,” in Norskamerikanernes festskrift 1914 (Decorah, Iowa, 1914), 92-93.

<6> Henry David, The History of the Haymarket Affair (2nd ed., New York, 1958) is the most thorough and comprehensive treatment of the subject. The first edition was published in 1936.

<7> Budstikken, June 1, 1886; Skandinaven, May 19 and June 9, 1886; Decorah-Posten, May 12, 1886; Norduesten, May 13, 1886; Norden, May 11, 1886; Amerika, May 12, 1886; Fædrelandet og Emigranten, May 11 and June 1, 1886.

<8> Budstikken, November 5, 1886, and May 4, 1887; Norden, August 24, 1886; Amerika, December 1, 1886, and November 9, 1887; Decorah-Posten, November 9, 1887. According to the Norwegian-American writer Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, the Chicago press during the trial “complimented the Scandinavians of the West on their law-abiding spirit, and the counsel for the defense emphasized the compliment by requesting that no Scandinavian should be accepted on the jury.” See “The Scandinavians in the United States,” in The North American Review, 155 (November, 1892), 526-535. It is possible that Boyesen overstated the case.

<9> Skandinaven, November 16, 1887; Decorah-Posten, November 16 and 23, 1887; Minneapolis Daglig Tidende, November 10 and 12, 1887; Amerika, November 23, 1887; Nordvesten, November 10 and 17, 1887; Norden, November 18 and December 6, 1887; Fædrelandet og Emigranten, November 16, 1887.

<10> Budstikken, July 10, 1889, and September 3, 1890. This newspaper (April 30, 1890) expressed some skepticism over the designation of May 1 as International Labor Day, with the eight-hour day as the immediate objective. It was possibly editor R. S. N. Sartz who cautioned labor against moving too fast. Reform, October 15, 1889, and December 12, 1893; Amerika, November 20, 1889; Congressional Record, 52nd Congress, First Session (1892), 5730-5736.

<11> Skandinaven, May 4, 1892.

<12> Skandinaven, July 5, 1893. The monument was dedicated on June 25, 1893.

<13> Amerika, July 5, 1893; Nordvesten, July 6, 1893; Budstikken, July 5, 1893. Sigvart Sørensen edited Budstikken from 1891 to 1894. When Altgeld declared in December, 1893, that he would not be a candidate for the United States Senate, Sørensen called it an example of sour grapes, stating that Altgeld would never have been chosen. He had lost the nomination in 1884. For a brief account of Altgeld see “John Peter Altgeld (1847-1902): Man of Conscience,” in Cecyle Neidle, Great Immigrants (New York, 1973), 43-66.

<14> Norden, May 25, 1886; Amerika, April 12, 1893; Budstikken, April 5, 1893.

<15> Norden November 4, 1893; Amerika, November 1, 1893.

<16> Decorah-Posten October 31, 1893; Skandinaven, November 1, 1893; Scandia, November 3, 1893; Nordvesten, November 2, 1893; Reform, October 31, 1893; Syd Dakota Ekko, November 8, 1893, where editor Gabriel Bie Ravndal appears to have “echoed” Wist’s remarks in Nordvesten: no more “to the victors belong the spoils”; Fædrelandet og Emigranten, April 9, 1888.

<17> Congressional Record, 50th Congress, First Session (1888), 2460. Apparently only Fædrelandet og Emigranten (April 8, 1888) took note of Knute Nelson’s remarks on the occasion. Editor Ferdinand Husher, in approval of Nelson’s contribution, called attention to the Democratic as well as the Republican applause after the speech.

<18> Scandia, November 13, 1891; Nordvesten, October 29 and November 19, 1891; Budstikken, March 28, 1888, and January 23, 1889.

<19> Bikuben, April 26, 1894; Folkebladet, November 11, 1891; Syd Dakota Ekko, January 11, 1893.

<20> Henry M. Christman, ed., The Mind and Spirit of John Peter Altgeld: Selected Writings and Addresses (Urbana, Illinois, 1960), 94.


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