1877 Labor Revolt

The 1877 Labor Revolt began as a railroad strike in West Virginia. From there it quickly traveled to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. At the time, Chicago was the center of the Socialist Labor party, and city leaders were prepared for a civil war. Mayor Monroe Heath deputized and armed thousands of "good" citizens, while Marshall Field armed his employees and gave his delivery wagons to the police.

The strike began in Chicago with a rally on the night of July 23, 1877. At a rally the following day, police beat workers and fired gunshots over their heads. The next three days saw riots which left 30 civilians, and no police, dead. The violence ended when President Hayes sent in six infantry companies.

In response to the riots, the Citizen's Association collected $27,515 from businesses to further arm the police and militia.1

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