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agitation was the Haymarket Square Massacre of May 4, 1886, when about 70 policemen and laborers were killed and wounded by a bomb thrown by an anarchist.
A meeting of the unemployed had been called and several speeches had been made, which, though inflammatory, did not violate the law of free speech. But a man by the name of Fielden became so violent in his speech that a squad of police was ordered to the square to quiet the rising storm. Finally Fielden was told to discontinue his speech and the crowd was ordered to disperse. Fielden shouted "To arms!" and at that moment a bomb was thrown into the midst of the police squad. It exploded and caused great consternation. The police fired a volley from their revolvers and a battle ensued with the fatal results above mentioned. Spies, Parsons, Fischer, Neebe, Engel, Ling, Fielden, and Schwab, all of whom were leaders in this affair, were arrested and tried as accessories before the fact. Spies, Fischer, Parsons and Engel were hanged on November 11, 1887; Ling committed suicide in jail; and Fielden and Schwab were sentenced to prison for life and Neebe for a term of fifteen years. In 1893, however, Governor Altgeld, on the petition of many prominent persons, pardoned the last three, as the evidence was insufficient to prove that they were connected with the actual throwing of the bomb.*
The trust question now became prominent in the political platforms, the remedies suggested depending upon the party. These combinations with enormous capital began to stifle competition, using their capital not only to extend and better their own manufacturing plants but to buy off aggressive and successful rivals that they might shut down competing mills. But even these combinations were not able to stay the trend of the markets. The crop conditions in the West had taken a turn for the worse and the yield was largely reduced. European production on the other hand had enormously expanded and India and the Argentine Republic were shipping 50,000,000 bushels of wheat per year to the foreign market. This competition therefore cut down the grain exports. Beside this the manufacturing industries of this country had also witnessed a similar condition of affairs.t European manufactures, and especially those of England, had reached an unprecedented volume, and this resulted in an aggressive search for
*The principle of the trust-combination for more economic production that prices to the public might be reduced- was good in itself, but its practical operation was otherwise. When competitors were shut off and a monopoly of trade secured no matter how the selling prices of merchandise were raised, but the cost of production remained the same, thereby enabling the trusts to pile up enormous amounts of capital for use as they saw fit. For the history of such combinations see Moody's The Truth about the Trusts; Luther Conant, Jr., Industrial Combinations in the United States.
See the Report of the American Iron and Steel Association for January, 1889.
COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY; PARTY CANDIDATES.
The United States was the market chiefly sought and imports of all kinds began to flow into this country.
The United States was now buying more goods from foreign markets than it could pay for immediately and consequently industrial stocks and bonds were sent to foreign creditors to settle balances. "The net importation of $33,000,000 in gold during the year 1887 in the face of a balance of more than $23,000,000 in merchandise exports in favor of the United States also showed that a large amount of our stocks and bonds were being quietly bought by foreign investors in the open markets."*
The imports of merchandise, however, soon outstripped our exports and the excess over exports went bounding upward, thus greatly increasing the revenues of the government from customs receipts. Furthermore, the internal revenues had been largely increased by the greater consumption of domestic products as a result of our expansion in wealth and population. The natural result of these conditions, therefore, was a large increase of the surplus in the treasury which, because the government could find no outlet into the channels of trade, soon threatened to impede the movement of crops and other commercial and financial operations.
A remedy was now sought, but the protectionist majority in the Senate refused to consider the most practical
*Lauck, Panic of 1893, p. 11.
solution reducing revenues by lowering tariff duties and another method of reducing the surplus was employed. As the public debt which was redeemable at par had already been extinguished, Congress was asked by the treasury officials for authority to purchase the government's unmatured bonds at a premium. In April, 1888, such authority was given; during the next two years $45,000,000 had been paid out in premiums, and by 1890, the total interest-bearing debt of the country had been reduced to $725,313,110.*
Under these conditions the presidential election of 1888 was fought. The candidates were as follows:
money now lying idle in the general treasury amounts to more than one hundred and twenty-five millions and the surplus collected is reaching the sum of sixty millions annually." This surplus, the Democrats charged, was being exhausted by the Republicans "by extravagant appropriations and expenses," and they pledged themselves to enforce frugality in public
Noyes, American Finance, pp. 104–126; Lauck, Panic of 1893, p. 13. See also the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury for 1890.
Greer subsequently declined the nomination.
expense " by reforming the tariff and reducing the revenues. The RepubliThe Republi
cans, on the other hand, said they were "uncompromisingly in favor of the American system of protection." Continuing they said they "would effect all needed reductions of the national revenue by repealing the taxes upon tobacco and the
tax upon spirits used in the arts and for mechanical purposes, and by such revision of the tariff as will tend to check imports of such articles as are produced by our people." This of course meant increase, not decrease, but if this were not sufficient the party declared for "entire repeal of internal taxes, rather than the surrender of any part of our protection system." But instead of recommending a reduction in expenditures the party demanded" appropriations for the early rebuilding of our navy; for the construction of coast fortifications; for the payment of just pensions to our soldiers; for the necessary works
of national importance in the improvement of harbors and the channels of internal, coastwise and foreign commerce; for the encouragement of the shipping interest."
The election resulted in favor of Harrison and Morton, for although they received 100,000 popular votes less than Cleveland and Thurman, they secured an electoral vote of 233 against a vote of 168 for the latter.* Both branches of the next Congress would be Republican by small majorities.
* Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, pp. 413-415, and History of the Presidency, pp. 457-485; McClure, Our Presidents and How We Make Them, pp. 316-336; McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1888, pp. 182-191, 1890, pp. 26-35; Andrews, Last Quarter-Century, vol. ii., pp. 157– 168; Sherman's Recollections, vol. ii., pp. 10221032; McClure's Recollections, pp. 138-142; Hoar's Autobiography, vol. ii., pp. 409-415; Lew Wallace, Benjamin Harrison, p. 269 et seq.; Stoddard's Cleveland, pp. 255-263; Whittle's Cleveland, pp. 123-128; Porter and Boyle, Life of William McKinley, pp. 179-189; Murat Halstead, Life and Distinguished Services of William Mo Kinley, pp. 69-72.