Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day Riots of 1894

The May Day Riots of 1894 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1, 1894 (May Day).

Cleveland's unemployment rate increased dramatically during the Panic of 1893.

Finally, riots broke out among the unemployed who condemned city leaders for their ineffective relief measures.

According to the New York Times, "[t]he desire to stop work seemed to take possession of every laborer..." on May Day of 1894.


One of the major causes of the riots was the Panic of 1893.

The panic precipitated one of the most severe depressions in American History.

The closure of two major railroads and other major companies triggered a stock market collapse.

The New York banks had heavily invested in the stock market, and bank failures soon began.

This caused a contraction of credit, and many other, newer, businesses started to shut down as well.

The depression produced widespread social unrest, mostly among the now-unemployed workers.

Some people tried to create public works programs for the unemployed, but this was unsuccessful.

The riot is now known to have associations with left-wing politics and communism.