Cyrus McCormick, Jr.

Cyrus McCormick, Jr., had a famous father. His father (with his grandfather's help) had invented the mechanical reaper and built a large corporation. Cyrus, Jr., took over the company. He built the company into a huge firm, the International Harvester Company. He had a good head for business—with one exception. Even though his company made record profits, he cut the workers' pay. How do you think the workers felt? It started a chain of events that eventually led to chaos and the deaths of many people.

The workers went on strike. Cyrus McCormick, Jr., just hired other workers—called strikebreakers or scabs—to take their place. Strikers attacked the strikebreakers, so McCormick hired armed guards. After more demonstrations and protests by workers and their unions, McCormick agreed to restore workers' pay.

But McCormick wasn't happy about that. He didn't like unions, or workers demanding better pay or shorter hours. So he brought in machinery to take the place of some of the workers. When his workers demanded higher pay, McCormick bribed the mayor and police, and closed the plant. Then he hired strikebreakers (who worked an eight-hour day—the very thing the striking workers had demanded! Don't you think that made the strikers mad?) There were more protests and demonstrations, and then finally a big rally at Haymarket Square. Do you know what happened there?

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