Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement

By Joseph R. Conlin | Go to book overview

4

The Eminent Man

Haywood titled the chapter of his autobiography which followed his version of the Steunenberg Trial, "The World Widens." In truth, the personal world into which he walked from the Ada County Courthouse little resembled the one he left eighteen months before in Denver. Before his arrest Haywood was a modestly salaried minor official of a large and powerful labor union who was popular with the miners and despised by the owners of the mines. But he was a figure of strictly local renown, almost unknown beyond the mining canyons and smelting towns. He had little to look forward to except, perhaps, advancement to the presidency of the Western Federation. But even that was in doubt as his relations with Charles Moyer and the other union leaders deteriorated. The trial changed everything. Although Haywood's role in the courtroom drama was passive, he became a symbol around which seethed an international protest movement of labor unionists and radicals. Widely publicized photographs of the burly miner brooding in the courtroom introduced millions to his unforgettable face. His name was emblazoned on red banners, featured in front-page headlines, cursed by the President, and cheered hoarsely in a dozen languages at rallies on his behalf. In the United States virtually all unionists and radicals leapt to his defense, including even a reluctant Samuel Gompers. Eugene V. Debs composed his most revolutionary tract on the issue, warning that "if they attempt to murder Moyer, Haywood, and their brothers, a million revolutionists

-77-

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Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement *
  • Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Worker 1
  • 2 - Unionist 20
  • 3 - Undesirable Citizen 52
  • 4 - The Eminent Man 77
  • 5 - Wobbly 118
  • 6 - Socialist 148
  • 7 - Bête Noire 170
  • 8 - Communist 191
  • 9 - Frustration of a Radical 210
  • Bibliographical Note 215
  • Notes to Chapters 219
  • Index 241
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