Origins of the Labor Day Holiday

By JohnyMac

MrsMac often describes yours truly as a cesspool of worthless information. To be consistent with her description of me lets discuss the origins of Labor Day and May Day.

May 1, 1886 a general protest was called for across America, striking for an 8-hour workday. An estimated 300,000 people participated in the national protest. On May 4, 1886 the protests reached its zenith in Chicago when police moved in to break up a labor unionists gathering in the Haymarket section of the city. As the police charged the protesters with batons someone threw a bomb into the middle of the police push. The police responded with gunfire firing into the crowd. This event has been labeled the Haymarket affair. To add to the Haymarket drama on May 5, 1886 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, State Militia fired upon labor demonstrations killing seven there

When the Hatmarket melee was over there were seven police officer’s dead along with four civilians; sixty police officers were injured, and an unknown number of civilians. Later the leaders of the strike were rounded up and were put on trial. When it was all said and done four were executed by hanging post the trial.

In 1889, a meeting was held by the First Congress of the Second International held in Paris. The congress called for a worldwide demonstration on May 1, 1890 to mark the day of the Haymarket affair.

Moving ahead 18-years post the “Chicago Incident” the International Socialist Congress while convened in Amsterdam, called on all social democrat organizations and trade unions around the globe to demonstrate with fervor on the First day of May, again to bring about the 8-hour work day and universal peace. Since then, May Day has been a point of focus for social democrats, communists, and dictatorial governments around the globe.

Not to be outdone, the Catholic Church dedicated May 1 to Saint Joseph in 1955. It is a truly worldwide celebration for the Left.

Matthew Maguire a machinist proposed a Labor Day celebration holiday across the United States in 1882 to be held the first Monday of September while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York City. Others suggest that Peter McGuire of the American Federation of Labor did likewise in the same year.

Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official public holiday in 1887. By 1894 Labor Day was celebrated in 30-states, some on the first Monday of September while others on May 1. The Federal government acknowledged the holiday and deemed it to be celebrated the first Monday in September rather than May 1.

Labor Day for most of us represents not a day to celebrate the workers of the United States and Canada but a day to celebrate or morn the end of the summer. The day is typically celebrated with some Labor Union parades, back yard barbecues, and taking care of the final touches of ones “go back to school” duds and supplies.

Labor Day weekend for me was always a mournful holiday as it meant the ending of summer freedoms and a return to structure – Ala school, which I hated with a passion. It also meant goodbye to friends and family as we all returned to the structure of the upcoming fall and winter months till the freedoms commence again at the end of school the coming year.

You now know the whole story and you too can be a cesspool of worthless information at your Labor Day picnic table.

Freedom Through Self-Reliance©

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