1853 – Immigrant Railway Workers Demand Wages

On this date between 300 and 400 German railway laborers converged on Milwaukee to demand payment of back wages. Their contractor, a Mr. Schultz, reneged on his promise of payment for labor. The laborers, who had been working on the , congregated at the company headquarters on Water and Spring Streets. Tempers flared and a riot broke out. Law enforcement and city officials were called out to control the situation. was hit over the head with a shovel blade. After the fire department turned their hoses on the angry mob, rioters responded by throwing brickbats at law enforcement. To quell the violence, the mayor issued a proclamation, in German, that the company would pay workers out of money due to the contractor. This is a very early example of the . [Source: , p. 14]