Governor John Peter Altgeld
“Elected governor with strong support from labor and genuine friend of labor.”
As governor of Illinois during 1892-1896, Altgeld worked to make the Democratic Party more responsive to the needs of organized labor. He signed the first workplace sanitation law and child labor law in Illinois. Altgeld recognized the right of workers to protest through strikes, and therefore, denounced President Cleveland’s sympathy for employers in the Great Pullman Strike of 1894. In addition, he pardoned the imprisoned Haymarket Martyrs.