Corruption in Late Nineteenth-Century America and George Engel’s Conversion to Socialism


America, which is now the democratic and richest country, somewhere in in past, had poor social, economic, and political conditions. So, people decided to manage and make their future worthwhile. In 1873, when Engel reached Philadelphia, he was positive about his life. He was frustrated because of his German lifestyle, so he immigrated and planned to secure his future. But very soon, by staying there, he found the opposite. There were several reasons due to the working-class population was suffering also in America. The labor class was treated badly by not giving them proper equipment for work. Poor people miserably search for food on roads, streets, and by the plenty of trash whenever they felt hungry. He claimed the American elites had all the power: they “gamed” the system so that the working class was impoverished and powerless. For this reason, realizes George Engel realized that America’s economic, political and judicial system would ruin the working class, and he decided to become a socialist.


George left Germany and decided to immigrate to America. It had become impossible for him to progress there by the labor of his hands because of the peak of industrialization in Germany. The machinery ruined the smaller craftsmen and made the outlook appear very dark. With that background, Engel believed that, if he immigrated to the United States, it would treat him fairly and reward him for hard work. As he said, “On the occasion of my arrival at Philadelphia, on the 8th of January, 1873, my heart swelled with joy in the hope and in the belief that in the future I would live among free men and in a free country”.

While staying in Germany, he could not manage in the country due to the poor conditions of the worker. They were out of their rights. They didn’t get proper working equipment, or special services, even if they didn’t have the right to speak against the authorities. On the other hand, the high elite forces were given all rights because they were in their favor and worked according to their rules. When workers try to maintain their rights, their cruelty is smashed and then no one can claim they’re lost in front of anyone. He was hopeful and energetic to move and get maximum benefits and safety for the future by becoming a fruitful asset to society. He believed that the United States treated the workers and gave them proper rights, but he soon realized that he was wrong; the conditions were not sustained in America, too, for the workers. These basic reasons thrive to move him to become a Socialist/Anarchist.

Engel was mistreated because of the economic hardship, political corruption, and judicial bias he suffered, so, he instantly realized that economic, political, and judicial movements were faked and corrupted when he entered an apolitical party by joining him. He changed his thoughts and concluded that it was pretty similar either to living in America or Germany because there were no differences in the conditions of the workers in both countries. He considered that it was all due to the corrupted and polluted political, and social conditions of America.

As well as, it was also clear that no fruitful results could be seen shortly even after putting many hardships about bringing change in the society, about feeding and choosing the leader of their choice due to the corruption in the voting system and many other cruel divisions between the elite class and worker class. Workers’ lives and their working hours were miserable. Even the judicial class was considered a high class. They were not elected by the people or by merit, but with the help of money and power. His heart bled by saying that they had no right to make laws for us because they were not elected by the people.

These were the reasons why he lost all respect for American laws. He also observed that the developer for the country or society was selected by the force, and if anyone claims any point, he also faces a cruel attitude and must be punished for his actions. There was the order of murdering the worker who argues and claims any issue. This condition was a hurdle in the development of the working class and these conditions were developing many psychological, social, and moral problems in society. The authority (leaders) claims that the workers were selected for work, not for decision-making.

The entire worker cannot claim their right. On the other hand, there were forces classes who had all the rights because they were working in the favor of the government. All of these conditions pushed Engel to become a Socialist/Anarchist. After becoming the voice for the rights of the workers in strikes, he was under arrest by the forces because they didn’t like his activities, which could bring a loss for the government. These forces also were selected by corruption and by the power of money; which was the reason which could not bring change in the decision of the country. Here he also faces discrimination by the group of the jury due to being a worker not for the blame that they put on him.

Because of this unfair and disappointing behavior, he joined the International Working People’s Association, which was just being organized to support Socialism/Anarchism. George joined socialism because it directly challenges the meta-narrative of capitalism. According to George, the leaders at Washington were corrupted, and they have been elected with the aid of their money, rather than by the people’s choice. So, they have no right to make laws for people. On the other side, Socialism is a political-economic ideology that promises to make society equal for everyone. Socialism determined that the workingman could free himself from the tyranny of capitalism only through economic ideologies.

George supports his argument with the example of history, as he quotes “People can see from the history of this country that the first colonists won their liberty only through force. through force, slavery was abolished, and just as the man who agitated against slavery in this country, had to ascend the gallows, so also must we” he believed that Social anarchism sees individual freedom and emphasizes social equality. Socialism accomplishes the balance of freedom of speech which is disordered by the elite class. That was also the wish of Engel and their opinion. But it became his conviction when he mentioned the wickedness of the capitalist conditions of that day.


Engel immigrated to the U. S with the dream that his life would be better. He expected that he would find a decent job which he had left because of industrialization in Germany. He plans to live a respectable life, vote in fair elections, and be treated justly by the judicial system. Nonetheless, after his immigration what he founds was not much different than what he had experienced already in his own country. He could not manage to find a decent job. Workers’ lives were complicated. He, and other workers, were forced to live in poverty. Leaders were corrupted and selected with the aid of money, so voting didn’t matter. Because of poor justice and a rigged system, he was eventually caught up in an unproven crime., in this pathetic condition, George Engel, Condemned Haymarket Anarchist and Corruption in Late Nineteenth-Century America. Finally, he converted to Socialism where they could create a just world, in which the wealth of people would be divided equally, and have true democracy.
2022-08-11 10:19:38

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