William Dudley Big Bill Haywood: The Successful Essay

This essay has a total of 1237 words and 5 pages.

William Dudley "Big Bill" Haywood: The Successful Progressive


Around the beginning of the 20th century, there were many men and woman who had earned
themselves the title of Progressives. These people fought for simple rights and freedoms
in the workplace, in society, and in the home. Progressives were positive for the growth
in society because of the changes they influenced. There were many Progressives who were
successful in their protests for woman’s rights, workers rights, and business rights, but,
unfortunately, not all Progressives were successful in changing the ills of society that
they fought so strongly against. Due to the great amount of people that had joined the
progressive movement, there was a need for leaders; a need for leaders that would not only
rally the people together, but leaders who would be able to change things on their own.
William Dudley “Big Bill” Haywood was the type of leader the people needed, and he is
definitely one of the Progressives that can be said to have been successful.


Although people are usually distinguished as being successful by the accomplishments in
their lifetime, their success lies, in reality, with their personality and how they handle
a situation. If “Big Bill” Haywood had not grown up to develop the type of personality he
has become so famous for, he would not be known as one of the successful Progressives of
his time.


“Big Bill” Haywood had the type of personality that caused him to never stand down when he
was challenged for something he believed that would be worth fighting for, which was
almost anything. He had even taken a number a beatings in his lifetime, which proves this
fact. For example, in April of 1904 in Denver’s Union Station, “Big Bill” Haywood was
attempting to make contact with Charles Moyer, who had been seized by the military. After
being told that he could not speak to Mr. Moyer at that time, he punched one of the guards
in the face. Moments later “…Walter Kinley, one of the husky gunmen hired by the mine
owners, knocked him partly down a flight of stairs leading to the basement, while others
struck him repeatedly in the face with the barrels of their revolvers.” (Lukas, 202) His
strong will for fighting for what he believed had already proved him to be a success among
the common men, but it had proved to be an even greater asset during other events in his
life. Not only did his strong will cause him to be successful, but his desensitization
towards violence had also allowed him to push his success to further limits.


Not only did “Big Bill” Haywood stand up for his beliefs, but he did so with violence.
Violence had been in his life since childhood and dealing with situations using force had
almost become second nature. One of his first encounters with violence was when he “…saw
Manny Mills and Slippery Dick exchange gunfire and Manny drop dead in ankle-deep mud.”
(Lukas, 205) Haywood stated in his later years that “[He] accepted it all as a natural
part of life.” This attitude towards violence allowed Haywood to, for example, aid in the
Cripple Creek strike in which a train platform was blown up and 13 strikebreakers were
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