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John Peter Altgeld Biography »
John Peter Altgeld (December 30, 1847 – March 12, 1902) was the 20th Governor of the U.S. state of Illinois, from 1893 until 1897. He was the first Democratic governor of that state since the 1850s. A leading figure of the Progressive movement, Altgeld improved workplace safety and child labor laws, pardoned three of the men convicted in the Haymarket Affair, and rejected calls in 1894 to break up the Pullman strike with force. In 1896 he was a leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, opposing President Grover Cleveland and the conservative Bourbon Democrats. He was defeated for reelection in 1896 in an intensely fought, bitter campaign.