The largest conspiracy on American soil to commit political assassinations took place in April 1919. Followers of Luigi Galleani, an anarchist extremist, mailed thirty-six packages of dynamite to intended targets around the country. The goal was for the packages to be delivered on May Day, May 1, 1919.
The first bomb was mailed to Thomas W. Hardwick, a United States senator from Georgia who had voted in favor of the Anarchist Exclusion Act, an act that would work to deport foreign radicals. When the package arrived, Hardwick was not injured. However, Hardwick’s housekeeper became the unintended target and as a result, she lost her hands during the explosion.
Miraculously, no bomb arrived at the intended targets. A post office employee discovered sixteen of the packages. The packages were placed on a shelf and never mailed because the bomber did not provide enough stamps to mail the packages. The other bombs never reached the targets because of misprinted addresses on the packages. Targets were located in Washington, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.
The list of bomb targets did include notable political figures in the fight against communism during the early 1900s. The top three figures were Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and leading bankers John D. Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan. Ultimately, the bombings led to the push in American government against communism during the 1920s known as the Red Scare.
Written by Zach Abbott