As much as many citizens and elected officials might have desired otherwise, the issues raised by the Haymarket trial and executions would not go away. Pioneering social reformer Jane Addams (pictured here in 1892) did not move to Chicago and her famous Hull-House settlement on the city's near West Side until September 1889, almost two years after the executions. She recalled the public discussions stirred up by Haymarket and the larger context of social difference, division, inequality, and conflict that framed her early experiences in the city.

Addams described the time as "a period of propaganda" rather than "constructive social effort," and of "marching and carrying banners" and pronouncing principles rather than of meaningful change. She also expressed the hopeful belief, however, that following the executions "the first period of repressive measures had closed," and "the city had reached the conclusion that the only cure for the acts of anarchy was free speech and an open discussion of the ills of which the opponents of government complained."

Addams remembered extraordinary large open meetings—another drama of Haymarket—in the great concert hall of the newly-completed Auditorium Building on Michigan Avenue. These were led by, among others, the banker Lyman Gage, who in the period before the executions had failed to convince his fellow businessmen to unite in support of clemency. Addams marveled that someone like Gage shared the stage with an anarchist associate of the convicted men.

Writing in 1910 in Twenty Years at Hull-House, Addams observed, "One cannot imagine such meetings being held in Chicago today, nor that such a man [i.e., the anarchist] should be encouraged to raise his voice in a public assemblage presided over by a leading banker. It is hard to tell just what change has come over our philosophy or over the minds of those citizens who were then convinced that if these conferences had been established earlier, the Haymarket riot and all its sensational results might have been avoided."