I'm really sick of right-wingers acting like they're the ones who invented toughness. Some of the toughest people on this Earth have seen or have been in a lot of fights with hired toughs -- the kind of people they were up against don't usually have to do their own fighting, they can rent it out. Here's an example of one of the world's toughest dudes ever, who was a progressive, pro-union liberal!
On June 24, 1895, the day Jack Dempsey was born, during Grover Cleveland's second term as president, America was still discovering itself. Colorado, which had become the 38th state in 1876, lurched into an uproar of mining booms and busts, miners' strikes and mine owners' brutal and casual slaughters. Photographs survive of private armies maintained supposedly to keep order, and in practice employed to gun down union men. "Three dollars a day," the mine barons said in effect, "for ten hours or twelve. You'll live in our houses, buy in our stores, and do what you're told. If you don't like it, ten immigrants back East are ready to take your job." Touring one deep gold mine, Ulysses S. Grant said, "This is as close to hell as I ever hope to find myself."
Miners who protested for shorter hours, better pay, and safer conditions underground risked their lives up top. One typical private army, the Silver Queen Guards -- employed by the owners of the Silver Queen mines in Georgetown, thirty miles west of Denver -- was better uniformed than the U.S. infantry, and at least as formidably armed. Massacres of union men bloody the pages of history. Dempsey's later populism and passion for social programs such as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal persisted after he became a multimillionaire. He said he never forgot, nor did he want to forget, the ferocity with which the mining barons treated working men and their wives and children.
-- From A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring '20s, by Roger Kahn -- MJ