Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Five Memorable Washington Political Protests

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Five Memorable Washington Political Protests

Article excerpt

Bringing your grievances to Washington in the form of a mass protest is an American tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. Here are five memorable Washington protests.

Bringing your grievances to Washington in the form of a mass protest is an American tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. Here are five memorable Washington protests.

#5 Coxey's Army

In 1894, American workers were reeling from the worst economic depression in US history to date. In what was probably the first large political demonstration in Washington, a group of jobless men called the Commonweal in Christ marched from Massillion, Ohio, to Washington, DC. Led by Socialist politician Jacob Coxey, the 500 or so men demanded that the government hire them to work on public projects. Coxey's Army was greeted by the US Army, and Coxey was arrested for walking on the grass of the United States Capitol.

Some scholars have argued that L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," is an allegory of Coxey's march .

#4 The Bonus Expeditionary Force

In 1924, Congress voted to provide a bonus to veterans of World War I: a dollar for each day served stateside and $1.25 for each day served overseas. The catch: Payments would not be made until 1945.

By 1932, many veterans of the Great War were jobless and destitute. That year, some 15,000 veterans, along with their wives and children, camped out across the river from the Capitol, saying that they would not budge until they received early payment of their bonuses. Congress declined, and, after two veterans were shot dead by police, President Hoover ordered the US Army to disperse the camp. Led by Major George Patton, they did, with bayonets and poison gas, killing two babies.

#3 The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Initiated by A. …

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