On March 25, 1894, more than 100 men and women in Massillon, Ohio, began what is now regarded as the first protest march to Washington, D.C. The men, mostly unemployed laborers, were led by businessman and aspiring politician Jacob Coxey. They quickly became known as “Coxey’s Army.”
 
The United States was suffering through the worst economic depression it had ever known. The so-called “Panic of 1893,” caused by the over-financing of railroads (a financial “bubble”) led to an unemployment rate of nearly 20%. Coxey’s Army urged the federal government to create public jobs, such as building roads, for the thousands of destitute, unemployed workers.
 
The ranks of Coxey’s Army swelled as it moved east. As many as 6,000 marchers camped out at a farm site near Washington, D.C., waiting to make their appeal to Congress. Coxey and other protest leaders were arrested for walking on the grass near the Capitol building. Lacking leadership, the marchers dissipated without forcing any action from the government. 
appeal
Noun

request for assistance, support, or aid.

aspire
Verb

to hope for something.

bubble
Noun

period of financial speculation in which the price of a commodity is inflated far beyond its real value. Bubbles "burst" when investors become aware of the over-financing and the price drops.

Capitol
Noun

official building used by the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

depression
Noun

period of economic hardship, when employment and wages are low, and the value of businesses declines.

destitute
Adjective

very poor.

dissipate
Verb

to scatter and disappear.

economic
Adjective

having to do with money.

federal
Adjective

having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

politician
Noun

person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

public
Adjective

available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.

regard
Verb

to consider or pay attention to.

suffer
Verb

to endure pain or loss.

unemployment
Noun

state of not having a job.

More Dates in History

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