The Start of the March to Washington D.C. by Jacob Coxey’s Army of Unemployed Workers – 25 March 1894 – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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The Start of the March to Washington D.C. by Jacob Coxey’s Army of Unemployed Workers – 25 March 1894

On 25 March 1894, the army of 100 unemployed workers led by the businessman, Jacob Coxey, set off for Washington D.C. from Massillon, Ohio.

The march took place during the worst economic depression that the United States had experienced to that time, and the aim of the march was to persuade the goverment to ease the mass unemployment by creating public work projects.

The march started in Ohio with 100 workers, but other branches soon started in other US states. As with the Jarrow Marchers in England, the members of Coxey’s Army received support along the route.

Since Coxey’s Army contained many unemployed railroad workers, the railway companies were very wary of the march and took action to guard railroad property.

Aside from its obvious political meaning, it’s believed that Coxey’s Army was a literary muse for L. Frank Baum (who saw the march), who wrote ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – you can read about the political allegory interpretation of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ on the Wiki page for Coxey’s Army.

So to mark the day when the march started (there was a second march in 1914), here are two newspaper reports from 1894 about the famous pilgrimage to Washington by Coxey’s Army.

newspaper report about coxeys army

Worcester Journal – Saturday 28 April 1894

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000150/18940428/012/0002

newspaper report about coxeys army

Birmingham Daily Post – Monday 23 April 1894

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000033/18940423/039/0008

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