Coxey Lays Depression to ‘Dumbness’ of Congress

U.S. Congress in 1931. Photo from Library of Congress

General Jacob S. Coxey, organizer of the first army of the unemployed, blamed the business depression on Congress as he visited Pittsburgh today.

“It isn’t because the members of Congress are crooked,” he said. “It’s because they’re dumb. They don’t know what it’s all about.”

Coxey explained that he was en route to Washington for another attempt to get his bill for the alleviation of unemployment and business inertia before Congress.

Read the Pittsburg Press article…
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The protest that made Occupy DC possible

Jacob Coxey traveling through Montgomery County, Maryland. Courtesy of Maryland State Archives.

Chaltain ties the Occupy DC protest of 2011 to the Coxey’s Army march of 1894.  Notable is the mention of the Capital Grounds Act, a measure used to silence political speech in Washington D.C.

At the time of the parade, the United States was in the second year of a major economic depression and millions of Americans were unemployed; Coxey believed he had the answer to the nation’s economic woes. He proposed that the federal government issue $500 million in treasury bonds, that it apply those funds to initiate a massive program to build up the nation’s roads, and that it hire an army of workers, all of who would be guaranteed eight-hour days and daily wages of $1.50.

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