Coxey’s Army 1893

Populist leader Jacob Sechler Coxey proposed increasing the amount of U.S. currency in circulation and issuing bonds for public improvements such as roads. Coxey led a march of the unemployed on Washington, DC, to lobby for his proposals, which were seen as a way to provide work for those who were jobless because of the Depression of 1893.

While “Coxey’s Army” numbered only about 500 when it reached Washington, DC, and he and other march leaders were arrested, similar “armies” marched in other cities. His proposals were not adopted, but they exposed the problem of unemployment and encouraged the unemployed to organize. Coxey’s march was the first significant popular protest march on Washington.