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Who was Jacob Coxey, and what did he do?

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Quick Answer

Jacob Coxey was a farmer, Civil War veteran and sandstone quarry owner in Ohio. He is notable for having formed and organized what is known as Coxey's Army, as well as for his staunch democratic views.

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Full Answer

Coxey's Army is the name given to the 500 hundred men and women that marched in protest with him from Ohio to Washington D.C. The nation had fallen on hard times, and as a result Coxey was forced to lay off 40 men from his Ohio quarry. Disillusioned, and feeling that the government should be held responsible for hardships faced by the unemployed and aid in creating more jobs, Coxey set out to deliver his message to Congress in person.

The protest march began on Easter Sunday of 1894 with 100 men gathered in Massillon, Ohio. Coxey's hope was to acquire protesters on his route and hopefully arrive in the nation's capital with upward of 100,000 men. While he was met with willing participants along the way, he was only able to amass 500 by the time he reached Washington. Upon his arrival, however, he was arrested for trespassing on the Capitol lawn. He was able to deliver his reformation message but it fell on deaf ears. It wasn't until 1935 that Roosevelt implemented programs of the sort Coxey desired.

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