“Work, give us work”

Jacob Coxey and the Industrial Army Movement of 1894

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About the Book

The Depression of the 1890s caused widespread economic suffering throughout the country and triggered a march of unemployed men from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. Known in the press as “Coxey’s Army”—led, ironically, by successful businessman, Jacob Coxey—the marchers demanded that the federal government create jobs for idled workers. But Coxey’s march overshadowed a much larger story.
In late March 1894, other “armies” of the unemployed mobilized in major cities along the Pacific Coast and in mining towns and cities in the Intermountain West to begin their own pilgrimages to the nation’s capital. Confronted with distances farther than those covered by European crusaders to the Holy Land, western marchers had to improvise. When railroads refused them or demanded full fare that they didn’t have, they commandeered trains. Sometimes they built boats to continue their journeys on one of the major rivers. In the fashion of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, they were real-life adventurers. Alarmed by the possibility of 100,000 unemployed workers converging on the nation’s capital, railroad and government officials did everything they could to stop them. This exhaustively researched history tells the story of these dogged marchers who only wanted to work.

About the Author(s)

Steven L. Piott is an emeritus professor of history at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. A former Fulbright Teaching Fellow at Massey University in New Zealand, he is the author of eight books on American History.

Bibliographic Details

Steven L. Piott
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9703-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5483-6
Imprint: McFarland