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First March on Washington

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The First March on Washington
In March 1894, thousands of the unemployed Americans workers organized a march on the Capital to lobby for the government to create jobs with public works projects. A man named Jacob Coxey led the March on Washington. Coxey was a populist leader who had run for Congress in 1885 as a member of the Greenback Party.
The March began with 100 men in Massillon, Ohio. It went through Pittsburgh on its way to Washington. Another group came from Maryland. Together, the two groups consisted of 6000 men. They reached Washington on April 30.
The day after the March, Coxey and other leaders were arrested for walking on the Capital Grounds. Coxey was relentless though and led a similar March on Washington in 1914.
While Coxey’s March on Washington did not change much in terms in politics, it did influence much in popular culture. In the crowd observing Coxey’s Army March on Washington was L. Frank Baum, who would later gain fame for his book, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book, when looked at with the First March on Washington as a historical background, contains many political interpretations.
In the book, there is the scarecrow, who represents the American Farmer. There is the tin man, who represents the American Industrial Worker. And there is the cowardly lion, who represents a cowardly politician, most likely William Jennings Byran.. All are on their way to the see the Wizard of Oz, who in the book is described to resemble William McKinley. They are on their way to the city of Oz, which represents Washington D.C.
In the book, Dorothy’s magic shoes are not red, but silver. The silver represents the populist desire to see the United States move to a silver rather than a gold standard. To make the shoes more pleasing in the movie, the color was changed to red.

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