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Talk: A Petition in Boots: The Legacy of Jacob Coxey's 1894 March on Washington

  • Event Date: Thursday, July 8, 2021
  • Time: 4:00 pm (CDT)
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • Cost: Free

In the spring of 1894 masses of unemployed men and women marched toward Washington D.C. under the Commonweal banner in the name of federal aid to the unemployed. “Industrial Armies” formed in most major cities and took off on stolen trains, crude rafts, and most often on foot, towards the capital. Organized by the Ohio businessman, Jacob Coxey, the Commonweal was the first mass march on Washington D.C. Deemed a “petition in boots,” by contemporary observers, and a “deluded band” by others, the Commonweal was a pivotal moment for American democracy. Although the march failed, Coxey’s effort captivated the nation and foreshadowed later protests and marches in the nation’s capital.

By curator Professor Nathan Tye

Webinar Details

Join via Zoom
  • The Zoom ID is: 842 7421 3809
  • The Passcode is: 026892
Image credit: "More money! Less misery! Good Roads!" Coxey's Army approaching Washington. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Please note that this program does NOT take place at the Spurlock Museum.
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For further information on this event, contact Katya Reno at or (217)-244-8483

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.