Ohio History Journal

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The Coxey movement of 1894 was a fantastic expression, at

a critical moment, of the industrial unrest prevalent for a period

centering about that date. It was an Ohio product sprung from

a Western seed. Named for its Ohio patron, Jacob S. Coxey,

its real author and promoter was Carl Browne, a lieutenant of

Denis Kearney, in the days of sand-lot politics. The number of

unemployed men was large and discontent was widespread; so

that, when Coxey and Browne had agreed upon a course of action

in Ohio, it was easy for them to induce men in other parts of the

country to follow their example. The plan of action was a "pe-

tition in boots" to Washington-in other words, the organization

of "armies" of the unemployed which were to march to the capital

and demand from Congress, then in session, legislation which

should directly provide for every man who wanted it work at a

good wage.

The unique project quickly attracted the attention of the

newspapers and it was heralded from one end of the country to

the other. Thus with far less expenditure of effort on the part

of the promoters than would otherwise have been the case, the

formation of the "armies" was begun. In San Francisco, Kelley

operated; in Los Angeles, Frye; in Chicago, Randall; in Butte,

Hogan; in Providence, Fitzgerald, and in Massillon, O., Coxey

and Browne. The common demand of all these "armies," num-

bering about 6,000 men, was for money and work-money, no

matter how cheap, and work, in some cases, at least, no matter

how little.

Coxey styled his Massillon movement a movement in favor

of good roads. The Pacific armies said little about such reform,

demanding instead state aid for irrigating the desert. Frye de-

manded government employment for all unemployed, prohibition

of immigration for ten years and such legislation as would pre-

vent any alien from owning real estate in this country. Aside