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Tue May 1, 2012, 06:35 AM

Yesterday in history - April 30 - Coxey's Army~~~ and the politics of "The Wizard of Oz"

April 30

1894 Coxey's Army reaches Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.


Coxey's Army was a protest march by unemployed workers from the United States, led by Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey. They marched on Washington D.C. in 1894, the second year of a four-year economic depression that was the worst in United States history to that time. Officially named the Army of the Commonweal in Christ, its nickname came from its leader and was more enduring. It was the first significant popular protest march on Washington and the expression "Enough food to feed Coxey's Army" originates from this march.

Coxey's Army in culture

Among the people observing the march was L. Frank Baum, before he gained fame. There are political interpretations of his book, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which have often been related to Coxey's Army. In the novel, Dorothy, the Scarecrow (the American farmer), Tin Woodman (the industrial worker), and Cowardly Lion (William Jennings Bryan), march on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, the Capital (or Washington, D.C.), demanding relief from the Wizard, who is interpreted to be the President. Dorothy's shoes (made of silver in the book, not the familiar ruby that is depicted in the movie) are interpreted to symbolize using free silver instead of the gold standard (the road of yellow brick) because the shortage of gold precipitated the Panic of 1893. In the film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, the silver shoes were turned into ruby for the cinematic effect of color, as Technicolor was still in its early years when the movie was produced. However, this theory was only advanced many decades after the book was written.[9]


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Reply Yesterday in history - April 30 - Coxey's Army~~~ and the politics of "The Wizard of Oz" (Original post)
underpants May 2012 OP
PADemD May 2012 #1
underpants May 2012 #2

Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 07:48 AM

1. Never heard of Coxey's Army

It was never covered in our high school history textbooks.

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Response to PADemD (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:35 PM

2. I had never heard of it either

a co-worker and I do "Today in history" emails most every day.

Interesting story and the link to The Wizard is also interesting at least to me.

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