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March on Washington falters in desert

March
22
1894

On this day in 1894, a contingent of "Coxey's Army" arrived in El Paso. In the wake of the 1893 panic Jacob Sechler Coxey of Massillon, Ohio, a businessman and reformer, led an army of jobless men to Washington to induce Congress to provide assistance. A group from Los Angeles arrived in El Paso on the evening of March 22, and, after marching on the city hall, were given food and allowed to camp for the night. Hoping for transportation from the railroad, they camped alongside the tracks for two days. They boarded a Southern Pacific train that uncoupled their car 70 miles east of El Paso, leaving them stranded in a barren region without food or water. After an order from Governor James S. Hogg, and negotiations with the railroads and the citizens of El Paso, the "army" was finally transported to Washington, arriving weeks after Coxey had been arrested.

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