Chapter

“Without Precedent”

Lucy G. Barber

in Marching on Washington

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780520242159
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931206 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520242159.003.0002
“Without Precedent”

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The exceptional claim that ordinary Americans had a right to express their demands in the capital was one that activists and politicians would struggle with in the next century. The organizers' efforts would lay the groundwork for a new style of protest, and a new form of national public space that would change the relationship between the American people and their government. Coxey purported the ceremonial spaces of the Capitol Building “the property of people.” Pulling their demands out of a mishmash of other causes, these virtually unknown political activists based the national demonstration on established techniques of local protest. Coxey combined respectability, ambition, and radicalism in his personal and political life. He envisioned a comprehensive national solution to the monetary and employment problems of the United States, and outlined the Good Roads Bill to propose a massive program of road building funded by the federal government.

Keywords: demands; politicians; radicalism; Capitol Building; United States

Chapter.  12409 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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