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Word for the Wise September 04, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Coxey's Army

This Labor Day we pay tribute to Jacob Coxey, a businessman who believed in the working man. Coxey was a quarry owner and reformer who led a group known as "Coxey's Army," which inspired the metaphorical Coxey's Army. And what is that? A motley, disorganized group with a single purpose. Here's the story. (来源:英语麦当劳-英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

The American panic of 1893 resulted in high unemployment, hard times for farmers, and an alarming dip in the American economy. Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey believed a federal employment program of road building would jumpstart the economy and help the working classes; after Congress rejected his proposal, he vowed to "send a petition to Washington with boots on."

It took five weeks for Coxey and a group of supporters to make their way from Ohio to the nation's capital, but by May 1, the ragtag army, which had grown to 500, arrived in Washington, D.C. That's when Coxey was arrested for walking on the grass and for carrying a banner. He didn't complete his speech and his army was generally considered to have lost its battle.

But over time, Coxey's concept of creating public work to relieve cyclical unemployment became accepted as worthwhile. And on May 1, 1944, a 90-year old Coxey finally completed his speech on the Capitol steps.

 
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