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The Bonus Army


Speaking of protest marches, NPR has a good little piece on the Bonus Army, which occupied Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1932. These protestors had a very concrete goal–the payment of their promised pensions when they really needed it. Which was right then, the peak of the Depression. Herbert Hoover and Douglas MacArthur destroyed the tent town with a maximum of force, showing how out of touch Hoover was with average Americans (something you’d think Bloomberg would pay attention to here), and helping to lead to Roosevelt’s election that fall. The piece claims that the Bonus Army experience led to the creation of the GI Bill after World War II. I don’t know how true that is, but certainly the article doesn’t provide any real evidence for it. Could be true though. Anyway, the Bonus Army is an interesting historical comparison to Occupy Wall Street with some lessons to learn for both sides.

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