JACOB COXEY, reformer and activist, was born north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the son of a sawmill engineer. Raised in a Democratic family, he joined the Greenback Party in 1877, which began his activist career for currency reform. In 1881, he moved to Massillon, Ohio, where he invested in various business ventures and entered politics. He ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio Senate on the Greenback ticket in 1885, but he remained undeterred.

During the economic panic that began in 1893, Coxey decided to lead a march of the poor and unemployed on the nation's capital. In language and format familiar to legislators, he framed a set of bills he believed could alleviate the suffering caused by the panic. He wanted the national government to fund a Good ...

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