The Bonus March
In 1924, Congress gave World War I veterans certificates that could be redeemed in 1945 for $1,000. When the depression struck, many veterans lost their jobs and wanted to redeem their certificates early.
To the Capital
Walter Waters led the Bonus March from Oregon to the capital. They hiked, hitched rides, and jumped on trains. In June of 1932, 15,000 men arrived at the capital to voice their opinions. President Hoover refused to listen to their demands; however, the veterans found an audience who would listen. Congress began debating on whether or not they should listen to the veterans' demands.
While they were waiting to hear Congress' decision, the Bonus Army built a shantytown across the Potomac River. On June 17, Senate denied the veterans' requests. Many veterans returned home, but some stayed at the capital because they had nowhere to return to. Some people felt threatened by the veterans who decided to stay at the capital. On July 28, the government decided to clear the capital. Two veterans died from the tear gas and bayonets, and Hoover soon ordered the army to finish clearing the left over Bonus Army from the capital.
Many Americans were very angered by the government's treatment of the veterans in the Bonus Army. Hoover argued that most of the Bonus Army was composed of anarchists, communists, and political agitators. However, 90% of the Bonus Army were veterans, 20% of whom were disabled.
Ushistory.org. "48c. The Bonus March." The Bonus March [ushistory.org]. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013