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Marching on WashingtonThe Forging of an American Political Tradition$
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Lucy Barber

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242159

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242159.001.0001

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“A New Type of Lobbying”

“A New Type of Lobbying”

The Veterans’ Bonus March of 1932

Chapter:
(p.75) CHAPTER THREE “A New Type of Lobbying”
Source:
Marching on Washington
Author(s):

Lucy G. Barber

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520242159.003.0004

Wilma Waters, an eighty-six-year-old widow, told her story of the Bonus March of 1932 to a reporter from the Wenatchee World, a newspaper in central Washington State. Waters' group encouraged thousands of others to join them in Washington, where they became known as the Bonus marchers. They waited as Congress debated, voted, and ultimately rejected their demands. One of the most remarkable things about this demonstration was its duration. Since they were unemployed, some of the veterans were able and willing to stay in Washington for months if necessary to win their demands. The length of their stay stressed the group's organizational capacities but also put unprecedented pressures on the authorities. The long duration of the protest also meant that protesters and observers had more time to experiment with this political tactic. The result was constant negotiation and discussion by marchers and observers alike about the significance of such protests for American political culture.

Keywords:   Wilma Waters, Bonus marchers, Wenatchee World, veterans, duration

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