DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, September 19, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Bonus Marchers

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback. This post 1st appeared on Sept. 10, 2011.

Bonus marchers tussle with police
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
In 1932, as the nation lingered in the desperate depths of the Great Depression, thousands of World War I veterans and their families marched on Washington to demand immediate lump-sum payment of their military pensions. To the consternation of President Herbert Hoover, who was about to embark upon a difficult reelection campaign, the ragtag army camped in tents and shacks along the Anacostia River, and began trying to pressure the White House and Congress by marching up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately, the bill to pay them their benefits passed the House but was overwhelmingly defeated in the Senate in June.


What some called the Battle of Washington made a powerful impression upon soon-to-be First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband would unseat Hoover in the fall of 1932. According to biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook,  Mrs. Roosevelt wrote that the incident "shows what fear can make people do," and she was determined to do whatever she could to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. 
It wouldn't be long before she got her opportunity.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Boundary Stones, click here.

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