1932 May 29

Bonus Army Arrives in Washington, D.C. – Freedom of Assembly Confrontation Ahead


The Bonus Army was a march on Washington on this day by an estimated 43,000 World War I veterans, their families, and supporters to demand early payment of their World War I veterans bonuses (which by law were already scheduled to be paid in the future). About 17,000 members of the Bonus Army were actual veterans. The Bonus Army camped out in the southeast part of Washington, D.C. for several weeks.

After some incidents of violence occurred, President Herbert Hoover ordered the U.S., under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, to evict people from their camp. The forcible eviction of the Bonus Army on July 28, 1932, was one of the greatest violations of freedom of assembly ever by the U.S. government. The episode immediately tarred President Hoover with the image of being heartless and uncaring about people suffering during the Great Depression.

Read: Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen, The Bonus Army: An American Epic (2004)

Watch a documentary on the Bonus Army: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSC1lbfXfRQ

Read the FBI file on the Bonus March: http://vault.fbi.gov/Bonus%20March

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