Coxey's Army Marches For The Unemployed
American politician Jacob Coxey leads a group of men on a march from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., in protest of unemployment, 1894.Stock Montage—Getty Images
Coxey's Army Marches For The Unemployed
One of the largest armies of unemployed men parade in Washington on bike, wagons and on foot, on the first Labor Day observance, Sept. 3, 1894. Shown are Jacob S. Coxey's "Army of the Commonweal of Christ," with Coxey in the buggy at right, wearing light suit.
Inez Milholland Boissevain, wearing white cape, seated on white horse at the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade, March 3, 1913, Washington, D.C.
Suffrage parade, March. 3, 1913.
Woman Suffrage Parade held in Washington, D.C., March 3, 1913.
The "Pay The Bonus" sign carried by a group of world war veterans was typical of the banners with which the former soldiers who marched to Washington to press their demands for payments of the soldiers' bonus emphasized their point in the great parade they formed down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the capitol on the evening of June 7, 1932.
Members of the Bonus Expeditionary Forces, many carrying American flags, marching across the east plaza of the U.S. Capitol. April 8, 1932.
Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.
Scene from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.
Nixon Inauguration Protests 1969.
Police stand in front of group of antiwar demonstrators lined along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1973, before the inauguration pf President Richard M. Nixon.
participants in the Million Man March gather on the Washington Monument grounds Monday Oct. 16, 1995. Tens of thousands of black men from across America gathered at the base of the Capitol, and the Mall, in a rally of unity, self-affirmation and protest.
West Coast members of the Nation of Islam gather on the Mall in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 1995, prior to the start of the Million Man March. Tens of thousands of black men from across America were to gather at the base of the Capitol in a rally of unity, self-affirmation and protest.
Demonstrators make their feelings known as they crowd along the George W. Bush inauguration parade route 20 January, 2001 in Washington, DC.
During inaugural ceremonies on Capitol H
American politician Jacob Coxey leads a group of men on a march from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., in protest of
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See the Evolution of Protests in Washington

In 1894, they came to Washington to demand a solution to unemployment. Led by Jacob Coxey, they contributed a not-so-flattering term to the American lexicon—a "Coxey's Army" is a ragtag group—and many were arrested. But, though their immediate goals were not achieved, they accomplished something more important: starting an American tradition of bringing protest to Washington, D.C., using the people's presence to send a message to those in power.

And, like Coxey's Army, marchers who have been disappointed in the short term have often wielded great influence in the long term.

In 1913, they were suffrage supporters, putting together a march that played an important role in getting American women the vote. In 1932, they were the "Bonus Expeditionary Force," a group of World War I veterans who, suffering during the Great Depression, sought an early payout on the service bonuses they were due. The way President Herbert Hoover dealt with them—or, rather, failed to do so—helped get FDR elected. The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, defined the civil-rights era. The Million Man March in 1995 put a new spin on the idea of the Washington demonstration. And, whether a half-century ago or only a decade, protests at inaugurations of Presidents like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have provided a model for angry voters to make their voices heard.

As the American capital once again braces for a wave of protest, with hundreds of thousands expected to march on Saturday in protest of Donald Trump's inauguration, here's a look back at how the tradition has evolved over the course of more than 120 years.

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