Hooverville On Anacostia Flats

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During World War I, soldiers were promised a ‘bonus payment’ to make up for wages lost while serving in the military- one dollar for each day served on U.S. soil and one dollar and twenty-five cents for every day served overseas. However, the Bonus would not be paid until 1945. Veterans initially agreed, based on the healthy state of the economy (Keaney 1). The Great Depression came and made thousands of veterans unemployed, like most Americans at the time. The veterans felt that their bonus should be paid early so that they could provide food and shelter for themselves and their families (Rank and File Committee 1). Thousands of veterans joined together and built a ‘Hooverville’ on Anacostia Flats. President Hoover did not approve of an early…show more content…
The public showed their disdain for Hoover by voting for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat and former governor of New York. In 1932, Roosevelt won with fifty-seven point four percent of the popular vote and an eighty-eight point nine percent electoral vote with hour hundred seventy two votes, against Hoover’s thirty-nine point six percent of the popular vote and sixteen point four percent of the electoral vote with fifty-nine votes. The election of 1932 was a noticeable disparity from the election of 1928, where Hoover won fifty-eight point two percent of the popular vote and eighty three point six percent of the electoral vote with four hundred forty-four votes. While the removal of the Bonus Army was not the sole reason for the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the action heightened opposition to Hoover and ultimately cost him the election. While public opinion of Hoover was not favorable due to the public seeing him as a ‘Do Nothing President’ during the crisis of the Great Depression, the involuntary removal of the Bonus Army turned increased antagonistic sentiment towards Hoover because American felt that the protestors were heroes, “A large number of Americans…show more content…
Hoover had veteran support before the removal of the protestors, after the protest, “Hoover also lost support of the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] and the American Legion, both of which condemned Hoover’s actions in local newspapers throughout the country” (Keaney 2). William R. Rice, the commander of an American Legion post, sarcastically complimented Hoover on revealing his, “sadistic principles of government,” to the nation (Lisio 39). Additionally, the Veterans Central Rank and File Committee, ridiculed the unjust treatment of the protestors, stating, “We got bullets in 1917. Many of us [veterans] were maimed and crippled for life. In 1932 we get the bullets and gas of the police, as we did in Washington, and the troops, which Hoover called put against us. Because we were demanding the Bonus so that we and our families could have something to eat, the President of the United States orders the army to gas and bayonet us, to burn our meagre belongings and to drive our wives and children into the dark of the night,” (Veteran’s 3). Even soldiers who had to dissolve the protest were discontent with evacuation of protestors. George S. Patton, a senior Army officer, reflected on the elimination of the Bonus Army, calling it, “a messy affair for everyone,” and, “[a] most distasteful form of service,”
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