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Beyond the Bonus March and GI BillHow Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era$
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Stephen R. Ortiz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762134

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762134.001.0001

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Rethinking the Bonus March

Rethinking the Bonus March

(p.32) 2 Rethinking the Bonus March
Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill

Stephen R. Ortiz

NYU Press

This chapter explores the Bonus March as the starting point of New Deal-era veteran politics. In this vein, the supposedly unprompted Bonus Army that moved on Washington in the summer of 1932 actually responded to organized political activism orchestrated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VWF) between 1929 and 1932. The federal policy that outlined the Bonus's deferred features inadvertently led to the rapid political mobilization by veterans. When the largest of the veteran organizations, the American Legion, failed to challenge federal policy, veterans first flowed into the VWF and then onto the streets of the capital. In short, the federal policies aimed at benefiting veterans instead transformed them into activist citizens.

Keywords:   Bonus March, New Deal, veteran politics, Bonus Army, Veterans of Foreign Wars, political mobilization, veteran activists

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