The Bonus Army
or Bonus March
was a collection of 15,000 World War I
veterans and their families who demonstrated in Washington, DC
seeking immediate payment of a "bonus" that had been promised by the Bonus Law of 1924 for payment in 1945
. The protestors had hoped that they could pressure Congress
to change the law and make immediate payments, which would have provided relief for the marchers, many of whom were unemployed due to the Great Depression
The march was dispersed by federal troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, in a possible violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. President Herbert Hoover's direction to use military force against peaceful demonstrators petitioning their government did not help in his re-election efforts.