Floating Ideas: The Great Depression and the Occupy Movement

For my final project I am thinking about comparing and contrasting the Great Depression and the Occupy Movement. I’m fascinated by history and do believe we need to know our history to fix our present. It will be interesting to see how both movements developed/are developing especially since they are both related to the economy and based in the United States.  

 I would focus on comparing and contrasting:

  • Location of movements
  • How mobilization occurred
  • Why mobilization occurred
  • If possible – to see the effect of social media and how it has facilitated mobilization compared to methods of mobilization during the Great Depression
  • Structure of mobilization


I googled “Great Depression Occupy Movement” and the first three articles included relatively short comparisons between the two movements but did not include much information… Google had a lot of articles but for this I would hope to academic journals on the history of the Great Depression and some literature on the Occupy Movement.



  • Focuses more on the movement in 1890s but briefly mentions the Great Depression and The Bonus Army


  • Goes into more details and compares 1932 army raid on The Bonus Army camping outside the White House to the clearing of Zuccotti Park encampment of Occupy Wall Street
  • Clearing of camps has not diminished the influence of either movement  


  • “Back in 1932, as the early stages of the Great Depression gathered steam, industrial production fell dramatically while joblessness soared.   A group of jobless, hungry World War I veterans calling themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force (shortened to the Bonus Army) organized themselves and their families, and developed a demand that the government accelerate a bonus payment they had been promised, but not to be paid until 1945.”
  • My question is how did they organize/mobilize themselves?

 There are a lot of articles online that briefly compare the Great Depression movement to the Occupy Movement but I would want to analyze the method of mobilization in both movements. Occupy has become a global sensation because of the media and I wonder what effects The Bonus Army had globally, if any. 

I think it would be interesting to track the use of media through history and while our use of media has drastically changed, we still use “old school” methods such as the newspaper and flyers to distribute news..

 Besides media resources, I’m curious to learn more about more tangible resources such as tents, medical supplies, etc.. Both movements seem to be similar in the sense that they rely occupying public spaces to get their voices out there. It will be interesting to learn more about the similarities between the two movements. 

I’m assuming a lot of people connect the Great Depression to the Occupy Movement but I’m not sure to what extent they make the comparison.. I’m looking forward to learning more about both movements. 


One thought on “Floating Ideas: The Great Depression and the Occupy Movement

  1. Pingback: People Find Ways And Means And Hope | Living History

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