Chapter 8: The Progressive
Section 1: The Drive for Reform
• Progressivism –
Political belief that
new ideas and
bring about social
I. Origins of Progressivism
• Who were the
People from all
walks of life; growing
All social classes,
ethnic groups, and
A. Progressives Share Common Beliefs
1. Industrialization and urbanization had created troubling
social and political problems.
2. Wanted government to step in and pass laws to solve
3. Social justice was of great concern.
4. Get rid of corrupt government and corrupt officials.
5. Focus was on increased education and the use of
modern ideas to solve problems.
B. Progressives Target a Variety of
1. What to do first?
a. Political corruption
i. Political machines
ii. Wanted safe water, paved streets, decent
housing, and a safe life.
b. Women wanted suffrage
c. Argued that the rights of women voting should be at
the top of the list.
c. Honest government
i. Did not want officials to control city services
d. Big Business
i. “bust the trusts”
ii. create more opportunities for small
e. reduce the gap between the “have and have nots”
better working conditions, pay, and living conditions.
II. Muckrakers Reveal the Need for
• Muckrakers – Journalists who wrote
sensationalistic investigative news stories
about the ills of society.
• People across the nation were appalled at
the conditions that their fellow Americans
were living and working in.
A. Journalists Uncover Injustices
1. Lincoln Steffens – Writer for
a. wrote a collection of stories
government allowing utility
companies charge their
customers excessively high
b. exposed politicians who bribed
and threatened voters.
2. Jacob Riis – Photographer for
the New York Evening Sun.
* Took photographs of city life in New
a. “How the other half lives” was a
photographic expose’ of how
many people in America live their
• 3. Ida Tarbell –
who exposed the
ruthless tactics of the
B. Novelists Defend the
1. The naturalist novel – fiction writing that honestly
portrayed the misery and struggles of the common
people in America.
2. Upton Sinclair – “The Jungle” which exposed the
horrors of the US meat packing industry. Pg 220
Upton Sinclair – “The Jungle” (2:56)
III. Progressives Reform Society
A. The Social Gospel Guides Reform Efforts
1. Many thought Christianity should be the basis for social
2. Social Gospel – By following the teachings of the bible
people could make society the “kingdom of heaven”.
B. Settlement House Workers Aid
the Urban Poor
1. Settlement House – A
community center that
provided services to the
a. Childcare classes
b. English education
c. Ran nursery schools
2. Jane Addams – Became a
leading figure in the
a. Opened Hull House in
Chicago that was so
successful that she
opened up 13 other
C. Protecting Children and
1. Florence Kelley – Illinois lawyer who convinced Illinois
to ban child labor.
a. National Child Labor Committee – petitioned the
federal government to intercede on the issue of
b. U.S. Children’s Bureau – 1912 – Still exists today to
protect American children.
2. Keating-Owens Act – Made child labor illegal, was
ruled unconstitutional 2 yrs later.
3. Progressives also worked to improve education, but
there was much debate over what should be taught and
D. Progressives Help Industrial
1. 1900 U.S. had the highest rate of work related
accidents in the world.
2. 30k per year died on the job.
3. Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 – 146 workers died in
the fire, in part, due to the doors being locked shut so
workers could not leave early.
a. Many states passed laws making workplaces safer.
b. Many states set up funds for workers who were
injured on the job.
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (4:48)
IV. Reforming Government
A. Reforms Improve City Government
1. 1900 a hurricane destroyed Galveston, Tx.
a. Corruption and incompetent city officials led to the
city struggling to rebuild
b. Fired the mayor and city aldermen and replaced
them with a 5 man city commission.
c. By 1918 nearly 500 cities had adopted the
B. Progressives Reform Election
1. Robert LaFollete – “Fighting Bob” was the governor of
a. Created a direct primary where voters chose who
would run for office.
2. Initiative – Gave people the power to directly place an
issue on the ballot.
3. Referndum – Allowed citizens to approve or reject a
piece of legislation passed by government.
4. Recall – Allowed citizens to remove elected officials
from office if they did not do as promised or do enough.
5. 17th Amendment – Direct election of Senators.
C. Progressive Governors Take
1. Fighting Bob LaFollete - Wisconsin
a. Passed many reform laws
b. Forced RR to pay higher taxes and reduce rates.
c. Improved education & made factories safer
2. Hiram Johnson – California
a. Shattered the control that the Southern Pacific RR
had over state government.
3. Theodore Roosevelt (NY) and Woodrow Wilson (NJ)
were also prominent reform minded Governors of the
Section 2: Women Make
• Progressive Women Expand Reforms
• Women wanted to do more with their
lives than be mothers and homemakers
• Education often allowed women to
expand their role in their community.
A. Working Women Face
1. Difficult jobs, long hours, dangerous conditions
with less $$
2. Handed their wages over to their husbands,
fathers, or brothers
3. Were often cheated by their employers
B. Reformers Champion Working
1. Mueller V Oregon – backed up an Oregon law
limiting the # of hours per day women could be
required to work.
2. Florence Kelley – Said women were being
cheated by high prices of consumer goods
a. National Consumer League – Gave special labels
to goods produced under safe, fair, and healthy
b. Urged women to avoid products not carrying their
c. Women’s Trade Union League – Tried to improve
working conditions for women.
C. Women Work for Changes in
1. One main priority for
Progressives was to
change the lives of
(whether they wanted
to or not)
Promoted the practice
of never drinking
a. Their work on
this issue led to
the passage of
1. Margaret Sanger – Opened the nations 1st birth
control center because she believed that families
would be better off with less children.
a. Federal law prohibited any form of birth control
meds, and the discussion of the names of STD’s.
b. She did time in Queen Anne’s Prison before
winning on appeal…thus changing the laws
II. Women Fight for the Right to
A. Catt Takes Charge of the Movement
1. Carrie Chapman Catt – Re-energized the
American women’s suffrage movement.
a. National American Women’s Suffrage
Association – Women’s group dedicated to
gaining women’s suffrage.
b. Recruited wealthy, prominent socialites to her
cause, spoke before state legislatures, and
pressured Congress to pass an Amendment
granting women’s suffrage.
2. Believe it or not there
were actually women
b. Believed that
was taking care
of her family
B. Activists Carry on the Struggle
1. Alice Paul - Very well educated Quaker who
actively recruited very important people in the
a. National Women’s Party – Organized the 1st
women’s protest march at the White House.
b. Hundreds arrested & thousands on hunger strikes
and other sorts of radical tactics.
C. The 19th Amendment becomes
1. Carrie Catt and Florence Kelley led suffrage
groups in support of the U.S. war effort in WWI.
2. Their actions convinced Congress to look at
3. 19th Amendment – The right to vote shall not be
abridged on account of sex. (Women get to
4. November 2, 1920 – Women in the U.S. voted
for the 1st time.
Section 3: The Struggle Against
I. Progressivism Presents Contradictions
• Most Progressives were White Anglo
Saxon Protestants and only really cared
about fixing society for white non-
A. Social Reform or Social Control
1. Americanization – The philosophy of helping
immigrants become more American.
a. Wanted them to forgo their culture and ethnicity to
become more American.
b. The thought was they would become more loyal
c. The alcohol use of immigrants was of great concern
to many. Became a part of the prejudice against
B. Racism Limits the Goals of
1. Many believed that certain races were more fit to
lead than others.
2. Popular “scientific” theories suggested that dark
skinned people were naturally less intelligent than
3. These beliefs became part of the way that people
justified their treatment of African-Americans,
Mexicans, and Native Americans throughout our
4. By 1910, segregation became the norm that was
supported by the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy
II. African Americans Demand
• W.E.B DuBois and Booker T.
Americans who spoke out
against segregation and
worked to change the future
for other African-Americans.
A. African Americans Form the
1. DuBois and William
Trotter met with other
leaders at Niagara
Falls (Canadian side)
2. Called the Niagara
Denounced the idea
of gradual progress.
a. Not willing to compromise the rights of African-
b. Argued that the current educational system only
c. Believed African American men should be taught
history, literature, and philosophy so they could
think for themselves.
d. Movement never amounted to anything significant
due to the size of their membership.
B. Riots lead to the Formation of
1. Riot in Springfield, Ill. after a failed attempt to
lynch 2 African-American prisoners in the city jail.
2. Rioters turned on black residents of the city,
killing 2 and burning 40 homes.
3. Members of the Niagara Movement formed the
4. NAACP – National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People.
a. Aimed to help African Americans be “physically free
from peonage, mentally free from ignorance,
politically free from disfranchisement, and socially
free from insult.”
5. The group, made up of both blacks and whites,
sought to use the courts to challenge unfair laws.
C. African Americans for the Urban
1. Urban League –
Groups in cities that
banned together to
fight for the rights of
a. Helped families
buy clothes and
books and send
III. Reducing Prejudice and
A. The Anti-
1. The goal was, and still
is, to defend Jews
and others against
physical and verbal
statements, and “to
secure justice and fair
treatment to all
B. Mexican Americans Organize
1. Partido Liberal
Mexicano – Similar in
function to the Urban
2. Mutualista – Groups who
made loans and provided
legal assistance to Mexicans
Section 4: Roosevelt’s Square
I. Rough-Riding President
A. Roosevelt’s Rise
1. Feeble, sick, & weak as a youngster he drove himself
to accomplish physical feats.
2. Boxed, wrestled, horseback riding, while at Harvard
3. Joined the Army and became cavalry brigade
• Roosevelt was chosen as McKinley’s
running mate literally to get him out of the
hair of Republican leaders
• Won fame for his role in the battle of San
Juan Hill in Spanish American War.
Became President when McKinley was
B. The Modern Presidency
1. At age 42, he became the youngest President ever.
2. Bold and brash…his policies were always right. Boxed
pros, rode horseback 100 mile, hunted wild game,
“Teddy Bear” named after him. He was bigger than life.
3. Believed the government was there to serve & provide
for the people.
4. Square Deal- The various Progressive reforms that
Roosevelt sponsored. Supported his idea of
II. Using Federal Power
A. 1902 Coal Strike
1. 140,000 coal miners in Pa. went on strike wanting 20%
pay raise, 9 hour work day and organized labor
2. As winter approached Roosevelt called both sides to
the White House to discuss the situation. “Only the
dignity of the Presidency” kept him from taking the
owner “by the seat of the breeches and tossing him out
B. Federal Arbitration- Roosevelt threatened to take
over the mines
1. Federal arbitration committee – works with both sides to
work out their differences.
2. Compromise was reached – 10% pay raise, 9 hour
day, no strikes for 3 years.
• This set a precedent for government
intervention in labor/owner conflict.
1. Roosevelt vowed to rid the U.S. of all “bad trusts” that
sought to get rich while harming the public.
a. Trusts controlled 80% of U.S. industry
2. Believed that all trusts were not bad
3. Roosevelt’s administration attacked and defeated 44
trusts using the Sherman anti-trust act. (oil, tobacco,
RR & beef among them)
a. Northern Securities Company – Had a complete
monopoly over RR in NW U.S.
D. Railroad Regulation
1. Interstate Commerce Act – Prohibited “pools” in which
RR owners divided business in a given territory and
shared the profits.
2. Elkins Act – Made it illegal for RR to give and shippers
to receive rebates or discounts. RR could not change
rates without notifying the public.
3. Hepburn Act – Severely limited the distribution of free
RR passes…a common form of bribery.
III. Protecting Citizens and the
A. Protecting Health
1. Upton Sinclair – “Muckracker” Journalist who exposed
the meatpacking industry for it’s filth, unsafe, and
2. “The Jungle” (1906) – Sinclair’s book that graphically
outline the safe and unsanitary conditions inside the
U.S.’s meat packing industry.
• “The Jungle” was a best seller and
people were disgusted with it’s findings.
• “Potted Ham” – Hash with disgusting
ingredients such as rope, pigskin etc..
3. Meat Inspection Act – Dictated strict cleanliness
requirements for meatpackers and created a system of
4. Created the inspection system we had until the 1990’s
5. Increased government regulation that cost taxpayer
B. Pure Food and Drug Act
1. Pure Food and Drug Act – Halted the sale of
contaminated food and medicines. It called for “truth in
2. The government reported that harmful additives and
preservatives were being added to food and drugs to
make them last longer.
3. All foods/drugs had to have labels that told what
exactly was in the food/medicine.
4. Did not outlaw the harmful things being put in, but made
sure the public had knowledge of what they were
C. Conservation and Natural Resources-
Roosevelt the outdoorsman steps up.
1. Roosevelt deemed water and forest problems a vital
concern for Americans.
2. Roosevelt set aside well over 230 million acres for
national forests, water power, and resource research.
3. Actually banned all Christmas trees in the White House
until 1902. Camped in Yosemite National Park in 1903.
D. Gifford Pinochet- Professional conservationist that
became head of the U.S. Forest Service
1. Worked on plans to conserve the wild lands and natural
resources of the U.S.
2. Conservation- some areas would be preserved while
others would be developed for commercial purposes.
3. Money gathered from commercial sales/profits would be
used to fund large scale irrigation projects.
• What is the difference between Conservation and
IV. Roosevelt and Civil Rights
• Was not a supporter of the civil rights
movement, but did support a few individual
African Americans. Why ? Fear?
• Had Booker T. Washington to dinner at the
White House and supported his Tuskegee
Institute. Why Him? He supported
segregation by not bitterly fighting it.
• Appointed an African American as head of
Charleston, SC customhouse
V. Roosevelt and Taft Differ
• Roosevelt left office
after 1 term..to hunt
big game in Africa
among other things.
• Thought he left things
in reliable hands –
William H. Taft
I. Taft Takes his Own Course
A. Taft had his own agenda.
1. Payne Aldrich Tariff – Did not lower tariffs as much as
2. Encouraged government to pass an income tax
3. pushed for legislation to take control of phone and telegraph
4. Fired Gifford Pinochet.
5. Seemed to go against much of what Roosevelt had done in
6. Roosevelt was furious.
B. Roosevelt Strikes Back
1. Came back from Africa
with his eyes on re-
taking the White House
2. New Nationalism –
program to restore the
3. Roosevelt failed to win
4. Formed his own party
– Progressive Party –
Often called the “Bull
• Roosevelt and Taft traveled the country
bad mouthing each other and their
• Spent so much time worrying about each
other that Woodrow Wilson literally “snuck”
past them both and won the 1912 election.
Section 5: Wilson’s New Freedom – Wilson’s political
I. Progressive Reform Under Wilson
• Went after the “Triple Wall of Privilege” =
trusts, tariffs, high finance
A. Wilson’s Background
1. Came from a family of
2. He became a lawyer
then a professor at
Princeton for being
named President of
3. New Jersey Governor
4. Elected President in
B. Clayton Anti-trust Act
1. He believed trusts should not be regulated, but taken
2. Clayton Anti-Trust Act declared certain business
practices to be illegal.
• Ex – a corporation could not acquire stock in another
company if it would be creating a monopoly by doing
3. If a company violated these law then it’s officers could
4. Labor unions were no longer subjected to anti-trust
laws and were therefore legal. Strikes and boycotts
C. Federal Trade Commission
• Had the power to
• Had the ability to
order companies to
halt illegal activities
D. A new Tax System
1. Wilson believed high tariffs helped create
2. Argues before Congress to reduce tariffs
and encouraged voters to monitor their
politicians votes on the issue
E. Federal Income Tax
1. Revenue lost from
tariffs needed to be
2. 16th Amendment –
Created a tax on
a. a graduated tax
F. Federal Reserve System – A decentralized banking
system under Federal control
1. Country divided into
zones, each with it’s
own federal reserve
bank that controlled
the flow of currency.
II. Limits of Progressivism
• D. Wilson and Civil Rights
1. While running for election, he won NAACP support for his
2. Once in office, he failed to support legislation that would
make lynching a federal crime.
3. Wilson stated often that he viewed segregation as a just
4. Federal offices, which had been desegregated after the
Civil War became segregated again after Wilson’s election.
5. Wilson told African American leaders that he would fight for
them, but he did not and refused to acknowledge that he
owed them any political support.
• E. The Twilight of Progressivism
1. No chance of reform while at war.
2. The progressive ideals took a backseat to the
problems of WWI.