(This is an OLD ESSAY)
Topic #7 – Progressive Era:
Describe the conditions or specific problems that created the need for reform
during the Progressive Era
Explain how the reformers addressed these problems
Analyze how effective the reformers were in solving these problems
Body 1 – One problem that created the need for reform during the Progressive Era was:
A) “Boss Tweed” and Tammany Hall controlled NYC government.
1) Has immigrants vote for him when they aren’t citizens – influences
their votes by giving them food baskets as they get off their boats.
2) Has people vote more than once
3) Uses the gangs of NY to influence / terrorize opponents
B) Monopolists / Trusts controlled politicians
1) Robber Barons became excessively wealthy because they dominated
their industries. Ex. John D. Rockefeller – owner of Standard
Oil Trust – horizontal monopoly – Richest man in US history.
Andrew Carnegie – owner of Carnegie Steel – vertical monopoly
– 2nd richest man in US history
2) Used money to bribe politicians & judges
3) Keppler’s political cartoon, “Bosses of the Senate” shows how trusts,
like the coal & sugar trusts, controlled the US Senate. “Vulture’s
Roost” also depicted the power of Big Business over the Senate.
Body 1 - The reformers addressed these problems.:
A) Muckrakers, like Tom Nast – a political cartoonist in the NYC newspapers, exposed
B) 17 Amendment was ratified – direct election of US Senators
C) 16th Amendment was ratified – Income Tax
D) 19th Amendment was ratified – Women’s Suffrage
E) Recall, referendum, secret ballot, & direct primary become part of the political
Body 1 - The reformers were VERY EFFECTIVE in solving these problems.:
A) “Boss Tweed” is removed from office and put in jail. His ring of corruption is
B) Allowing more people to vote (women) while limiting the influence of big business
1) having the people directly elected the senators, not the state legislators who
were also being bribed.
2) the progressive income tax was a graduated income tax. It taxed the rich at a
higher rate than the poor. This limited the amount of money they had and
their children would inherit.)
C) The power of “recall” is used in 2003 in the state of California when Governor Davis
is recalled after doing a poor job. He was voted out of office and Arnold
Schwarzenegger was then elected.
D) Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Clayton Anti-Trust Act and the Interstate Commerce
Commission restrict monopolies and enforce laws against the powerful tactics of
E) President Teddy Roosevelt, the “trust buster,” breaks up bad trusts and controls
Body 2 – One problem that created the need for reform during the Progressive Era was:
Horrible working conditions
A) Child Labor
- 18% of 10 – 15 year olds worked in 1890
- worked in mines (small, could fit in tighter places), factories (smaller
hands to fit between moving parts), at home (children less than five
could be used to help parents complete work allotments)
B) Unsafe Working Conditions
- kids & others that worked in factories lost fingers, arms in the mills
because of no safety guards or automatic turn off shifts. Also had
to stand / work for long hours (10+ hours a day )
- trains – long hours (conductors worked 10 to 12 hours a day), men
crushed between cars, those that laid the tracks were worked to
death (one Chinese worker died for every mile of tracks) and were
killed in dynamite blasts to clear rock
- factory workers ignored problems
C) Low Wages
- big business paid low wages because workers were easily replaced by the
flood of new immigrants that were coming into the United States
during the Gilded Age (Age of Big Business – late 1800’s to early
- children paid the least, than women, than men
- blacks, Irish, & Chinese were paid less than other workers
- low wages forced most immigrants to live in slums in the inner cities
Body 2 - The reformers addressed these problems.:
A) Florence Kelley worked to end child labor in Chicago, Illinois. Lobbied local and
state government to pass laws against child labor. Chronicled the use of child
labor at home and in factories and its effect on the kids.
B) Unions like the Knights of Labor (led by Terence Powderly) and the American
Federation of Labor (led by Samuel Gompers) fight for the rights of workers –
wages, benefits, and working conditions.
C) The Progressive Political Party proposed reforms to prevent industrial accidents,
occupational diseases, overwork, and unemployment
D) Jacob Riis chronicles the horrible living conditions of average workers because of the
low wages in his book, How the Other Half Lives. Riis photographs the
tenements, back alleys, and sweatshop working conditions.
Body 2 - The reformers were VERY EFFECTIVE in solving these problems.:
A) Child Labor is limited throughout the nation. Illinois pass its law in 1893, other states
B) Advancements made by unions are very slow at first because the government sides
with big business, especially during violent strikes like the Great Railway Strike
and the chaos of the Haymarket Riot. Unions make more significant progress in
the early to mid 1900’s.
C) Other laws are passed to help workers: Occupational Disease Act (1911), Workers
Compensation in Wisconsin (1911), maximum number of work hours for women
and children in Wisconsin (1911), 1st minimum wage law passed in Massachusetts
(1912), overtime pay required in Oregon (1913)
D) Jane Addams’ Hull House provides educational, legal, and housing assistance to the
Body 3 – One problem that created the need for reform during the Progressive Era was:
A) Unsanitary working conditions
1) work in pickle rooms – acid eats away at workers joints
2) butchers – couldn’t use thumbs, so often slashed by knives without
safety guards; hands criss-crossed with cuts; nails pulled off while
attempting to skin hides
All of these accidents were overlooked and human “pieces” would often
fall into the food supply.
B) Big Business owners (a.k.a. Robber Barons) attempted to make as much
money as possible, did not have any concern for consumers. They did not
allow anything to go to waste, no matter how rotten or dirty it may have
C) Government’s policy of laissez-faire kept the federal government from getting
involved in watching over Big Business. Industry was allowed to regulate
themselves. Also, Big Business (trusts and monopolies) used their wealth
to bribe and control politicians. Keppler’s “Bosses of the Senate” depicts
these “money bags” standing over the Senate, directing legislation.
Body 3 - The reformers addressed these problems.:
A) Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was released in 1906. It chronicled the abuses of the
meat packing industry in Chicago, Illinois. “Whenever meat was so spoiled that it
could not be used for anything else, either to can it or else chop it up into
sausage.” The book also described rats falling into the hoppers and being ground
into meat. It also exposed how rusty nails and dirty water were put into the meat,
that piles of meat were left for days in dark rooms where piles of rat feces would
have to be wiped away by human hands, and that meat would be left in non-
refrigerated rooms for extended periods of time to rot and to be exposed to
maggots & germs before being packaged.
Body 3 - The reformers were VERY EFFECTIVE in solving these problems.:
A) President Teddy Roosevelt responded within 12 months to propose a law to correct
the abuses of the meat packing industry. The Meat Inspection Act (1906)
required federal inspectors to guarantee sanitary standards within the meat
industry. The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) was also passed and it made it a
crime to purposely mislabel foods or medicine.
B) The Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914) further restricted the power of Big Business and
monopolies. It strengthened the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was passed in 1890
and attempted to maintain “free competition” while protecting small businesses
from large monopolies.
C) The 17th Amendment limited the ability of Big Business to control the Senate. The
17th Amendment called for the direct election of US Senators.