Chapter 21 ll

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					The Progressive Era
     Chapter 21
• This chapter covers:
  – Economic and social changes
  – Problems caused by industrialization and
  – How the Progressive reform movement emerged
    to wrestle with these problems/changes
            Introduction (cont.)
• An example:
  – The unsafe and unsanitary conditions in which
    millions of workers labored produced tragedies
     • Such as the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire in which 141
       sweatshop employees died
  – After the Fire, aroused Progressives convinced
    New York State to enact many labor protective
The need for Progressive reform for factory workers
was made evident in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire
            Introduction (cont.)
1.) How did intellectuals and writers prepare the way
   for Progressive reform?
2.) What conditions in the cities and states bothered
   Progressives, and what did they hope to do about
3.) How did Progressive reform reach national politics,
   and which leaders and issues were involved?
           Introduction (cont.)
4.) What impact did Progressive reform have on
  the lives of women, immigrants, the urban
  poor, and African-Americans?
5.) Did progressivism alter people’s views on the
  proper role of govt. in America’s society and
 The Many Faces of Progressivism
• The Progressives were strongest in the cities
• Attracted support from middle-class
  professionals and intellectuals
• Most Progressives accepted the capitalist
  – They merely wanted to reform the worst
     abuses that had developed under it
 The Many Faces of Progressivism
• There was never 1 unified movement, but
  many different groups of reformers
  – Some preached regulation of big businesses
  – Others concentrated on passing laws to protect
  – Others thought the way to cure social ills was to
    curtail immigration
 The Many Faces of Progressivism
• Progressives generally attempted to be
  “scientific” in their approach
  – Backed their demands for change with scholarly
    studies of deplorable conditions to be remedied
       Intellectuals Offer New Social
• Many intellectuals criticized unrestrained, brutal
  capitalist competition
• They called for an activist govt. that would regulate
  business practices and protect the economically
   –   Thorstein Veblen (economist)
   –   Herbert Croly (journalist)
   –   William James (pragmatic philosopher)
   –   Jane Addams (settlement-house leader)
    Intellectuals Offer New Social
             Views (cont.)
• New educational and legal ideas paved the way for
  the Progressive movement
   – John Dewey
      • Preached that schools must foster in students respect for the
        values of democracy and cooperation
   – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
      • Supreme Court Justice
      • Attacked conservative judges for being guided entirely by legal
      • He insisted that the “law must evolve as society changes”
Dewey and Holmes
          Novelists, Journalists,
   and Artists Spotlight Social Problems
• Muckraking journalists and
  novelists played an
  important role in
  stimulating the Progressive
  movement by exposing to
  middle-class Americans
  political corruption and
  corporate wrongdoing
         Novelists, Journalists,
  and Artists Spotlight Social Problems
• Lincoln Steffens
   – Wrote about urban
     political machines and

• Ida Tarbell
   – Cutthroat competitive
     practices of Standard
     Oil Company
          Novelists, Journalists,
   and Artists Spotlight Social Problems
• Magazines such as McClure’s and Collier’s
  specialized in muckraking articles
• Novelists Frank Norris in The Octopus and
  Theodore Dreiser in The Financier also told
  tales of business abuses and political
          Novelists, Journalists,
   and Artists Spotlight Social Problems
• “Ashcan School” artists and photographers
  such as Lewis Hine depicted the harsh world
  of the immigrants, factory workers and child
    State and Local Progressivism
• Reforming the Political Process
   – The earliest signs of the Progressive movement appeared
     in cities where municipal reformers battled corrupt
     political machines
      • These cities elected activist mayors dedicated to change
          – Hazen Pingree of Detroit
          – Samuel Jones of Toledo
   – Reform mayors generally:
      • brought honesty to municipal govt.
      • Provided city dwellers with improved municipal services and
      • Forced transportation and utility companies to lower rates and pay
        their fair share of taxes
   Reforming the Political Process
• Other municipal reformers experimented with
  commission and city-manager forms of govt.
   Reforming the Political Process
• The reform efforts soon moved up to state govt.
• Progressives attempted to democratize politics by
   –   secret balloting
   –   direct primary
   –   initiative
   –   referendum
   –   recall
• In practice these measures fell short of producing the
  democratic results that the Progressives had hoped
  Regulating Business, Protecting
• After 1900, the growth of huge business
  corporation speeded up
  – Example: in 1901 J.P. Morgan consolidated
    hundreds of independent steel makers to form the
    U.S. Steel Company which controlled 80% of
    production in the nation
• This trend alarmed many Americans
     Regulating Business, Protecting
             Workers (cont.)
• The real wages of industrial laborers rose after
  – They were still so inadequate that in many families
    the mothers and children had to work to make
    ends meet
     • In 1910 at least 1.6 million youngsters between 10-16
       years old worked full-time
    Regulating Business, Protecting
            Workers (cont.)
• Industrial laborers spent on average 9 1/2
  hours a day in mills and shops
  – Often in hazardous conditions (both in health and
• Employers tried to get even more work out of
  their employees
  – Frederick W. Taylor and other efficiency experts
    Regulating Business, Protecting
            Workers (cont.)
• Under Progressive
  influence, state govts.
  started to impose
  regulation on
  railroads, mines, and
  other business
• The pioneer was WI
  under Governor
  Robert LaFollette
     Regulating Business, Protecting
             Workers (cont.)
• Between 1901 and 1906 LaFollette convinced the
  legislature to:
   – create a state railroad commission
   – increase corporate taxes
   – limit business contributions to political campaigns
• He and the legislature also introduced political
  reforms such as the direct primary
• “Wisconsin Idea”
     Regulating Business, Protecting
             Workers (cont.)
• Other states passed important labor laws as well:
   – Maximum # of hours per workday for female employees
      • Oregon’s 10-hour law
   – Factory safety codes
      • Such as the one enacted in NY after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire
   – Workers’ compensation acts
   – Bans on child labor
     Making Cities More Livable
• Cities grew rapidly between 1900 and 1920 as
  rural Americans and millions of immigrants
  moved into them
• Overwhelmed and often corrupt municipal
  govts. failed to provide the newcomers with
  adequate services and public facilities
Making Cities More Livable (cont.)
• Progressive reformers began to beautify cities
  – more parks and playgrounds
  – Broad boulevards
  – Impressive municipal buildings
• State legislatures passed housing coded to
  upgrade living conditions in tenements and
  slum neighborhoods
 Making Cities More Livable (cont.)
• Cities and states improved:
   – Garbage collection
   – Street cleaning
   – Water and sewer systems
• And required higher standards:
   – of cleanliness
   – Of quality form sellers of food and milk
• These Progressive reforms significantly decreased
  infant mortality and tuberculosis deaths
Making Cities More Livable (cont.)
• There were also attempts to reduce air
  – Business fought these vigorously
  – The continued reliance on coal as the chief energy
    source left cities smoky and sooty
  Progressivism and Social Control
• Moral Control in the Cities
  – Some reformers tried to guard morality by
    inducing cities to censor movies and outlaw
  – A wave of hysteria over prostitution led to the
    passage of the federal Mann Act (1910) and the
    close of red-light districts
      Battling Alcohol and Drugs
• Prohibition became the biggest moral crusade of the
  Progressive Era
• Anti-Saloon League, Women’s Christian Temperance
  Union, various church groups
• Many localities enacted bans on liquor sales
• The national prohibition movement grew stronger
 Battling Alcohol and Drugs (cont.)
• Progressives also campaigned against the then-
  widespread use of such addictive drugs as morphine,
  heroin, and cocaine
• Their efforts led to the passage of the federal
  Narcotics Act in 1914
   – Outlawed the distribution of heroin, morphine, and
     cocaine except by doctors’ prescriptions
    Immigration Restriction and
• Between 1900-1917, 17 million immigrants
  entered the U.S.A.
  – Mostly from southern and eastern Europe
• Many native-born Americans became fearful
  – They often believed that immigrants caused
    poverty and immorality
     Immigration Restriction and
          Eugenics (cont.)
• Immigration Restriction League
  – 1894
  – Founded by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and other
    prominent Bostonians
• In 1971 Congress excluded illiterate
  – Over President Wilson’s veto
      Immigration Restriction and
           Eugenics (cont.)
• Eugenicists claimed that humans and society could
  be improved by controlled breeding
• Some states passed laws allowing forced sterilization
  of criminals, mentally deficient persons, and sex
• Pseudo-scientific racism was spewed by some so-
  called progressive writers
   – Madison Grant--The Passing of the Great Race (1916)
      Racism and Progressivism
• In 1900 the majority of the 10 million African-
  Americans were still in the rural South
  – Most as sharecroppers
• Many began to migrate to cities and to the
  – Escape poverty, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow
    laws, and violence
  Racism and Progressivism (cont.)
• In the North they encountered de factor segregation
  and discrimination
   – Under these difficult circumstances, African-Americans
     developed their own communities and culture
• Racism in American society reached a peak during
  the Progressive Era
• Many progressives either ignored racial
  discrimination or were themselves racists
  Racism and Progressivism (cont.)
• Southern Progressives combined advocacy of
  economic and political reform with vicious attacks on
   – James K. Vardaman and Ben Tillman
• The 2 Progressive-reformer presidents of the era
  compiled sorry records on racial justice
   – Theodore Roosevelt
   – Woodrow Wilson
 Racism and Progressivism (cont.)
• Roosevelt ordered the unwarranted
  dishonorable discharge of an entire regiment
  of African-American soldiers in the
  Brownsville, Texas, incident
• Wilson praised the racist movie Birth of a
  Nation and condoned the introduction of
  racial segregation in all federal govt. agencies
  and departments
 Racism and Progressivism (cont.)
• Some white progressives decried racial
  injustice and helped found the National
  Association for the Advancement of Colored
  People (NAACP)
  – Lillian Wald and Mary White
African-Americans, Women, and
       Workers Organize
               • African-American Leaders
                 Organize Against Racism
                  – Booker T. Washington
                     • America’s best-know black
                       leader between 1890-
                     • Advised blacks to
                       concentrate on economic
                       advancement through
                       vocational education
                     • Accept the South’s Jim
                       Crow and
                       disenfranchisement laws
  African-American Leaders Organize
         Against Racism (cont.)
• Northern African-Americans intellectuals and
  professionals urged African-Americans to fight
  for economic, political, and educational
  – William Monroe Trotter
  – Ida Wells-Barnett
  – W.E.B. DuBois
Trotter, Wells, DuBois
 “[African-Americans] Leaders Organize
have a right to know, to
              Against We
think, to aspire… Racism (cont.)
must strive for the right
  • Niagara Movement
    which the world
     – 1905
     – DuBois to man.”
    accordsand other African-American critics of Washington
          —W.E.B. DuBois
  • In 1909, DuBois and other members of the Niagara
    Movement joined with white Progressives in
    organizing the NAACP
     – Rejected Booker T. Washington’s accommodations advice
     – Began the long fight for racial justice
Revival of the Woman-
 Suffrage Movement
           • A new group of feminists
             emerged to revitalize the
             women’s movement
           • Carrie Chapman Catt
              – Became president of the
                National American Woman
                Suffrage Association in
   Revival of the Woman-Suffrage
         Movement (cont.)
• Catt led her members in lobbying, distributing
  literature, and demonstrating
• They convinced several states to grant women
  the vote
       Revival of the Woman-
     Suffrage Movement (cont.)
• Alice Paul
   – National Woman’s Party
   – Bring direct pressure on
     the federal govt. for
     passage of a constitutional
     amendment enfranchising
     Enlarging “Woman’s Sphere”
• Feminists challenged the assumption that the only
  proper roles for women were those of wife, mother,
  and homemaker
   – Florence Kelley, Alice Hamilton, Margaret Sanger
• Led the Progressives drives to:
   – abolish child labor
   – Protect the health of workers and consumers
   – Establish birth-control clinics
      The Women’s Movement
• Margaret Sanger championed the cause for
  increased birth control:
  – Sanger hoped birth control education would
    reduce the social stresses caused by too many
    immigrant children
  – Her journals provided contraceptive information
    for poor & middle-class women
  – In 1916, Sanger opened the 1st birth control
    clinic in the U.S.
     Workers Organize: Socialism
• To improve their working environment,
  workers kept trying to unionize
• Their right to strike was frequently curtailed
  by conservative court decisions
  – Employers often hired recent immigrants as scabs
    when employees went on strike
     Workers Organize: Socialism
         Advances (cont.)
• American Federal of Labor (AFL) grew primarily in
  the skilled trades
• Most factory workers were unorganized early on
• 2 unions attempted to help semiskilled and unskilled
   – International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union
      • Led successful strikes in the needle trades
   – Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
     Workers Organize: Socialism
         Advances (cont.)
• The IWW singed up western miners,
  lumberjacks, and migratory farm workers
• IWW won a major strike in 1912 in the textile
  mills of MA
• Govt. repression of the IWW during WWI
  caused the decline of the organization
                Organizing Labor
• Eugene V. Debs formed
  the Socialist Party of
  America & applied Marxist
  ideas into a moderate &
  appealing political

    Did not threaten to overthrow
         the capitalist system
    Workers Organize: Socialism
        Advances (cont.)
• The Socialist Party of
  America was gaining
   – Hoped to end
     capitalism through the
     ballot box rather than
   – Eugene Debs
      • Ran for president in
        1912 and received
        900,000 votes
   National Progressivism--Phase I:
    Roosevelt and Taft, 1901-1913
• Roosevelt’s Path to
  the White House
   – Became President in
     1901 after McKinley
     was assassinated
   – Became the first
     Progressive president
    Roosevelt’s Path to the White
           House (cont.)
• A believer in strong executive leadership,
  Roosevelt enlarged the powers of the
• Turned the office into both an effective forum
  and the center of legislative initiative
   Labor Disputes, Trustbusting, and
         Railroad Regulation
• Unlike earlier presidents who used troops to
  break strikes, Roosevelt like to use arbitration
  – Example: coal miners’ strike of 1902
     • Management and the United Mine Workers used
       arbitration by a commission Roosevelt appointed
     • The commission granted the miners increased pay and
       reduced hours
    Labor Disputes, Trustbusting, and
       Railroad Regulation (cont.)
• Roosevelt did not want to attack big business
• He preached that corporate giants must obey the law
  and serve the public interest
• He prosecuted firms that he believed violated the
  Sherman Anti-Trust Act
   – Northern Securities Company
• Despite his trustbusting, he stayed on good terms
  with big business
    Labor Disputes, Trustbusting, and
       Railroad Regulation (cont.)
• 1904 election, Roosevelt easily won over
  conservative Democratic opponent, Alton B. Parker
• Hepburn Act
   – 1906
   – Strengthened corporate regulation
   – Gave the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) the
     power to set maximum railroad rates and examine
     railroads’ financial records
         Consumer Protection
• Responding to public concern generated by
  Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Roosevelt
  persuaded Congress to pass the Pure Food
  and Drug Act (1906) and the Meat Inspection
   “I (1906) the public’s heart & by
  Act aimed at hit it in the stomach” accident I
  – Pure Food and Drug Act
  – Meat Inspection Act
    Environmentalism Progressive
• Roosevelt made his most enduring reforms in
• Years of exploitation for private gain had damaged
  and depleted America’s natural environment
• By the 1890’s, land use had become a political issue
   – Putting business interests, preservationists, and
     conservationists against each other
    Environmentalism Progressive
            Style (cont.)
• Entrepreneurs wanted to continue unrestricted
  development for private enrichment
• Preservationists wished to save large wilderness
  tracts for their beauty and spiritual worth
   – John Muir and the Sierra Club
• Conservation movement sought govt. scientific
  management to make the public domain best serve
  the resource needs of the nation now and in the
   – Gifford Pinchot (Roosevelt’s Forest Service chief)
   Environmentalism Progressive
           Style (cont.)
• At times, the preservationists and the
  conservationists engaged in bitter combat
  – Example: the 1913 fight over the building of a
    dam in a beautiful part of Yosemite National Park
    to provide water and hydroelectric power for San
    Environmentalism Progressive
            Style (cont.)
• Roosevelt used the presidency to popularize both
  conservation and preservation
• Newlands Act of 1902
   – Important in the economic development of the West
• Set aside about 200 million acres of forest and
  mineral-rich lands for government-managed use
  rather than sale to business
• Antiquities Act (1906)
   – National historical landmarks
• Established national parks
   Environmentalism Progressive
           Style (cont.)
• In 1916, during Wilson’s administration,
  Congress established the National Park Service
  to protect and run the national historic sites,
  monuments, and parks
Taft in the White House,
             • William Howard Taft was
               Roosevelt’s secretary of

             • Won 1908 election over
               William Jennings Bryan

             • Pledged to continue
               Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”
   Taft in the White House, 1909-
             1913 (cont.)
• Taft prosecuted more trusts than Roosevelt
• Taft, though, lacked Roosevelt’s activism, flair
  for publicity, and political skills
   Taft in the White House, 1909-
             1913 (cont.)
• In the fight shaping up between the progressive and
  conservative wings of the Republican party, Taft
  sided with the conservatives
• Taft alienated progressive Republicans by:
   – Signing the Payne-Aldrich bill
      • Raised tariffs
   – Fired conservationist Gifford Pinchot
   Taft in the White House, 1909-
             1913 (cont.)
• Progressive Republicans joined with Roosevelt
  in denouncing the conservatives and
  campaigned for revived Progressive reform
   The Four-Way Election of 1912
• In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt challenged Taft for the
  Republican nomination
• The convention chose Taft
• Roosevelt’s backers walked out and founded the rival
  Progressive Party and nominated Roosevelt
• The Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson
• Socialists nominated Eugene Debs
   The Four-Way Election of 1912
• “New Nationalism”
  – Roosevelt’s platform
  – Accept big business as inevitable
  – But build a powerful activist federal govt. to regulate the
    corporate giants
• New Freedom
  – Wilson’s platform
  – Rejected big govt. in Washington
  – Called for a return to an economy composed of small,
    competing enterprise
        The Four-Way Election of
              1912 (cont.)
• Wilson won the White House
• Democrats also won Congress
      National Progressivism--Phase II:
       Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1917
• Introduction
   – Woodrow Wilson had been a
     political science professor and
     president of Princeton
   – Then he became Governor of NJ
   – Skilled and flexible politician
   – But sometimes was intolerant
     and self-righteous
           Introduction (cont.)
• Despite Wilson’s stated preference for small
  business and limited govt. in the 1912
  election, as president he led the effort to “use
  govt. to address the problems of the new
  corporate order.”
       Tariff and Banking Reform
• Wilson convinced Congress to pass the 1913
  Underwood-Simmons Tariff
  – Reduced import duties by roughly 15%
• Federal Reserve Act
  – 1913
  – Kept banking a private enterprise but imposed public
    regulation over it
  – 12 regional Federal Reserve banks
     • Empowered to expand the nation’s credit and money supply
     • Could issue Federal Reserve notes
     • Under the supervision of the Federal Reserve Board
         – Appointed by the president
    Regulating Business; Aiding
      Workers and Farmers
• Federal Trade Commission
  – 1914
  – Federal regulatory agency
  – Power to uncover unfair
    methods of business
  – Then issue cease and desist
    orders against perpetrators
    Regulating Business; Aiding
    Workers and Farmers (cont.)
• Clayton Act
  – 1914
  – Supplemented the vague and general Sherman
    Anti-Trust Act
  – Defined and listed specific illegal practices
    Regulating Business; Aiding
    Workers and Farmers (cont.)
• Wilson endorsed the clause in the Clayton Act
  exempting union strikes, boycotts, and
  picketing from prosecution under the antitrust
     Regulating Business; Aiding
     Workers and Farmers (cont.)
• He also signed the following into law:
   – Keating-Owen Act
      • 1916
      • Child labor law with interstate commerce
      • Later declared unconstitutional
   – Adamson Act
      • 1916
      • 8-hour day for railroad workers
   – Workmen’s Compensation Act
      • For federal employees
   – Legislation to help farmers obtain loans at lower interest
Progressivism and the
        • Wilson nominated to the
          Supreme Court Progressive
          Jewish attorney Louis
        • Conservatives and anti-
          Semites objected
        • Wilson persuaded the Senate
          to confirm Brandeis
Progressivism and the Constitution
• The Progressive Era saw 4 amendments added to the
  U.S. Constitution:
  – 16th (1913)
     • Authorized a federal income tax
  – 17th (1913)
     • Popular or direct election of senators
  – 18th (1919)
     • Prohibition
  – 19th (1920)
     • Women suffrage
      1916: Wilson Edges Out

• Democrats renominated Wilson
• Republicans ran Charles Evans Hughes
• Wilson won in a close race
• Some Progressive reforms did less good than their
  backers had hoped
• Progressivism had some repressive and intolerant
• The movement as a whole left a legacy of govt.
  intervention to:
   – regulate destructive corporate practices
   – protect the economically vulnerable
   – improved social problems arising from industrialization
• It was a precedent on which the New Deal would
  later build

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