Politics in the Progressive Era by pengxuebo


									Politics in the Progressive Era

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What was the role of the Populist Party in
       U.S. politics in the 1890s?
            Deflation Doom

• Farming a lucrative business as long as prices are
• Deflated currency from 1870-1890
• Competition increases for grain farmers (grain
  exports from Argentina) / prices go down in the 1880s
  / 1890s
• Mechanization of agriculture drives prices down
  further (produce more grain) - farmers go into debt to
  buy these machines!
                        Deflation Doom
    • Farmers operating at more of a loss from year to year
    • Interest rates on mortgages charged by eastern loan
    • “Sodbusters” go bankrupt and become landless
    • Grasshopper swarms / environmental issues make
      things worse

Nebraska homesteading
family, 1880s
                 Populist Movement
  • Farmers see their situation as a matter of justice
  • Farmers’ alliances and political action to deal with
    these issues go back to 1870s (Knights of Reliance,
    The Grange, Southern Alliance, etc.)
  • At first, sought to raise prices by holding grain from
    the market
  • Black and white farmers have trouble uniting in the
    South due to racism

Grangers’ Mass Meeting, Ohio, 1874
           Populist Movement
• Success at local elections in 1890 with Alliance
  candidates inspires formation of the Populist Party
• Farm leaders, Knights of Labor, reformers meet at
  Populist Convention in 1892: nominate James
  Weaver (Civil War general) for presidential candidate
• Platform:
   –   Permit farmers to keep crops off market when prices drop
   –   Unlimited coinage of silver and increase money supply
   –   8-hour workday
   –   Support rights of labor: strikes, bargaining, etc.
            Populist Movement
• 1892 election supporters:
   – Southern black farmers
     (Colored Alliance)
   – Attackers of “bankers’
     conspiracy” in the Northwest
   – Midwest / Plains farmers
• Drawbacks:
   – Failure to woo white farmers
     in the South from Democratic
   – Failure to win over northeast
     industrial workers
• Silver coinage and inflation
  still popular after election…
           Depression of 1893
• Pres. Cleveland believes that the business community had
  been shook by the Populists, and this caused a financial
• Repeals the 1890 inflationary Sherman Silver Purchase
  Act, divides the Democratic Party, who abandon him
          Depression of 1893
• Spring 1894: Jacob
  Coxey’s “army” of the
  unemployed march on
  Washington from Ohio,
  demanding public
  programs to hire them, and
  the Treasury to accept
  bonds in exchange for
  more paper money in the
• Coxey and supporters are
  arrested and beaten by
  D.C. policemen - makes
  U.S. government look bad
               Depression of 1893
•   July 1894: Eugene V. Debs organizes American Railway Union leads
    a strike by Pullman Palace Car workers in Chicago whose wages were
•   U.S. Attorney Gen. Richard Olney & Pres. Cleveland declare the strike
    illegal (interfering with mail delivery)
•   Send in federal troops to battle with workers and put down strike - also
    unpopular move
          Depression of 1893
• People worried, and cash in for gold - Gold supply
  dwindles in the treasury (makes deflation worse)
• JP Morgan and other bankers bail the U.S. government
  out, by supplying gold from Europe - people feel even
  more uncomfortable with government that owes $ to a
  private banker
                   Election of 1896
• Democrats ditch pro-gold Cleveland
  if they are to have a chance at
• Silverites have influence with
  Democrats and nominate William
  Jennings Bryan (spoke for a silver
  standard, and the western farmers -
• Bryan, a master orator, delivers
  “Cross of Gold” speech at
• June 1896: Republicans announce
  they favor gold standard alone,
  nominate William McKinley (popular
  OH congressman) - liked by labor
  and business
               Election of 1896

• Populists throw their support to Bryan and the Democrats,
  afraid that McKinley will win if they run their own candidate
• Bryan tours the U.S. making speeches, rallying support,
  raising the silver movement to a frenzy
                 Election of 1896
• Mark Hanna (RNC President) - raises a “slush fund” for newspaper
  propaganda - outspends the Democrats
• “Gold Bug” Democrats in the northeast support the Republicans
• Republican businessmen fear Bryan and support McKinley - U.S. gov’t
  becoming more involved in economics - businesses want a stake in
  election outcome
• “front porch campaign” - an effective technique for McKinley
              Election of 1896
• Inflationists lose the election when McKinley wins, but
  surge in gold production increases money supply
• Election seen as a huge shift: a victory for big business,
  big cities, middle-class values, and financial conservatism;
  NOT farmers, the indebted backcountry, etc.
                  Why so appealing?

Document A (take notes on the following):
Sourcing: Who wrote this? When?
Context: What was going on for farmers at the time?
  Lease is a woman speaking to other women. What
  does this say about women in politics in the 1890s?
Close reading: Read carefully and ask “how is this
  document supposed to make me feel”?
Document A
• Read 1st paragraph: How is this supposed to make
  the audience feel? Why might she use religious
• Read 2nd and 3rd paragraphs: How is this supposed
  to make the audience feel? Who are the good guys?
  Bad guys? What emotions does she appeal to?
• Read final paragraph: How was this supposed to
  make the audience feel?
• Read Document B and answer guiding
• Why were speakers like Lease and Bryan popular in
  the 1890s?
• What images and rhetorical devices did they use to
  excite their audiences?
• How did their audiences feel when they listened to
  these speeches?
• Do these themes resonate today? Which parts of
  these speeches could we expect to hear from today’s
  politicians? Which parts seem outdated?
Describe the young Theodore Roosevelt’s
  relationship with the Republican Party.
          Theodore Roosevelt:
       “Cowboy in the White House”
Roosevelt’s resume:
   – Harvard graduate / Studied law at Columbia
   – 1881-84: Three terms in NY assembly, ties with reform
     faction of Republican party
   – 1884-86: Two years as a rancher in the Dakotas
   – 1880s/90s: Historian: writes books on military and
     frontier history and political issues (The Naval War of
   – 1889-95: Six years on US Civil Service Commission -
     appointed by Harrison
   – 1895-97: Two years as NYC police commissioner
   – 1897: Appointed Asst. Secretary of the Navy by
   – 1898: forms volunteer regiment of “Rough Riders” that
     fought in Cuba
   – 1898: Elected as NY governor
   – 1900: Selected to be McKinley’s running mate (VP)
   – 1901: McKinley is shot by an anarchist, Roosevelt
     becomes president
    Theodore Roosevelt:
 “Cowboy in the White House”
• Vigorous reformer in the Republican Party but was
  skeptical of populism and “labor agitation”
• Many conservatives alarmed at Roosevelt’s
  ascendancy: “too energetic, too outspoken, too
  unconventional” - American Nation
• Republicans’ victory in previous elections suggests
  they not meddle with the status quo / resistant to
• As president, Roosevelt moves slowly to get what he
  wants through executive power, not Congress
         Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”
•   1902: anthracite coal strike in
    Pennsylvania. Miners being exploited
    and killed in accidents. Demand a 20%
    wage increase and a 9-hour workday.
•   Mine owners (ex: George Baer)
    refuses to negotiate, thinking the public
    and president will come down on this
    like the Pullman Strike
•   Coal supplies run out: factories,
    schools, hospitals shut down
•   Roosevelt sides with the miners and
    threatens to send in troops to take the
    mines (first time U.S. gov’t sides with
    labor)                                      United Mine Workers of America after mass meeting,
•   Compromise: Strikers get a 10% wage                                1902

    boost and 9-hour workday, but union
    not officially recognized for bargaining
        Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”
                                         • Roosevelt urges Congress
                                           to create the Department of
                                           Commerce and Labor, which
                                           is done in 1903 (split in two
                                           ten years later)
                                         • In this Dept, the Bureau of
                                           Corporations would be
                                           authorized to investigate
                                           corporations involved in
                                           interstate trade

Theodore Roosevelt, by John Singer Sargent (1903)
       Roosevelt & Corporations
• Interstate Commerce
  Commission (ICC est.
  1887) has no power: RR
  barons can appeal its
  decisions on rates
• TR pressures Congress to
  pass the Elkins Railroad
  Act (1903) - heavy fines
  can be imposed on RRs
  that give rebates to
• Strengthens authority of
  ICC / further strengthened
  in 1905 by Hepburn Act
         Roosevelt & Corporations
•   Roosevelt believed there were “good” trusts (acted w/ conscience
    toward public) and “bad” trusts (greedy for power)
•   Wanted to respond to public outcry against trusts, but did not want to
    smash all large businesses
•   1902: TR attacks Northern Securities Company (“holding company”
    that owns stock in RR companies, run by JP Morgan) - accused of
    having a monopoly on RRs in the Northwest
•   Northern Securities appeals TR’s lawsuit
•   1904: Supreme Court backs TR and orders dissolution of Northern
    Securities Company
•   TR uses this as a signal to attack meat packers, Standard Oil Trust,
    and American Tobacco Company
    Roosevelt & Corporations
• Point of view: TR not
  quite a “trust buster”
• TR believed in the
  value of combination
  and integration (a
  man of his time)
• But believed that
  government should
  have much power to
         Roosevelt & The Consumer
• 1900s: European markets refuse to
  import American meat, seemed
  “tainted” (botulism - foodborne illness)
• 1906: Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle -
  Sinclair a socialist - tried to attract
  attention to treatment of workers, but
  instead “appalled the public with his
  description of unsanitary food
  products” - American Pageant
• TR and public moved by Sinclair’s
  novel - TR gets Congress to pass the
  Meat Inspection Act (1906) - meat
  shipped over state lines subject to
  federal inspection - even well
  received by some businesses
• Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) -
  forbids adulteration and mislabeling
  of foods and pharmaceuticals
       Roosevelt & Conservation
• 19th century Americans assume their natural resources
  are infinite: loot and pollute the land
• TR sickened by the actions of Western ranchers and
  timbermen while out west
• Some previous attempts at conservation but not very
  strong (Gifford Pinchot - “Father of Nat’l Forest Service)
• 1902: TR presses Congress to pass Newlands Act - U.S.
  gov’t authorized to collect money from the sale of public
  lands and use these funds for irrigation projects
• Roosevelt Dam in AZ dedicated to TR (1911)
          Roosevelt & Conservation
•   Roosevelt sets aside millions of acres of
    forest in reserves, as well as coal
    deposits, water resources (1902 bans
    Christmas trees from White House)
•   TR supported by public who lamented the
    end of the frontier (see Frederick Jackson
    Turner), and who were worried “that too
    much civilization might not be good”
•   1903: Jack London’s Call of the Wild a
•   Boy Scouts of America, Sierra Club, and
    Audubon Society founded
        Visual Notemaking
• Topic
• Make a key
  – Ideas, words, influences, strengths,
    weaknesses, emotions, products
• Timeline at bottom
• Room for associated vocabulary
Use today’s notes and History Now
handout on “The Square Deal” to fill in
 the visual notes sheet for Theodore
    Roosevelt’s Second Term
• Roosevelt easily re-elected in 1904 / pop culture
  sensation (ex: “teddy bear”)
• Roosevelt gets more actively progressive
   – Regulating corporations
   – Taxing incomes
   – Protecting workers
• But after 1904 election, Roosevelt announces he will
  not run for a third term.
“The power of the king wanes when they know he will
  be dead in four years” - American Pageant
       “Roosevelt Panic” of 1907

• Wall Street problems
   – Bank runs
   – High profile suicides
   – Criminal indictments against
• Financial world blames
  Roosevelt for rocking the
  boat (“Theodore the
   “Roosevelt Panic” of 1907
• Currency shortage - banks unable to keep up with
• 1908: Aldrich-Vreeland Act - allows national banks to
  issue emergency currency backed by various kinds of
  collateral (gold, silver, whatever’s clever)
                    Election of 1908
•   TR could probably win, but sticks to
    his promise
•   At 1908 RNC, TR “steamrolls”
    nomination of Sec. of War William
    Howard Taft (mild progressive) -
    seen as someone who will continue
    his work
•   Meanwhile, Democrats nominate
    William Jennings Bryan for a third
•   Both candidates try to claim they are
    more like Roosevelt
•   Voters want more of same and go
    with Taft
•   Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs
    gets nearly half a million votes
            Roosevelt’s Legacy

“Roosevelt should be remembered first and foremost as the
     cowboy who started to tame the bucking bronco of
   adolescent capitalism, thus ensuring it a long adult life.”

“He strenuously sought the middle road between unbridled
         individualism and paternalistic collectivism.”

                    - American Pageant
          Roosevelt’s Legacy
1.   Enlarged power & prestige of presidential office
2.   Helped shape the progressive movement and the
     liberal reform campaigns that come later (ex: FDR)
3.   Made Americans realize that they share the world
     with other nations (to be discussed starting next
             Taft Administration

• 1909: TR leaves the U.S.
  to go lion hunting in Africa
• Taft a mild progressive,
  but seen as supporter of
  status quo and hostile to
• Taft’s cabinet contains no
  movers and shakers
               Taft Administration
• Taft continues TR’s work as trustbuster
• Taft did not distinguish between “good” and “bad”
  monopolies, but just focused on enforcing the law
   – 90 suits in 4 years
   – 1911: Supreme Court orders dissolution of Standard Oil (violating
     Sherman Anti-Trust Act) - “rule of reason” doctrine (only
     combinations that “unreasonably” restrained trade can be busted)
   – 1911: Taft goes after U.S. Steel Corporation (but TR is back home
     and involved with this business / gets mad)
        Republican Party Split

• Progressive Republicans want to lower tariff
• Tariff reduction bill gets to Congress and is watered
• 1909: Taft thinks he is pleasing progressives, signs
  the Payne-Aldrich Bill, and calls it “the best bill that
  the Republican Party ever passed.”
        Republican Party Split

• Taft does TR right by creating Bureau of Mines to
  control mineral resources
• Richard Ballinger (Sec. of Interior) opens public lands
  to development in WY, MT, and AK
• Gifford Pinchot (TR friend / chief of Agr. Dept’s Div. of
  Forestry) criticizes him
• Taft fires Pinchot for insubordination and looks bad to
           Republican Party Split

• 1910: Taft sides with
  Republican “Old Guard”
• TR returns to NY and goes
  out making speeches about
  his doctrine of “New
  Nationalism” (urges national
  gov’t to increase its power
  to remedy economic and
  social abuses)
• Republicans lose lots of
  seats in Congress in 1910
   Republican Party

• 1911: National Progressive Republican League formed -
  LaFollette seeking pres. Nomination (assume TR would
  stay out)
• 1912: TR writes to Republican governors, telling them he
  will run (his logic: that he said he wouldn’t run for three
  consecutive terms)
• TR takes the progressive mantle, but Old Guard
  nominates Taft at 1912 RNC
• TR feels “as strong as a bull moose” and starts his own
  Bull Moose Party to run / Jane Addams & others support
                   Election of 1912
• Woodrow Wilson formerly a mild
  conservative, then a big
• 1910: Elected governor of NJ
   – Tackles “predatory” trusts
   – Fights corruption / gov’t for the
   – Passes series of reforms
• William Jennings Bryan steps
  down to give nomination to
  Wilson at 1912 DNC
            Election of 1912
   Wilson also runs a strong progressive campaign:
                   “New Freedom”

 TR and Wilson both want a more active gov’t role in
 economic and social affairs, but disagree over strategy

New Nationalism: continued consolidation of trusts and
 labor unions, but parallel expansion of regulation in DC


  New Freedom: small enterprise, entrepreneurship,
        unregulated / unmonopolized markets
                  Election of 1912
Roosevelt / New Nationalism:
• Pro women’s suffrage
• Broad social welfare program
• Minimum wage laws
• “socialistic” insurance

Wilson / New Freedom:
• Anti social welfare
• Consumers will benefit from better competition in the market (bust the

Voters get to choose between philosophy as well as policy
(Taft very unpopular)
             Election of 1912
Republicans’ progressive vote is split…
Election of 1912
       Wilson’s “New Freedom”
• 1913: Underwood Tariff
   – brings down tariff substantially for first time since before Civil
   – provides graduated income tax to make up the lost $
• 1913: Federal Reserve Act
   – Creates central banking system
   – Divides nation into 12 banking districts and est’es a Federal
     Reserve Bank in each - a bank for bankers
   – Participating banks need to invest 6% of their capital in the
   – Reserve can issue Federal Reserve notes in exchange for
     paper money
   – This removes paper money from direct ties to gold standard
         Wilson’s “New Freedom”
• 1914: Federal Trade Commission - more powerful than
  TR’s Bureau of Corporations - can investigate
  corporations, but also issue “cease and desist” orders to
  stop unfair practices
• 1914: Clayton Antitrust Act - made some business
  practices illegal:
   – price discrimination that fosters monopolies
   – “tying agreements” - where retailers forced to carry one supplier’s
   – Creation of interlocking
   directorates (when board of
   directors oversees many
        Wilson’s “New Freedom”
• Wilson aggressively works with Congress to get legislation
  passed (Democrats control both houses)
• Differences between New Nationalism and New Freedom
• Limits to Wilson’s Progressivism:
   – Objected to laws granting favors to farmers, workers, or big
   – Did not seek to exempt unions from anti-trust laws
   – Does not support prohibition of child labor
   – Does not back women’s suffrage amendment
• True progressives feel disappointed…
           Exit Ticket
Draw a Venn Diagram that illustrates a
comparison and contrast of Roosevelt’s
 “New Nationalism” and Wilson’s “New

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