The Rise of Progressivism The Progressive Impulse
Political and Cultural response to:
Concentration of Wealth
Rise of the Corporate Wealth
The Progressives were a diverse group of people who were united in their efforts to offer practical solutions to the social problems associated with industrialization and urbanization. Progressives represented a new willingness to allow government and private groups to intervene, regulate and even coerce business firms and private individuals for the good of society.
Progressivism began as a social movement and grew into a political movement. Rejected Social Darwinism. In other words, they were people who believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Concentrated on exposing the evils of corporate greed, combating fear of immigrants, and urging Americans to think hard about what democracy meant. They also encouraged Americans to register to vote, fight political corruption, and let the voting public decide how issues should best be addressed The Progressive Era (1890 - 1920)
Growing cities couldn’t provide people necessary services like garbage collection, safe housing, and police and fire protection.
Reformers, many of whom were women like activist Lillian Wald, saw this as an opportunity to expand public health services.
Progressives scored an early victory in New York State with the passage of the Tenement Act of 1901 , which forced landlords to install lighting in public hallways and to provide at least one toilet for every two families , which helped outhouses become obsolete in New York slums.
These simple steps helped impoverished New Yorkers, and within 15 years the death rate in New York dropped dramatically.
In 1900, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union organized unskilled workers.
In 1909, the ILGWU called a general strike known as the Uprising of 20,000.
Strikers won a shorter workweek and higher wages and attracted thousands of workers to the union.
In 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World formed to oppose capitalism, organizing unskilled workers that the American Federation of Labor ignored.
Under William “Big Bill” Haywood, the IWW, known as Wobblies, used traditional tactics like strikes and boycotts but also engaged in radical tactics like industrial sabotage.
By 1912, the IWW led 23,000 textile workers to strike in Massachusetts to protest pay cuts, which ended successfully after six weeks.
However, several IWW strikes were failures, and, fearing the IWW’s revolutionary goals, the government cracked down on the organization, causing dispute among its leaders and leading to its decline a few years later.
This term stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Bully Pulpit
The Square Deal became Roosevelt’s 1904 campaign slogan and the framework for his entire presidency.
He promised to “see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.”
Roosevelt’s promise revealed his belief that the needs of workers, business, and consumers should be balanced.
Roosevelt’s square deal called for limiting the power of trusts, promoting public health and safety, and improving working conditions .
The popular president faced no opposition for the nomination in his party. In the general election Roosevelt easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Judge Alton Parker of New York.
Trust - corporate monopoly A legal arrangement in which the voting stock of different companies is brought together under the direction of a board of trustees. Organized for the purpose of eliminating competition in an area of business and of controlling the market for a product. Specifically, a trust was a particular technique developed to consolidate firms and acquire control in a variety of industries. Anti-Monopoly Sentiment Monopoly - When a specific individual or enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it. An 1897 cartoon by C. J. Taylor suggests that the United States government was being manipulated by business monopolies and trusts. Anti-business sentiment in the 1890s led to passage of the first federal legislation to regulate corporate behavior.
The history of Monopoly can be traced back to the early 1900s. It was supposed to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. Players compete to acquire wealth through stylized economic activity involving the buying, renting, and trading of properties using play money, as players take turns moving across the board according to the roll of the dice. The object of the game is own every piece of property. The game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity.
Roosevelt believed big business was essential to the nation’s growth but also believed companies should behave responsibly.
He spent a great deal of attention on regulating corporations, determined that they should serve the public interest.
In 1901, when three tycoons joined their railroad companies together to eliminate competition, their company, the Northern Securities Company, dominated rail shipping from Chicago to the Northwest.
The following year, Roosevelt directed the U.S. attorney general to sue the company for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act , and the Court ruled that the monopoly did, in fact, violate the act and must be dissolved.
After this ruling, the Roosevelt administration launched a vigorous trust-busting campaign. Size didn’t matter; the administration went after bad trusts that sold inferior products, competed unfairly, or corrupted public officials.
Of all industries, meatpacking fell into the worst public disrepute.
The novelist Upton Sinclair exposed the wretched and unsanitary conditions at meatpacking plants in his novel The Jungle , igniting a firestorm of criticism aimed at meatpackers.
#3 On the list of Top 10 Books that Changed America Hot dog, anyone? This novel was meant to be about not only the meat packing plant, but also about the terrible conditions of poverty that immigrants and low wage workers dealt with in the cities. This novel shocked the nation, and the understanding that humans who fell in the vat simply ended up in hot dogs . . . well apparently that’s more important than poverty. Nonetheless, this caused several acts to be passed by congress in dealing with both employment laws and with meat packing and food and safety standards. Many of these laws are still in effect even today. #1 Common Sense, #2 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, #3 The Jungle, #4 A Vindication of the Rights of Women
The New York Times A meat processing plant in 1906 the year Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle."
Roosevelt ordered Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson to investigate packing house conditions, and his report of gruesome practices shocked Congress into action.
In 1906 it enacted two groundbreaking consumer protection laws.
The Meat Inspection Act required federal government inspection of meat shipped across state lines. The Pure Food and Drug Act outlawed food and drugs containing harmful ingredients, and required that containers carry ingredient labels.
Wilson’s first priority as president was to lower tariffs , and he even appeared at a joint session of Congress to campaign for this, which no president had done since John Adams.
In October 1913, Congress passed the Underwood Tariff Act, which lowered taxes to their lowest level in 50 years.
Tariff reduction meant the government had less income, so to make up for it, the act also introduced a graduated income tax .
The income tax taxed people according to their income, and wealthy people paid more than poor or middle-class people.
Banking Reform 2. On this level, 12 Federal Reserve banks served other banks instead of individuals. 3. On the last level, private banks served people and borrowed from the Federal Reserve as needed.
President Wilson’s next target was the banking system.
At that time, banking failures were common, and banks collapsed when too many people withdrew their deposits at the same time.
People needed access to their money without fear of bank failure.
Wilson’s answer was the 1913 Federal Reserve Act , which created a central fund from which banks could borrow to prevent collapse during a financial panic.
The Act created a three-tier banking system.
At the top, the president- appointed Federal Reserve Board members ran the system.
The Federal Reserve Act put the nation’s banking system under the supervision of the federal government for the first time.
17 th Provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators.
18 th Prohibited making, selling, or transporting alcohol.
19 th Provided women suffrage (voting).
To provide a stable base of income for the Federal Government while providing graduated taxation, the 16th Amendment was passed. Political machines were weakened by the passage of the 17th Amendment which allowed state citizens to directly elect representatives to the U.S. Senate, instead of allowing party-controlled state legislatures to do so. In addition, the Temperance Movement and the Women's Suffrage Movement finally paid off with the passage of the 18th Amendment and the 19th Amendment .