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The Progressive Movement


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  • 1. Progressives
  • 2. Progressives/Progressivism Changes in America around 1900- Progressives seek to control these changes. Changes causing: uncertainty; poverty; crime; immigration; race issues; urban problems; changes in values Some important issues: Industrialization/Monopolies/Trusts Corruption in government Urbanization Rich/Poor gap Technology/Rise of Science Immigration increased
  • 3. Optimism of the Progressives Progressives were very concerned about all of the problems described above, but they were very optimistic about the possibility of solving them. They believed in the potential of the people, the government, and the scientific method. By applying the scientific method to social problems (thus the origins of the quot;social sciencesquot;) problems could be solved. Shared values Concern about effects of industrialization Optimistic about human nature and potential for progress Willing to intervene in others lives, either private charity or government Sense of evangelical Protestant duty and faith in the benefits of science Commitment to improve all aspects of American life
  • 4. Progressives/Progressivism Historical precedents for progressive movement Enlightenment- some control of environment through science Reform in early 1800s Temperance Romanticism Abolitionism Women’s rights All of these issues raise morality and definition of the individual.
  • 5. Friction All of these issues are sources of FRICTION. Especially socio-economic class problems. Classes have very different experiences in America. Upper class: Life of leisure. Opulence. Lower class: Struggle Middle class: Caught in the middle
  • 6. Upper Classes Typical great mansion required: Staff of about 24 servants and cost $200-300K /year ($6.7M 2004) to maintain. JP Morgan- great library- exact value unknown. Likely considered priceless when he died and now. (His made it a public institution after the death of his father.) 1884, paid $24,750 for a 1459 Mainz Psalter (most ever paid for a book at the time and for years). ($500,000 dollars in 2004 dollars) 1899, paid $200,000 for a collection of manuscripts, books from the early days of printing, works related to Shakespeare. ($4.5M in 2004 dollars) JD Rockefeller: Total worth- $2 Billion (approx. $50 today). [Bill Gates worth about $27 Billion.]
  • 7. Lower Classes On the edge of survival: Low wages, lay offs, accidents, early death- constant threats Avoided changing jobs because even a loss of a day’s pay could hurt the family. Incomes: Wage workers: $435/yr ($9000/yr, 2004) Coal workers: $340/yr ($7,600/yr 2004) Domestics: $240/yr ($5,368/yr 2004) Agricultural laborers: $178/yr. + room and board. ($4000 2004) Middle class clericals: $1,011 (for comparison) ($22,000 2004) Cost of Living: In Buffalo, NY, cost approx $700 to support family of 5, but laborers income was only approx. $300-$600/yr
  • 8. Lower Classes People who went “rags to riches” less role models than freaks of nature to lower classes. Working class children: Grew up fast- entered work world early Grew up slow- did not have enough $ to develop autonomy. Tended to live w/ parents longer than middle and upper class. Farmers- felt loss of status in society. Economic pinch as well.
  • 9. Middle Class Becomes the radical center- sought to halt friction in society. White collar jobs Lived in comfort w/ limits Women key to middle class progressivism The task of running a home became less demanding (w/ new inventions, electricity, etc.) and less fulfilling. By 1900, 85,000 women in higher education.
  • 10. Middle Class Face up to what rich wanted to deny- existence of potentially dangerous class conflict. Rich and poor were alien to each other, but middle class, in the middle, saw each, and had concerns Self-Indulgence Rich: mansions and extravagance Poor: saloons, crime
  • 11. Middle Class Tension between old concept of individualism and the new realities: “individualism is the characteristic of simple barbarism, not republican civilization.” “individualism means tyranny.” “the community has become too often the prey of individuals.”
  • 12. Who are the Progressives? Answer usually centers on the middle class. Broad based movement- virtually everyone fighting for the ‘progressive’ label eventually. The way a whole generation of Americans responded to the problems of America Diverse movement- many groups w/ competing objectives and who had little to do w/ each other. women, blacks, protestant ministers, middle class professionals.
  • 13. Ideals of the Progressives Application of natural sciences to society Social Sciences created in this time Ethical concerns high on the agenda of early social sciences- this a sign of influence of progressives Scientific method to study, analyze and solve problems
  • 14. Ideals of the Progressives Social sciences- role of environment People are creatures of their environment Change environment, change the person Study and cause change in environment and people will be improved This is a challenge to conventional wisdom of individualism.
  • 15. Ideals of the Progressives New definition of Individualism “In modern America the individual could not hope to compete. Slowly realized that they were no longer free.” Did not accept common notion of liberty that had been held up to that point, which equated liberty w/ contract. Free to make contract ≠ free to Progressives- individuals could not freely contract w/ big business. “Wage Slavery” a term which began to be used.
  • 16. Ideals of the Progressives New definition of Individualism Individual liberty needed to include social and moral considerations, not just supply and demand. Issue of fair living wage came to dominate Progressive thinking “An American Standard of Living” Can workers afford the products they make at work?
  • 17. Ideals of the Progressives New definition of Individualism Find an alternative vision- ideal is not accumulation of wealth and property more communitarian- COMMUNITY IS KEY
  • 18. Ideals of the Progressives Faith in progress Optimism Faith that people’s abilities, through purposeful action, can improve conditions of life and society. Can reform capitalism to make it more human don’t have to get rid of capitalism not socialist or communist Intervene in economic and social affairs to control forces (i.e. supply and demand) and impose a measure of control on those forces.
  • 19. Ideals of the Progressives Restrain big business Scale: so large that big businesses were threats to competition and efficiency. End monopoly power. Compel business to care for employees. Compel business to consider safety of work environment and products. Recognize that big business here to stay, so need to regulate since individual cannot compete w/ it.
  • 20. Ideals of the Progressives Use govt. as a tool for improving society Nation/State becomes a moral agent which should set rules of conduct for a just society Not anti-govt. (that govt. which governs best governs least) Laissez faire anathema to liberty and progressivism- just a means of oppression of the many by the few. Government a necessity to set the social conditions for freedom.
  • 21. Ideals of the Progressives Use govt. as a tool for improving society Nation-state a moral actor (contd.) Big government is a counterbalance to big business Who else can control Standard Oil? J.P. Morgan? More faith in executive power than legislative legislatures a long history of corruption executive commissions and agencies w/ experts
  • 22. Ideals of the Progressives Humanize Capitalism more egalitarian more power to ordinary people in citizenry civic harmony to replace friction reject concepts of Social Darwinism
  • 23. Ideals of the Progressives Efficiency Apply Taylorism to society in general Eliminate waste in govt. Study to see what works Don’t waste human resources
  • 24. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Concern about the impact of urbanization and industrialization on morality Destruction of family life in cities and w/ children working, for example “The conditions of life [in the city] are not favorable to purity” according to one RC Bishop. Red light districts, etc.
  • 25. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Humanitarianism seek salvation by reaching out to others in industrial America- in the community Contrast w/ indifference of employers to their employees
  • 26. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Washington Gladden, Applied Christianity: Moral Aspects of Social Questions: set a new style of Christianity- take on social ills. Get involved in politics- don’t leave it to the corrupt.
  • 27. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Charles M. Sheldon, In His Steps (novel), encouraged Christians to ask repeatedly “What would Jesus do?” Not enough to preach at the poor- need to help them Religious folk must confront the problems of society
  • 28. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Walter Rauschenbush (Baptist Minister) Advocate for working people and unions Embrace the “social aims of Jesus” and create the “Kingdom of God on Earth.” “Economic justice is the proper work of all Christians.” “Jesus asked, “Is not a man more than a sheep?” Our industry says, ‘No.’ It is careful of its live stock and machinery, and careless of its human working force. “ “Why should we demand of one of the lowest classes… an unselfish devotion to all society which the upper classes have never shown?” “It is the function of religion to teach the individual to value… his moral integrity more than his income.” “To teach society to value human life more than property, and to value property only insofar as it forms the material basis for higher development of human life.”
  • 29. Ideals of the Progressives Social Gospel Evangelical Protestantism Help purge America from it sins Temperance Not just moral suasion- compel if necessary. Use govt. Many churches/church organizations began to see themselves as supply depots to those in need Knights of Columbus, YMCA
  • 30. Ideals of the Progressives “The idea that social and moral considerations, not simply the law of supply and demand, should determine the level of wages, became a staple of Progressive thought.” Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, p. 144
  • 31. Progressive Agenda Sought a wide host of reforms- a bold effort to reawaken Americans to create a new people living by a new code of conduct. Political, Social, Economic Reforms Muckrakers key in all areas: expose injustice where it exists to create public pressure for reform
  • 32. Jacob Riis Ida Tarbell Upton Sinclair MUCKRAKERS
  • 33. Progressive Agenda: Political Reform Progressives wanted government to follow the public will Reform government Reorganize for efficiency, effectiveness New agencies address particular social ills Posts staffed with experts
  • 34. Interest Groups and the Decline of Popular Politics Decline in voter participation 77% from 1876–1900 65% from 1900–1916 52% in the 1920s remained near 52% through 20th century Interest groups got favorable legislation through lobbying
  • 35. Interest Groups and the Decline of Popular Politics
  • 36. Progressive Agenda: Political Reform Australian (Secret) ballot Direct primaries Direct election of senators Initiative, referendum, recall more direct democracy City managers/commissions heads of city departments elected by the people Manager- an expert hired by the commission to direct the work of various departments
  • 37. Progressive Agenda: Political Reform Professionalism civil service (as opposed to spoils system) Regulatory agencies (Interstate Commerce Commission, for example) Govt. control of public utilities Anti-corruption legislation Restrictions on lobbyists Women’s suffrage
  • 38. Women’s Suffrage Before 1900
  • 39. Progressive Agenda: Social Reform Prohibition Settlement Houses- Jane Addams part of changing environment=changing person School reforms- Dewey Methodologies- more authentic Education should stress personal growth, free inquiry, creativity Get kids out of factory and into school- laws eliminating child labor part of education reforms had to fight resistance of both families and employers on this This a key method of changing the environment
  • 40. Progressive Agenda: Social Reform Juvenile courts Aid to economic Liberalized divorce downtrodden laws Civil rights Safety regulations anti-lynching housing and political rights factories equality?? Reforming Promotion of criminals morality not just punishing stop prostitution limit hours of bars
  • 41. Progressive Agenda: Economic Reform Main goal: control excesses of the rich and of big businesses; govt. restrains big business to prevent it from doing just anything it wishes Anti-Trust legislation Progressive income tax Excessive wealth causing bad behavior among rich- so give some to the poor. Environmental protection Regulate industries to protect public Food safety Drug safety
  • 42. The Republican Roosevelt Often defied convention Brought an exuberance to the presidency Surrounded himself with able associates
  • 43. Busting the Trusts 1902: Wave of trust-busting led by suit against Northern Securities Company 1904: Northern Securities dissolved Roosevelt reputed a quot;trust-busterquot; Comparatively few antitrust cases under Roosevelt, Taft did almost twice as many in half the time
  • 44. quot;Square Dealquot; in the Coalfields 1902: United Mine Workers strike in Pennsylvania threatened U.S. economy U.M.W., companies to White House Roosevelt won company concessions by threatening military seizure of mines Roosevelt acted as broker of interests
  • 45. Roosevelt Progressivism at Its Height 1904—A four-way election Republican—Theodore Roosevelt Democrat—Alton B. Parker Socialist—Eugene V. Debs Prohibition—Silas C. Swallow Roosevelt won 57% of popular vote, 336 electoral votes
  • 46. The Election of 1904
  • 47. Regulating the Railroads 1903: Elkins Act prohibited railroad rebates, strengthened Interstate Commerce Commission Widespread popular demand for further railroad regulation after Roosevelt’s reelection 1906: Hepburn Act further strengthened Interstate Commerce Commission Membership from five to seven May fix reasonable maximum rates Jurisdiction broadened to include oil pipeline, express, sleeping car companies
  • 48. Cleaning Up Food and Drugs Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906) prompted federal investigation of meatpacking industry 1906: Meat Inspection Act Sets rules for sanitary meatpacking Requires government inspection of meat products Samuel Hopkins Adams exposed dangers of patent medicines 1906: Pure Food and Drug Act Required manufacturers to list certain ingredients Banned manufacture and sale of adulterated drugs
  • 49. Conserving the Land First comprehensive national conservation policy Roosevelt worked with Gifford Pinchot, chief of Forest Service Policy defined “conservation” as wise use of natural resources Quadrupled acreage under federal protection
  • 50. National Parks and Forests
  • 51. Conserving the Land (2) Roosevelt’s challenge Attacked “malefactors of great wealth” Criticized conservatism of federal courts Agitated for pro-labor legislation Popular response Business leaders blamed for financial panic Overwhelming majority support
  • 52. The Ordeal of William Howard Taft Taft: Abled administrator, poor president Conservative Republicans resurged Taft lost support of Progressives
  • 53. The Election of 1908
  • 54. Party Insurgency Tariff split Republicans Progressives: high tariff favored trusts Conservatives: high tariff protected business 1909 Payne-Aldrich Act provoked Progressives to break with Taft
  • 55. The Ballinger-Pinchot Affair Gifford Pinchot leading conservationist, Roosevelt appointee Pinchot accused Interior Secretary Richard Ballinger of selling public lands to friends Taft fired Pinchot Progressives antagonized
  • 56. Taft Alienates the Progressives 1910: Taft successfully pushed Mann-Elkins Act to strengthen ICC Empowers ICC to fix railroad rates Progressive Republicans attacked Taft’s plan of a Commerce Court to hear ICC appeals Progressives obstructed Taft’s negotiations 1910: Taft attacked Progressive Republicans, Democrats gained Congress
  • 57. Taft Alienates the Progressives Legislation protecting laborers Sixteenth Amendment created income tax Taft a greater trustbuster than Roosevelt Taft, Roosevelt attackd one another publicly 1912: Taft renominated by Republicans, little chance for victory
  • 58. Differing Philosophies in the Election of 1912 Roosevelt: Progressive (quot;Bull Moosequot;) “New Nationalism” Federal regulation of economy Wasteful competition replaced by efficiency Woodrow Wilson: Democrat quot;New Freedomquot; for individual Restrain big business, government Democrats won White House, Congress
  • 59. Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom Woodrow Wilson: Former president of Princeton, governor of New Jersey Progressive, intellectual, inspiring orator One of America's most effective presidents
  • 60. The New Freedom in Action 1913: Underwood Tariff cut duties 1913: Federal Reserve Act reformed banks, established stable currency 1914: Clayton Antitrust Act outlawed unfair trade practices, protected unions 1914: Federal Trade Commission
  • 61. New Freedom in Action: Retreating from Reform November, 1914: Wilson announces quot;New Freedomquot; has been achieved It was “a time of healing because a time of just dealing” Statement stunned many progressives
  • 62. Wilson Moves Toward the New Nationalism Reasons for the move Distracted by the outbreak of war in Europe Needed conservative Southern support Republicans seemed to gain by attacking his programs 1916: Presidential election
  • 63. Wilson Moves Toward the New Nationalism Wilson renewed reform in reelection bid Federal Farm Loan Act Intervened in strikes on behalf of workers Attempted to ban child labor Increased income taxes on the rich Supported women’s suffrage Program won Wilson a close election
  • 64. The Fruits of the Progressivism Reform of government at all levels Intelligent planning of reform World War I ends Progressive optimism