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The Progressive Era
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The Progressive Era



Lecture over Progressivism developed for College level survey of US History.

Lecture over Progressivism developed for College level survey of US History.



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The Progressive Era The Progressive Era Presentation Transcript

  • Progressivism
    Reform in the late 19th-early 20th century
  • Progressivism
    Dominated US politics from 1890s to 1920s
    Advocated social reform through government
    WWI ended progressivism
    Progressivism is often considered the beginning of liberalism in American politics
    Liberal or progressive
    Person willing to accept change
    Person resistant to change
    Reactionary: wants to undo progress and return to some “ideal time” in past
  • Problems in America
    Huge gap between rich and poor
    Rich had the political power and did nothing for problems of America’s poor and working class
    Politics was corrupt
    Machines dominated city political scene
    Working class lived in squalid slums where health was poor and conditions atrocious
    Pay was low and working conditions unsafe
    View slide
  • Progressivism
    Reaction to:
    “extremes” of modern life
    Capitalism & individualism
    Urbanization & Industrialization
    Labor conflict
    Environmental exploitation
    Social “problems”
    View slide
  • Images of the progressive era society
  • Images of the progressive era society
    Terrible slum conditions in America’s cities
  • Images of the progressive era society
    Meatpacking industry—terrible, filthy, dangerous as revealed in the Jungle
  • Images of the progressive era society
    Corruption dominated politics
  • Images of the progressive era society
    Race relations included widespread mob violence against Blacks— lynchings were common!
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
    Ultimate Unsafe Working Conditions: Women factory workers locked in upper story workrooms; jumped to death or burned alive when factory caught on fire!
  • Immigrant Slums
  • Images of the progressive era society
  • Progressivism
    Muckrakers—drove the movement w/information
    Reporters in magazines like McClure’s
    at right is front of McClure’s issue, Jan. 1901
  • Famous Muckrakers
    Ida Tarbell
    History of the
    Standard Oil Company
    Lincoln Steffens
    Shame of the Cities
  • 1908--Jack London writes novel warning of the rise of fascism
  • Muckrakers
    Jacob Riis
    How the Other Half Lives (1890)
    Exposed the horrible slum conditions of New York City
  • Upton Sinclair
    Wanted to write an expose of life of immigrants in Chicago slums
    Set in meat packing business
    The Jungle
    Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food & Drug Act
    “I aimed for their hearts, but I hit them in the stomach”
  • Progressives and Labor: Mother Jones
    Born in Ireland 1830;
    Died 1930; stopped working as labor organizer in 1922
    “The Miner’s Angel”
    First involved with KOL
    Organizer for United Mine Workers in 1890
    Arrested & jailed repeatedly
    One of most feared women in America by Mine Owners
  • Progressives and Labor: Eugene V. Debs
    1893 organized first industrial union in US: American Railway Union (ARU)
    1894 struck Great Northern
    1894 Pullman boycott
    Ran as candidate on Socialist Party ticket for pres. 5 times, once from jail cell
  • Progressives and Labor: IWW
    Industrial Workers of the World
    Founded Chicago 1905
    All workers should unite together, regardless of job, skill, etc.
    Political action as well as “direct action”
  • Progressives and Labor: Clayton Act
    Granted workers the right to organize without violating Sherman Anti-Trust
    Limited use of injunctions against unions
    Called the “Magna Carta” of American labor movement
  • Progressivism
    Some states had progressive governors
    Robert “Battling Bob” LaFollette from Wisconsin
  • Progressivism
    Settlement Houses
    Jane Addams
    Hull House
    Chicago 1889
    Run by middle-class women to provide services to poor
  • Successes of Movement
    Political reforms
    Initiative and referendum adopted in many states
    Secret Ballot first adopted in Wisconsin as well as direct primary elections
    16th Amendment passed –graduated income tax
    17th Amendment - Direct Election of Senators 1913
  • Successes of Movement
    Women's Rights
    National American Women’s Suffrage Association under Carrie Chapman Catt
    National Women’s Party under Alice Paul
    19th Amendment in 1919
  • Successes of Movement
    The first woman elected to Congress Jeannette Rankin introduced the bill which became the l9th Amendment -- Susan B. Anthony Amendment
  • Successes of Movement
    Other feminist areas
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman urged economic independence for women
    Margaret Sanger–reproductive rights (birth control movement)
  • Progressive Failures
    Race Relations and Civil Rights
    Many progressives were racists
    No significant steps taken to challenge Jim Crow laws of south
    Teddy Roosevelt had Booker T Washington to dinner at White House
    Wilson, born in south, was racist
  • Jim Crow Laws
    In the South mostly (but other areas, too)
    Laws designed to undo the rights guaranteed African Americans during Reconstruction
    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) “separate but equal” does not violate 14th Amendment
    Williams v Mississippi (1898) poll tax, literacy test does not violate 14th Amendment
  • Jim Crow
    Most former slaves found themselves working as sharecroppers in the South
  • Crop Lien System
    Each area had “furnishing merchants” who sold the tenant farmers things on credit
    Charged interest
    Had a lien on the crop until paid back
    Because of falling prices, debt could not be paid
    Farmer in “debt slavery” and could not leave
  • Jim Crow Laws
    After Plessy, laws enforced separate:
    Public places of all sorts
    Waiting rooms, water fountains, restrooms (often not provided), hotels, dining rooms
    Miscegenation laws passed
    Separate schools by law
    Jury duty banned
  • Booker T. Washington
    "Atlanta Compromise", Washington called for education, self-help, and accommodation to whites. He believed that by making himself economically necessary to white society, the black man would eventually gain equal rights and respect.
  • W.E.B.DuBois
    Harvard professor history
    Helped to found Niagara Movement in 1905
    opposite to the ideas of Washington
    the first collective attempt by African-Americans to demand full citizen rights in the 20th century
    NAACP 1909
  • Progressive Presidents
    Teddy Roosevelt
    Became president after McKinley assassinated by Leon Czolgosz
    Nation’s first forester, Gifford Pinchot
  • Roosevelt’s Accomplishments
    Main strengths of progressivism came in areas of conservation
    Got Newlands Reclamation Act passed in 1902 for irrigation projects in the West
    Set aside millions of acres under Forest Reserve Act including 85 million acres in Alaska
    Created 5 new National Parks such as Crater Lake in Oregon and Mesa Verde in Colorado
    Created the first National Monument, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming
    51 wildlife sanctuaries created
  • William Howard Taft
    Hand-picked by TR as his successor
    fired Gifford Pinchot
    only American to have served as both president of the US and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
    Stuck in White House bathtub
    Had large tub installed
  • Taft
    Taft was also the first president to throw out the opening pitch in baseball and created the custom of the seventh inning stretch and was president when the Titanic went down
    Teddy & Taft had falling out & in election of 1912, Teddy ran against Taft on Bull Moose Party
    Wilson won when TR split Republican vote
  • Woodrow Wilson
    Progressive record mainly in business
    Departments of Labor and of Commerce
    Federal Reserve Act
    Federal Trade Commission Act passed in 1914
    Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)
    Keating-Owen Child Labor Act (1916)
    Federal worker’s comp law
    9 hour workday for fed employees & 8 hr for RR
  • Progressivism
    Progressives tried to spread themselves too thin over too many areas of concern. This confused workers and supporters. But progressives succeeded in several areas, especially political reforms and business reforms. They failed in areas like civil rights soundly and all-too-often attempted to force upon a multi-cultural society values of the white middle class.