PROGRESSIVE ROOTSIn 1900 nearly one in seven was foreign-born. In the next 14 years, 13 million moremigrants would carry their bundles down the gangplanks to the land of promise.
Hardly had the 20th century begun when a great reform movement, the like of which thecountry had not seen since the 1840’s, swept the land. The new crusaders, who calledthemselves “progressives,” waged war on many evils. What were the targets of theprogressives? And what was their battle cry? Explain the core belief of theirmovement?Explain the roots of this progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century.Provide some examples of writers and their books that sparked reforms. What roledid women play in this crusade?
Progressive reformers, such as Jacob Riis, revealed to more affluent Americans the realities of the“other America.” His pictures and public lectures led to reforms in urban America.
Many observers in the progressive erasaw poverty as proof of the moralweakness of the poor.For others, poverty and the glaringinequalities of wealth in America wereevidence of the immorality of a societybased on capitalism.What perspective does this famousimage, by William Balfour Ker, entitled“From the Depths,” convey?Why are the poor positioned under thefloor and in the dark? Are their handssupporting the scene or seeking todisrupt it?
RAKING MUCK with the MUCKRAKERS Beginning about 1902 the exposing of evil became a flourishing industry among American publishers. Identify some of the periodicals that were popular in that day. Were these publications popular with the public?
Who coined the term, “muckraker?” What was his attitude towards thesejournalists?Were the muckrakers deterred? Why?
Identify the key muckraking journalists, their periodicals, and their targets forreform.
Upton Sinclair Lincoln Steffens
POLITICAL PROGRESSIVISMProgressive reformers were mainly middle-class men and women who felt themselvessqueezed from above and below. What were their two simultaneous goals? Were theyand their attitudes in the minority in America at the time?
One of the first objectives of progressives was to regain the power that had slippedfrom the hands of the people into those of the “interests.” What specific reforms didthey pursue? Which one in particular met resistance? Why? What was the fateof this reform?
How did woman suffrage fare during this period of reform?
Opponents of women’s suffrage long argued that a woman’s place was in the home, not inpolitics. But suffragists like Carrie Chapman & Jane Addams began to turn that argumenton its head by stressing the roles that women already played outside the home.
They further argued that modern womenneeded the vote in order to fulfill theirtraditional duties as homemakers andmothers.
PROGRESSIVISM in the CITIES and STATES How did progressives fare at the state level compared to the national level? What were some of the progressive’s targets? * Muller v. Oregon (1908) * Lochner v. New York (1905) * Eighteenth Amendment (1919)
TR’s SQUARE DEAL for LABORTR, although something of an imperialistic busybody abroad, was touched by theprogressive wave at home. He feared that the “public interest” was being submerged inthe drifting seas of indifference. Why was his personality perfectly suited for thiscrusade?Identify the three C’s of TR’s Square Deal.Explain the first “true test” of TR’s Square Deal. What was the outcome?What was TR’s answer to the mounting antagonisms between labor & management?
TR CORRALS the CORPORATIONSThe sprawling railroad octopus sorely needed restraint. Describe the followinglegislation to curb rail injustices: * Elkins Act (1903) * Hepburn Act (1906)Was TR anti-trust? Describe his pragmatic approach? Do you agree with hisphilosophy?
Is the legend of TR as a“trustbuster” accurate? Explain.What was his primary motivationfor assaulting some trusts?
CARING for the CONSUMERDescribe the Meat Inspection Act (1906). What factors prompted TR to pushCongress to pass this legislation?Describe the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906).
EARTH CONTROLConcerning America’s environment, what had been the traditional American attitude?What impact was this attitude having? In the midst of this environmentaldestruction, TR warned that Americans would have to change their destructive ways, orAmerica would sink from resource richness to despoiled dearth.
Conservationists like Gifford Pinchot, who advocated that national resources be utilizedefficiently, faced two enemies: on the one hand, commercial interests that exploitednatural resources, and on the other hand, preservationists like John Muir who celebratedthe beauty of nature and wanted to preserve it unspoiled for all time. Which of theseimages would TR have endorsed? Why?
Pieces of legislation that were passedto promote conservatism (pre-TR): * Desert Land Act (1877) * Forest Reserve Act (1891) * Carey Act (1894) Legislation that was passed to promoteconservatism under TR: * Newlands Act (1902) * Forest Service * Bureau of Reclamation
Conservation, including reclamation, may have been TR’s most enduring tangibleachievement. In TR’s eyes, he had to battle on two fronts: against greedy commercialinterests who abused nature, as well as against romantic preservationists in thrall tosimple “woodman-spare-that-tree” sentimentality.TR promoted a policy of “multiple-use resource management.” This sought to combinerecreation, sustained-yield logging, watershed protection, and summer grazing on thesame expanse of federal land.
Despite consistent resistance from the special interest groups, TR’s efforts and policiesmade a positive difference. To the end of his life, he considered his environmentalefforts to be amongst his most important legacies to the country.
THE “ROOSEVELT PANIC” of 1907 TR was handily elected president “in his own right” in 1904 and entered his new term buoyed by his enormous personal popularity. Yet the conservative Republican bosses considered him as dangerous and unpredictable as a rattlesnake. They were concerned as TR called for more regulation, taxing incomes, and protecting workers. What political blunder did TR commit that would come back to haunt him? TR suffered a sharp setback in 1907, when a short but punishing panic descended on Wall Street. The financial world blamed TR; TR blamed wealthy conservatives for engineering the downturn. Fortunately the panic of 1907 paved the way for long-overdue fiscal reforms – explain. What was the Aldrich-Vreeland Act.
THE ROUGH RIDER THUNDERS OUT Still popular in 1908, TR could easily have won a second presidential nomination and almost certainly the election. But he felt bound by his impulsive promise after his victory in 1904. TR sought a successor who would carry out “my policies”. The man of his choice was amiable, ample-girthed, and huge-framed William Howard Taft, a mild progressive. As an heir apparent, he had been called upon in TR’s absence to “sit on the lid” At the Republican convention of 1908 in Chicago, TR used his control of the party machinery to push through Taft’s nomination on the first ballot. The Democrats in Denver nominated twice- beaten William Jennings Bryan.
The dull campaign of 1908 featured therotund Taft and the now-balding “BoyOrator” both trying to don theprogressive Roosevelt mantle.Taft read cut-and-driedspeeches, while Bryan griped that TRhad stolen his policies.A majority of voters chose stabilitywith Roosevelt-endorsed Taft.The election’s only surprise came fromthe Socialists, who polled 420,793votes for Eugene V. Debs, the hero ofthe Pullman strike of 1894.
TR, ever in the limelight, left soon after the election for a lion hunt in Africa. How wasTR branded by his adversaries? Were these labels accurate? What credit does TRdeserve?TR’s enthusiasm & perpetual youthfulness appealed to the young of all ages – some of hiscolleagues believed that he had the maturity of a child. Identify the contributions ofthe Roosevelt Administration.
TAFT: A ROUND PEG in a SQUARE HOLE Taft at first inspired widespread confidence. Identify the lethal political handicaps that plagued “good old Will.” Taft was no doubt a mild progressive, but at heart he was more wedded to the status quo than to change. And significantly, his cabinet did not contain a single representative of the party’s “insurgent” wing, which was on fire for reform.
THE DOLLAR GOES ABROAD as a DIPLOMATThe brand of “dollar diplomacy” was stamped, somewhat unfairly, on the foreign policy ofthe Taft Administration.This concept had two components: using foreign policy to protect Wall Street dollarsinvested abroad and using Wall Street dollars to uphold foreign policy. The first aspectwas grossly overplayed by Taft’s critics; the second aspect was widely misunderstood.Describe “dollar diplomacy” in action in China and Latin America.
TAFT the TRUSTBUSTERTaft managed to gain some fame as a smasher of monopolies. The ironic truth is that thecolorless Taft brought 90 suits against the trusts during his 4 year term as comparedwith some 44 for TR’s 7 ½ years.The Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the mighty Standard Oil Company, whilehanding down its famous “rule of reason.” Which anti-trust suit infuriated Roosevelt?Why? To TR, Taft was increasingly taking on the role of antagonist – the stage was setfor a bruising confrontation.
TAFT SPLITS the REPUBLICAN PARTY How did the Payne-Aldrich Bill contribute to the splitting of the Republican party? In conservation, Taft claimed some noteworthy accomplishments, including the establishment of the Bureau of Mines and a variety of regulation. But how did the Ballinger-Pinchot quarrel negate his many accomplishments and further divide his party? The reformist wing of the Republican party was up in arms, while Taft was being pushed increasingly into the stand-pat Old Guard. TR added fuel to the fire by giving a fiery speech promoting the doctrine known as the “New Nationalism” – urging the national govt. to increase its power to remedy economic & social abuses. Weakened by the split, the Republicans lost badly in the congressional elections of 1910.
THE TAFT-ROOSEVELT RUPTUREThe insurgent uprising in Republican ranks blossomed into a full-fledged revolt. Early in1911 the National Progressive Republican League was formed, with Sen. La Follette ofWisconsin as its leading presidential candidate. TR was supposedly not interested incandidacy.But the restless TR changed his views as he saw Taft, hand-in-glove with the hated OldGuard. In Feb. 1912 he formally indicated that he was willing to accept the Republicannomination – what his rationale about violating the third-term tradition? Thus, TRseized the progressive banner from La Follete.In the split Republican convention at Chicago in 1912, Taft won the nomination over TR.TR, the good sportsman, proved to be a poor loser. Having tasted bitter defeat, he wasnow on fire to lead a third-party crusade.