1. Protecting social welfare
2. Promoting moral improvement
3. Creating economic reform
4. Fostering efficiency
4 Goals of Progressives
Aimed to restore economic
opportunities and correct
injustices in american life.
Protecting Social Welfare
YMCA – opened libraries, sponsored classes, and
built swimming pools and handball courts.
Salvation Army fed poor people in soup kitchens,
cared for children, and teachers of values to
improving the lives of
women and children.
inspector at factories.
After she helped win
passage of the Illinois
Factory Act in 1893.
-it prohibited child
labor and limited
P R O H I B I T I O N – T H E B A N N I N G O F
A L C O H O L I C B E V E R A G E S
Promoting Moral Improvement
Prohibitionist groups felt that alcohol was
undermining American morals.
WCTC – founded in Cleveland in 1874
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
Spearheaded the crusade for prohibition.
Members would enter saloons and sing, pray, and urge
saloonkeepers to stop selling alcohol.
movement from a small
religious group to a
Largest women’s group in
the nation’s history.
Opened kindergartens for immigrants
Visited inmates in prison
Worked for suffrage
Founded in 1895
Sought to close saloons
Immigrants grew angry because they liked alcohol
Also, saloons cashed paychecks and served meals.
Creating Economic Reform
Eugene V. Debs –
organized the American
Socialist Party in 1901.
Commented on uneven
balance among big
and ordinary people.
Journalists who wrote
about the corrupt side of
business and public life
in mass circulation
Ida B. Tarbell wrote
“History of the Standard
Oil Company”, an article
in McClure’s Magazine.
Many progressives put faith in
experts and scientific principles.
“Brandeis brief” – Oregon lawyer
Louis D. Brandeis was defending an
Oregon law that limited women
factory workers to 10 hour days.
He looked at scientific data that
showed the high cost of long hours
both to the individual and society.
Frederick Winslow Taylor
Began using time and
motion studies to
improve efficiency by
breaking tasks into
(The assembly line)
Not all people can work at the same rate.
High worker turn over – often due to injuries
suffered by fatigued workers.
Cleaning up Local Government
1900 – Hurricane in Galveston
Local government officials botched the rebuilding job
TX legislature appointed a 5 member commission to take over.
Each expert took charge of a different department.
The city adopted the commission idea as a local government and
other cities followed.
1913 – flood in Ohio
Led to adoption of the council-manager form of govt.
People elect a city council to make laws.
Hazen Pingree of Detroit
- introduced progressive reforms
fairer tax structure
work relief for unemployed
rooted out corruption
city workers built schools, parks, and a municipal lighting plant.
Tom Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio
Greedy private owners of utilities
Converted utilities to publicly owned enterprises.
believed citizens should play an active role in city
Reform at the State Level
Robert M. La Follette – Republican
Governor of Wisconsin – 3 terms
Major target was the railroad industry
Taxed railroad property same as other business property
Set up a commission to regulate rates
State officials – no free passes on rr
Other governors who attacked big business were
Protecting Working Children
More prone to accidents due to fatigue
Many developed health problems
Suffered from stunted growth
1904 National Child Labor Committee sent
investigators to gather evidence of children working
in harsh conditions.
Organized exhibitions – used photographs and statistics
Joined by labor union members
Keating-Owen Act - 1916
Prohibited the transportation across state lines of
goods produced with child labor.
2 yrs. Later it was declared unconstitutional by the
Reformers did succeed in nearly every state by
effecting legislation that banned child labor and set a
maximum number of hours for laborers.
Efforts to Limit Working Hours
1908 – Case of Muller v. Oregon
Louis Brandeis – (Florence Kelley, Josephine Goldmark)
Argued that poor working women were economically insecure
Women required the state’s protection
Won 10 hour work day for women
1917 – persuaded the Court to uphold a 10 hour
workday for men.
Progressives succeeded in winning worker’s
compensation to aid the families of workers who
were hurt or killed on the job.
1902 - Maryland was the first state to pass legislation requiring
employers to pay benefits in these cases.
William S. U’Ren – prompted his state of Oregon
the secret ballot.
Also called the Australian ballot
Initiative – a bill originated by the people rather
than lawmakers, on the ballot.
Citizens could petition to place one.
Referendum – a way in which voters accepted or
rejected the initiative. (Voting on the initiative)
Recall – enabled voters to remove public officials
from elected positions by forcing them to fade
another election before the end of their term if
enough voters asked for it.
1899 – Minnesota passed the first statewide primary
Enabled voters to elect candidates for public office through a
special popular election.
Direct Election of Senators
17th Amendment – direct primary paved the way.
1912 – ratified in 1913 – made direct election of senators the
law of the land.
Women in the Work Force
Women’s roles in the South and Midwest had not changed
Plowed and planted in the fields
Women in Industry
1900 – 1/5 American women held jobs
25% working in manufacturing
50% garment trade
least skilled positions
paid about ½ as much as the men they worked
New Jobs for Women
All required a high school education
1890 women high school grads outnumbered men.
Required no formal education
Cleaned for other families
Many were former slaves or immigrants
1870 – 70% of women employed were servants.
Women Lead Reform
Reasons for reform:
Female industrial workers pushed for reform,
especially after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911.
Upper and middle class women
Discussed art or literature
½ million members by 1910
Sometimes grew into reform groups addressing issues such as
temperance or child labor.
Women in Higher Education
Vassar College –
Many women activists had attended here
Opened in 1865
Smith and Wesley Colleges - 1875
Columbia, Brown, and Harvard refused to admit
women, but established separate colleges for them.
Options for Women
Marriage was no longer their only option
Many college educated women in the late 1800’s
never married, choosing to keep their independence.
Many of them applied their skills to social reform.
Women and Reform
Women either strengthened existing reform groups
or formed new ones.
Sought to improve conditions at home and work.
Food and drug laws
National Association of Colored Women
Formed 1896 by African American women
Merged 2 earlier organizations
Managed nurseries, reading rooms, and kindergartens.
Seneca Falls convention in 1848
Women split over the 14th and 15th amendments
Granted equal rights to African American men, but excluded
Susan B. Anthony
Leading proponent of
Founded in 1869 by
Anthony and Cady
1890 united with another
group to become the
National Woman Suffrage
Other leaders – Lucy Stone
and Julia Ward Howe
3-Part Strategy for Suffrage
1. tried to convince state legislatures to grant women
the right to vote.
Wyoming – 1869 1st state to allow women voters
Utah, Colorado, and Idaho followed.
After 1869, efforts in other states failed.
2. pursued court cases to test the 14th
14th – declares that states denying their male citizens the right to
vote would lose congressional representation.
1872 – Susan B. Anthony and other women attempted to vote at least
150 times in ten states and the District of Columbia.
1875 – the Supreme Court ruled that women were
citizens, but that did not give them the right to vote.
3. pushed for a national constitutional amendment
to grant women the vote.
It was introduced in California and was killed later
41 yrs. This cycle continued.
Wrote The Jungle
Novel about the human
condition of the
stockyards in Chicago.
Instead of Americans
feeling pity for the
workers, they were
repulsed by the conditions
of the meatpacking
Roosevelt was also
repulsed by the
Rough Riding President
1900 – gov. of NY
Ran as McKinley’s VP
City bosses of NY wanted
to get rid of him.
McKinley served 6 months
of his second term and
Born into a wealthy family
Boxed and wrestled
3 terms in NY State
NY city’s police
Assistant Sec. of the U.S.
Grabbed national attention
when he advocated war
against Spain in 1898.
Won public acclaim for
its role in the battle at
San Juan Hill in Cuba.
Roosevelt became a hero
and was elected gov. of
NY and later VP.
The Modern Presidency
1901 – at 42 he became
the youngest president
Still enjoyed boxing,
horseback riding, etc.
Used his personality and
popularity to advance his
Became the model by which all future presidents
would be measured.
Thought the federal govt. should assume control
when states could not deal with problems.
Saw the presidency as a “bully pulpit” in which he
could influence news media and shape legislation.
If big business victimized workers, he would see to it
that the common people received what he called a
Square Deal – term used to describe the various
progressive reforms sponsored by the Roosevelt
Using Federal Power
His knowledge of history convinced him that
America required a powerful government.
He did not believe all trusts were harmful
Wanted to curb actions of those that weren’t fair
1902 – he ordered the Justice Department to sue the Northern
Securities Company, which had established a monopoly over
the nw railroads.
1904 the Supreme Court dissolved the company
He filed 44 antitrust suits and won many of them
Broke up some of the trusts
1902 Coal Strike –
140,000 coal miners went on strike in Pennsylvania
Demanded 20% raise, 9 hr. work day, right to organize a
Lasted 5 months – coal reserves were running low
Roosevelt called both sides to the White House to talk.
He threatened to take over the mine.
Arbitration commission listened to both sides
Miners won 10% pay hike and a 9 hr. work day.
Could not strike or form a union for 3 yrs.
2 results –
Citizens now expect the govt. to intervene when a strike
threatens public welfare.
Citizens believe that disputes can be settled in an orderly way
with the help of experts.
Roosevelt wanted federal regulation
Interstate Commerce Act, ICC
Roosevelt urged Congress to move and the Elkins Act
Elkins Act – 1903 made it illegal for rr officials to
give, and shippers to receive, rebates for using
Railroads could not change set rates without notifying the
Hepburn Act – 1906
Limited the distribution of free railroad passes
Gave ICC power to set maximum railroad rates.
Its passage boosted the government’s power to regulate
Health and the Environment
Regulating Foods and Drugs
Roosevelt read Sinclair’s The Jungle and appointed a
commission of experts to investigate the meatpacking
The commission issued a report that supported Sinclair’s
1906 – Roosevelt pushed for passage of the Meat Inspection
It dictated strict cleanliness requirements for meatpackers
Created the program of federal meat inspection that was in use
until it was replaced.
Govt. - paid for inspections
Did not require companies to label their canned goods with date of
Meatpackers were granted the right to appeal negative
decisions in court.
Pure Food and Drug Act
Before action was taken companies could say
anything about their products.
Children’s medicines contained opium, cocaine, or
Dr. Harvey Washington complained that harmful
preservatives were being put in foods.
1906 – PFD Act
Halted the sale of contaminated foods and medicines
Called for truth in labeling.
Conservation and Natural Resources
Roosevelt made conservation a primary concern
Set aside 148 million acres of forest reserves
1.5 million acres of water power sites
80 million for exploration of mineral and water resources
50 wildlife sanctuaries
Several national parks
National Reclamation Act of 1902
Money from the sale of public lands funded large-scale
Established the precedent that the federal government would
manage the water resources of the West.
Roosevelt and Civil Rights
Often accused of not doing enough
Invited Booker T. Washington to the White House
Faced opposition from W.E.B. Du Bois who thought
he was indifferent to racial injustice.
1909 – Du Bois and other black and prominent white
reformers formed the NAACP – National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People.
Wanted full equality among races.
Investigative reporting that uncovered corruption
Ida M. Tarbell – “The History of the Standard Oil
Upton Sinclair – “The Jungle”
Lincoln Steffens –
Leading figure of the
Exposed business and
govt. corruption in
Stories are collected in 2
“The Shame of the Cities”
The Struggle for Self-
Secretary of War for
Hand picked by
Roosevelt to run against
William Jennings Bryan
Taft won the election
Busted 90 trusts in his 4 yr. term
Could not subdue troublesome members of his party.
1st problem – tariffs and conservation
Payne bill – lowered rates on imported goods
Senate proposed an alternative bill – Aldrich bill
Aldrich bill – made fewer cuts
Payne – Aldrich Tariff – only moderated the high rates
Taft defended it
2nd problem – Disputing Public Lands
Taft appt. Richard Ballinger as his secretary
Ballinger disagreed w/conservatives
He removed 1 million acres of forest and mining lands from the
reserve list and returned it to the public domain.
2 govt. officials accused Ballinger of letting commercial interests
exploit natural resources that belonged to the public.
Taft supported Ballinger and fired Pinchot – one of the accusers.
The Republican Party Splits
Conservatives split over
Taft’s support of political
boss Joseph Cannon.
Joseph Cannon –
chairman of House Rules
Weakened or ignored Progressive bills
Republicans and Democrats wanted to strip him of his power
3/1910 – The House elected the Committee on Rules and
excluded the Speaker from membership in the committee.
1910 – The Republican party was in shambles
Bull Moose Party
1912 – Roosevelt decided to run for office a 3rd time.
Republican Progressives formed a 3rd party – The
Roosevelt was nominated for president.
Bull Moose = Progressive Party
Got the name Bull Moose because Roosevelt said he was as
strong as a bull moose.
direct election of senators
Adoption in all states of the initiative, referendum, and recall
Women’s suffrage worker’s compensation
8 hr. work day min. wage for women
Law against child labor federal trade commission to reg. bus.
The split in the Republican party gave the Democrats
a chance at the White House.
1912- Democrat Woodrow Wilson was nominated
Reform gov. of NJ
Democrats Win 1912
Wilson endorsed a progressive platform called the
Demanded stronger anti-trust legislation, banking
reform, and reduced tariffs.
Taft and Roosevelt were name calling
Wilson stayed out of the fight and won the election.
Wilson’s New Freedom
Background – from the South
Son of Presbyterian minister
Former lawyer, history professor, and president of Princeton
Two Key Antitrust Measures
Clayton Antitrust Act – 1914
Strengthen the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
Prohibited corporations from acquiring the stock of another if
doing so would create a monopoly.
If a company violated a law the officers would be prosecuted.
Specified that labor unions and farm organizations had the
right to exist but would no longer be subject to anti-trust laws.
Strikes, picketing, boycotts became legal
Federal Trade Commission
Given the power to investigate possible violations of regulatory
Could require reports from corporations, and put an end to a
number of unfair business practices.
Under Wilson, FTC administered almost 400 cease-and-desist
orders to companies engaged in illegal activity.
A New Tax System
Summoned Congress to a special session to plead his
Established the precedent of delivering the State of the Union
Address in person.
Battled with senators and lobbyists for the Underwood Act on
He urged citizens to monitor their senator’s votes.
Senate voted to cut tariff rates even more than the House had
Federal Income Tax
Govt. had to replace the revenue the tariffs supplied
16th amendment legalized a graduated federal
Provided revenue by taxing individual earnings and corporate
Larger incomes taxed at higher rates than smaller incomes.
Today it is the government’s main source of revenue.
Federal Reserve System
A decentralized banking system under federal
Divided the nation into 12 districts.
Established a central bank in each district.
Could issue new paper currency in emergency situations
Member banks could use the new currency to make loans to
Could transfer $ to member banks in trouble.
Still serves as the basis of the nation’s banking system.
Women Win Suffrage
Women continued to fight for the right to vote.
They saw the possibility of success with the results of
3 new developments:
The increased activism of local groups
The use of bold new strategies to build enthusiasm for the
Rebirth of the national movement under Carrie Chapman Catt
Local Suffrage Battles
Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government
College Equal Suffrage League
Used door to door campaigns to reach supporters
Trolley tours with women speakers
Used bold tactics
Carrie Chapman Catt
President of NAWSA
Succeeded Susan B.
Organized tactics for
Formed the NY Women’s
Lucy Burns and Alice Paul formed a radical
organization, the Congressional Union and its
successor, the National Woman’s Party.
Pressured govt. officials
Picketed the White House “round the clock” 1917
Some were arrested, jailed, and force fed when they attempted
a hunger strike.
The acts of women suffragists and America’s
involvement in WWI finally brought about the 19th
19th Amendment – passed in 1919, ratified 1920
Gave women the right to vote
The Limits of Progressivism
Wilson and Civil Rights
Wilson retreated on civil rights when in office
During the election of 1912 he promised to speak out against
lynching and support equality among races.
He would not address lynching once in office.
The Capitol and federal offices which had been desegregated
were segregated soon after Wilson’s election.
11/12/1914 – Wilson allowed an African American
delegation to enter the White House.
The delegation was led by William Monroe Trotter
Accused Wilson of increasing segregation and not delivering
what he had promised.
Wilson grew angry and asked the delegation to leave.
Twilight of Progressivism
“There’s no chance of progress and reform in an
administration in which war plays the principal part.”
Woodrow Wilson, 1913
Wilson realized that the war demanded America’s
Reform efforts stalled and all attention was placed
on the war.
The Progressive Era had come to an end.