The Progressive Era

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The Progressive Era

  1. 1. Goal #1 – Chapter 18
  2. 2. Overview  The perceived excesses of business and industry coupled with growing social concerns inspired reformers to make important improvements in America’s political and social environment.  These reformers were known as Progressives. The Progressive Era marks the second definitive era of social and political reform, comparable to the reform movements of the 1840’s.  Progressive reforms strengthened American democracy in ways carried forward into present times. Sadly, these reforms did not extend to all parts of American society as African Americans found themselves left out of reform efforts when southern whites continued to deny basic rights to black citizens.
  3. 3. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle  The Jungle (1906) was an intended exposé on the dangerous     working conditions faced by immigrant workers but instead is remembered as an exposé on the Chicago meatpacking industry. In 1904, Upton Sinclair was sent by a socialist magazine to work undercover in the Chicago meatpacking industry. In his undercover research, Sinclair learned about all aspects of the meatpacking industry and about the lives of the immigrant workers who made up its workforce. The novel took two years to be published because of its horrific subject matter and it was an instant success. The role of the government was expanded by these efforts to protect the U.S. population and to require regulation of business practices.
  4. 4. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle  Just as Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought the issue of abolition into middle class homes of the1850’s, Sinclair’s novel had a similar effect in rousing the middle class in calling for action against unsafe food packaging and preparation practices.  Popular history has President Theodore Roosevelt reading the novel at breakfast and resolving to take action against the practices described by the novelist.  The Jungle served as an impetus for passage of laws to regulate the meatpacking industry, to require meat packers to produce food that was safe to consume, and, ultimately, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
  5. 5. Women’s Role in the Progressive Era  By the last quarter of the 19th century, many middle class women had received considerable education and society still respected women as nurturers and agents of stability.  Women used this influence and their educational attainment to advocate for social change.  These reforms included a re-born temperance movement, women’s suffrage, sanitation, educational reforms, and attacks on racism.  Women, such as Jane Addams, played a huge role in improving the lives of the urban poor, especially immigrant women and children who were forced by circumstance to work and live in dangerous and unhealthy conditions.
  6. 6. Women’s Role in the Progressive Era  Jane Addams (1860-1935) was the founder of the Settlement      House Movement in the United States. The Settlement House Movement began in urban England as a way of helping the poor by using donations from the wealthy in an effort to improve the lives of the destitute. Addams decided to create similar settlement house in Chicago after visiting Toynbee House in London, England. She founded Hull House in 1889 in an immigrant community for the purpose of provide educational opportunities for immigrants, especially immigrant women. By 1893, Hull House was serving 2000 clients. Addams was also gradually drawn into advocating for legislative reforms at the municipal, state, and federal levels, addressing issues such as child labor, healthcare, and immigration. Later, Addams also became actively involved in women’s suffrage and was a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  7. 7. Jim Crow Laws (1876 – 1965)  Following the end of Reconstruction, white Democrats regained     power in southern legislatures, and, beginning in 1876, ten of the eleven former Confederate states had created a legal framework for separating whites and African-Americans known as “Jim Crow laws”. The initial purpose of Jim Crow laws was to prevent AfricanAmericans from participating in the political process, including voting, serving in office, and participating in jury trials. Gradually, Jim Crow laws were extended to include public education, transportation, and other public facilities. There were separate water fountains, waiting rooms, and restrooms for whites and African-Americans. The laws were supposed to provide “separate but equal” facilities but, in practice, facilities for African-Americans were separate and inferior. Jim Crow laws were initially created by states but, during the Woodrow Wilson administration, Jim Crow was extended to the federal government.
  8. 8. Jim Crow Laws (1876 – 1965)  In 1890, Louisiana passed just such a Jim Crowe law that required separate facilities on railroads.  Concerned citizens, of all races, were determined to challenge the legality of the new law.  The opportunity came in 1892 when Homer Plessey (who was 1/8th African-American, thus meeting the legal definition, but not looking African-American) decided to challenge the law.  He was arrested for refusing to leave a whites only railroad car. Plessey’s case was fought all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessey v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” was constitutional. Racial discrimination was now legal.
  9. 9. Jim Crow Laws (1876 – 1965)  Widespread violence, including lynchings, against African- Americans led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.  Created by a group of white supporters and W.E.B. Dubois, the NAACP's stated goal was to secure for all people the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution.  The organization quickly began to challenge Jim Crow laws and lynching through the courts.  Success in an Oklahoma case enhanced the organization’s reputation and foreshadowed the success the NAACP would have in ending public school segregation in 1954.
  10. 10. Ida Tarbell’s Role as a “Muckraker”  The term “muckraker” originated from a speech that President Theodore Roosevelt used praising journalists in their role of uncovering that which was hidden from and corrupted society.  Between 1902 and 1904, Ida Tarbell (1857-1944) wrote a series of magazine articles exposing Standard Oil’s business practices.  Tarbell’s 19 part “The History of the Standard Oil Company” marked the beginning of investigative journalism. Spurred by her father’s business loss at the hands of Rockefeller, Tarbell’s methods became a model for other investigative journalists.  She investigated Standard Oil for two years by examining public records, newspaper coverage and interviewing former Standard Oil executives in order to piece together how Rockefeller was able to create the company.
  11. 11. Ida Tarbell’s Role as a “Muckraker”  The articles told of how Rockefeller used his business methods to destroy independent oilmen in Pennsylvania in order to create an oil monopoly.  She concluded her series by examining Rockefeller’s character in which she characterized him as “money-mad” and that Rockefeller had created a national life that was far meaner, poorer, and uglier than had existed prior to Rockefeller’s creation of Standard Oil.  Her series was well received because, unlike Sinclair’s socialist tendencies, Tarbell was not critical of capitalism but instead focused her criticism on the unethical practices of Rockefeller and his associates in building Standard Oil.  Issues raised by Ida Tarbell’s role as a muckraker led to the growing belief that the government should intervene in business and not allow monopolies.
  12. 12. The Significance of Progressive Reforms  In the early 20th century, Progressivism emerged as a     movement to improve American democracy, to achieve social and economic justice, and to correct the evils of industrialization and urbanization. The Progressive Movement was generally made up of the educated middle class who saw reform as civic duty. Politically, the Progressives planned to attack graft, the political machine, and the influence of big business on government. The Progressive Movement also planned to create new political procedures that would enable greater political participation. To attack poverty, the Progressive planned to lobby for greater governmental regulation to protect consumers and workers.
  13. 13. The Significance of Progressive Reforms Political Reforms  Local/ State Reforms  Initiative/referendum: allowed voters to suggest and approve laws directly without going through state legislatures.  Recall: enabled voters to get rid of politicians who were unsatisfactory, without waiting for a complete election cycle.  National Reforms  Direct election of senators: The Seventeenth Amendment provided for the direct elections of U.S. Senators ending the state legislative cronyism responsible for the appointment of Senators.
  14. 14. The Significance of Progressive Reforms Economic Reforms  Labor laws  State child labor laws set a minimum age for employment and restricted the types of jobs that children could hold.  State laws were also pass to protect women by setting a minimum wage and laws that created maximum hours.  Work site inspections to insure health, safety, and sanitation.  State Worker’s Compensation Laws
  15. 15. Improving Living Conditions for the Poor in Cities  At the outset of the Progressive Era, Jacob Riis, a New York photojournalist documented the living conditions of the urban poor.  His work How the Other Half Lives (1890), documented the unhealthy tenement housing that workers and families were forced to live in, as well as the sanitary conditions of slum streets.  His work led to the institution of municipal housing codes calling for the re-design of urban housing and the creation of sanitation departments that removed garbage and dead animals from the streets.  In addition, large urban centers began providing sewer and water services lessening the chances of typhoid and cholera outbreaks in cities.
  16. 16. The Conservation Movement  The Conservation Movement emerged in the 1870’s.  There were three schools of conservationist thought at the time.  1 - Business supported a laissez-faire approach believing that business should be allowed to do as they wished with public lands.  2 - There was the Environmentalist school led by John Muir. The Environmentalists believed that nature was sacred and humans were the intruders. Further, humans should make a minimal impact on nature.  3 - Theodore Roosevelt and his mentor, Gifford Pinchot, belonged to the Conservationist school. They believed that nature could be used but it should also be protected.
  17. 17. The Conservation Movement  Theodore Roosevelt was a life-long naturalist, who majored in Natural History at Harvard, and an avid hunter.  Roosevelt saw the continued despoliation of land for timbering and mining would result in the loss of key habitat needed for hunting and future economic development.  Throughout his presidency, Roosevelt increased national reserves of forests, mineral lands, and hydropower sites.  During his tenure in office, Roosevelt created the National Forest Service, five new national parks, 18 new U.S. national monuments, 51 bird reserves, four game preserves, and 150 national forests. This also encouraged states to follow the lead of the national government.

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