The Progressive Era - Kenston Local Schools

Chapter 18
 March
25th 1911 – a fire
broke out on the upper
floors of a factory building
– and nearly 150 died
(trapped, some jumped,
some burned)
 Was not the worst
industrial fire ever, but
had a huge impact on
public consciousness- and
became an example of
why business NEEDED
regulation. Focused
attention on the social
divisions within America
 The
period from just before the
turn of the century through WWI
became defined by a movement
that emphasized correcting the
social and economic injustices
created by industrialization.
 Embraced by both political
parties (as well as creating its
own) it represents a new definition
of expectations- that government
should protect the public interest
and restore social order.
 Progressives
will take up many Populist ideas
and fight for
 Trustbusting
(esp for RR) passed 1903 and 1906
 Income Tax- 16th amendment ratified in 1912
 Credit/Currency reform- passed 1913, 1916
 Direct election of senators- 17th amendment
ratified 1913
 Federal savings banks- 1910
 Farm subsidies and relief- 1916
 Progressives
will succeed where populists
had failed b/c they didn’t advocate a
return to an agrarian economy- wanted to
reform industrial society without hampering
 Felt
industry had widened gap between rich and
poor to an unacceptable breach. But instead of
an outcry from the proletariat, Progressives tended
to be from the middle class, who were genuinely
moved by the plight of poor, and wanted to do
something about it- largest reform movement
since 2nd Great Awakening
 Issues (beyond populist)
Killing political machines- voting reform
 Improving urban living/working conditions
 Consumer protection (clean food/water)
 Conservation
 Women’s Suffrage
 America
recovered from the depression of
1893 and entered a boom period,
economic output grew 85% from 1900-1910.
 Agriculture booming too- massive influxes of
population created demand for food- prices
rising, farmers making $$. More people filed
for Homestead act land in that decade than
previous 40 years!
 There are now 21 cities that have over 100K
– NYC had more people than 33 states
 Growing
cities needed planning- which they
didn’t always get. Wider, straighter streets, in a
grid pattern (electric lines). Often used numbers
for streets- easier for immigrant population to
 Cities are still a hot mess….but we are starting to
work on it….
 Steel allowed building to go UP rather than just
OUT- and elevators made upper floors desirable
 1st Steel skyscraper was built in 1885: the Home
Insurance building in Chicago- 10 stories
 Louis Sullivan of NY was an important architect in
early skyscraper design
 Steel used in Bridges too: esp. Suspension
bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge (John Roebling)
 Journalism
becoming important in
forming public opinion- especially
exposing what people might not have
wanted to see in industrial society.
Magazines and Newspapers becoming
big business.
 TR
coined the term- inspired by the work of Ida
Tarbell (writing about JD
Rockefeller and Standard Oil)
 Lincoln Steffens: The Shame of
the Cities
 Theodore Dreiser: Sister Carrie
 Upton Sinclair: the Jungle
 Late
1800s-WWI is the time of the refugeepeople leaving Europe to start a new life in land
where they believed “the streets were paved
with gold”. 1840-1914 60 million people leave
Europe, the largest % settle here (Canada,
Australia, New Zealand and S Africa also
 (1901-1914) 13 million will arrive- with the largest
numbers from southern (Italy) fleeing econ
instability, and Eastern (Russia/Poland) Europe.
Fleeing Revolution/Repression Also largest
period of Jewish immigration. (persecution) Had
a lot more trouble assimilating, and didn’t
always try…instead worked to maintain their
own cultural heritage. 25% of those who come
will make $$ and go back to Europe
 Opened
in 1892 - functions until 1954. 1/3 of
Americans have an ancestor they can trace
to Ellis Island. “Processed” 12 million
immigrants. Questioned about family,
occupation, amount of $$ with you ($18).
Given a medical inspection. 2% turned away
 Immigrants tended to stay in large cities
where they could find factory (unskilled)
jobs, and get help from countrymen.
 Angel Island in San Fran has similar function
for immigration in West (after 1910) El Paso TX
for immigrants from Mexico (fleeing
revolution of 1911- 10th of the population of
Mexico comes to US)
 Immigrant
came imagining an America as a
land of freedom, where “the streets were
paved with gold” – trying to escape the
hopeless poverty that was typical in many
parts of Europe.
 Immigrants tended to feel more comfortable
within their own cultural groups. Areas with
large numbers of Southern/Eastern
Europeans tended to be known as
“Ghettos”, indicating that those types of
immigrants were less desirable
 Immigrants live in Tenements: 7-8 stories (no
elevator) 1 window, little ventilation, no
plumbing- and everyone in one room. Lower
East Side in NYC.
 One
of the changes being seen at turn of the
century was development of a mass consumer
economy- meaning that there were lots of items
available and affordable for ordinary
Americans- which once again changes the
definition of freedom- to freedom to own. And
we begin to measure success by what you
 Department Stores: Copied from London/Paris,
Drew people to shop in Urban commercial
centers with large selections and discount prices
“One stop shopping”. Became luxuirous
showplaces of gilded age architecture.
 Macy’s Founded 1858
 Marshall Fields (Chicago) 1852
 Woolworths founded 1878
 Gender
roles continued to change- and
women were able to take a more
independent role in society (going to places
like Vaudville theater and Dance Halls by
 Larger numbers of (native born) women
employed in “respectable” office work- and
more women continued to work after they
were married, looking for fulfillment in the
workplace. (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
 Immigrant families sometimes struggled with
the “freedoms” offered to young women
which had not been typical in Europe
 Did
NOT invent the automobile.
(that was Karl Benz in Germany) But did improve
the internal combustion engine, and most
importantly, invented the Assembly Line Process
for manufacturing cars, with each worker
assigned a single task. Workers actually hated it,
so Ford had to pay higher wages to get them to
stay, $5 a day.
 This cut production costs, so Ford was able to
“democratize” the automobile by building the
Model T (1908) which at $400 was within reach
for the majority of the middle class (became a
symbol of middle class lifestyle)
 Turn
of the century
was when
advertising became
a big part of salesoften linking goods
to the ideas/values
of freedom –after all
you are making a
“choice” with a
product. Those left
out of the consumer
culture complained
of being denied
their “rights” (need
higher wages etc)
 Criticism
of division between top and bottom
of society- discussion of a “Living Wage” (John
Ryan 1906) which talked about the right to
make enough $$ to participate in the
consumer economy as part of citizenship
 Again, reflects the changes that are making
the US into a society based on mass
consumption (as opposed to
self reliant pioneers) Progressives
want to create a world where
(relative) economic equality will
create independence and
 There
was more than one
way to be a Progressive.
Some wanted to return to a
market of small producers
(industrial Jefferson) Others
accept large business, but
want the government to
reverse the concentrations
of wealth and ensure social
 But all agree that in order to
protect American freedom,
there need to be
adjustments in the
economic and social
 Industrial
work is repetitive- even if you are
not on the factory floor. Scientific managers
found ever more efficient methods, but that
made things boring and repetitive – and
workers resented it as a loss of freedom.
Even “white collar” (management) felt it- in
earlier times they would have owned a
 So Unions began to talk about the right of
workers to participate in decision making as
an aspect of freedom – it’s self government
(political liberty v. industrial slavery – Louis
 1901
the Socialist Party becomes part of
the political landscape (came over from
Europe) and by 1912 have 150k members
 American Socialism combined ideas from
a number of earlier groups (populists,
knights of labor, Bellamy etc) and called
for :
 Free
College Education (yes please)
 Laws to improve working conditions
 Pubic ownership of RRs and factories
 Eugene
Debs was the
most important socialist
leader in the US. Went
on a national speaking
tour saying the country
needed a couple
dedicated to political
equality and economic
 Brought together
urban/industrial poor
with intellectuals
troubled by unbridled
capitalism – would get
nearly a million votes for
president in 1912
 Unions
were important parts of
progressivism- after all, they were often the ones
 AFL represented “privileged” (skilled) workers –
and won acceptance for collective bargaining,
safety improvements and pension plans
 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) founded
1905 to represent ALL workers. Part union, part
political (solidarity- proletarian revolution)
organization. Headed by “Big Bill” Haywood “the most dangerous man in America”. Offered
membership to ALL- women, blacks, immigrants,
even the Chinese
 Larger
scale “mass” or “general” strikes became
more common as workers realized that working
together could help them all. (which is a step
forward, ethnic divisions had often been an
impediment to solidarity)
 Lawrence Massachusetts (1912) particularly well
known- Said they wanted “Bread and Roses”
(living wage and ability to be consumers) IWW
sent striker’s children to NYC- where their
obviously underfed/overworked condition
inspired a lot of middle class sympathy. City
officials in Lawrence (directed by mill owners)
tried to refuse to let other children leave- turned
into a riot of police attacking mothers and
children. Governor intervened, and strike settled
on worker’s terms.
 Ludlow Massacre: (1914) mine owners in CO
evict 11,000 strikers from a tent city – killing 20-30
in process (again, mostly women and children”
 Business
often tried to prevent unions from
speaking out (speeches, pamphlets,
pickets)- the way they invoked “freedom” as
their goal seemed to resonate with too
many people. Courts often supported this
limitations on speech, but the challenges
became important for civil liberties later
 IWW got creative- holding impromptu
meetings in random locations to spread
message and avoid rules. Lots of cities
responded by limiting outdoor gatherings
w/o a permit.
 The
women’s movement was
interested in more than the votethey also discussed “women’s
emancipation as a human being”.
Protested the double standard of
sexuality between men and women.
 Part of the Bohemian (artistic) circle of
the “lyrical left” interested in extremes of
freedom and liberation in art, movement,
clothing etc.
 Up
to this point there has been
one correct way to have a
relationship: courtship, marriage
(which is when nooky becomes ok) to create
a family (which is however many kids
happen to pop out)
 The discussions and desires for more options
sexual freedom can be seen not only in
feminism, but in the 1st homosexual
communities within cities- like Greenwich
village in NYC (they were still pretty darn
quiet, but not entirely secret)
 Right
to control one’s body meant right to
accept or refuse sexual advances (even a
husband’s) AND have “relationships” that did
not lead to children….
 Margaret Sanger: challenged
laws that restricted access to
birth control in many states.
Wrote a frank column “What
Every Girl Needs to Know”.
Opened a clinic in Brooklyn in
1916 to distribute contraceptives
to urban poor (jailed)
 One
positive of the Dawes Act
(if you can find one) is that it
brought tribes together in same area, and
gave them common goal- creating a PanIndian movement, and progressivism offered
opportunities for Change
 Carlos Montezuma: Founded Society of
American Indians, Condemned federal
paternalism and wanted to abolish Bureau
of Indian Affairs. Rather like Booker T
Washington, said self determination and
work was the only way for Indians to escape
poverty “We must free ourselves”. Did
demand full citizenship.
 Social
Reform was very active in Europe
in late 1800s as well. Pioneered by Prussia
(remember, Bismarck wants to avoid
revolution) Britain and France, countries
adopt old age pensions, min. wage, max
hours, unemployment insurance, and
workplace safety
 The idea (abroad and at home) is of a
socially conscious, activist government –
that government must act to protect
rights/freedom (rather than the founders
view of gov’t as a threat to freedom)
 Reform
work began at the state and local
levels- where populism already had a strong
 Progressives broke up political machines in
major cities like NY, Chicago, Cleveland,
Detroit and Milwaukee. Simplified ballots
(Australian Ballot), direct primary elections
(no more back room deals.) City Managers
and professional bureaucracy
 Robert A Follette (WI) Hazen Pingee (Detroit)
Sam “Golden Rule” Jones (Toldeo) well
known state/local, instituted a number of
progressive reforms, and their success
helped inspire others to follow along.
 Wanted
to restore harmony to society- which
they thought would create true democracyunify “the people”.
 Elected Officials:
17th Amendment: Direct Election of Senators
 Election of judges
 Primaries to determine candidates
 Initiative,
referendum, recall in place in most
states by 1920, as well as minimum wages,
maximum hours etc.
 Expand electorate with more women voting
 But made no move against disenfranchisement
in the south- there is a strong idea that
democracy is for the “deserving”
 Politics
is always so …. Political –
meaning that it’s not what you
know, it’s who you know.
Progressives wanted to remove
incompetency and corruption
from gov’t by making sure that the
bureaucracy was full of impartial
 Robert La Follette an early
example - used U of Wis professors
as bureaucrats.
 Progressives have faith in experts
to solve issues, and think freedom
comes not just from voting, but
having qualified people making
decisions in best interest of
 Settlement
houses were Designed to
help immigrant/poor families get on
their feet and learn skills to help them
better their lives
 Jane Addams- founded Hull House in Chicago in
1889 to teach immigrants English, offer classes in
health/nutrition, and provide social gatherings for
urban poor.
 Florence Kelley- Henry Street settlement in NY,
fought for legislation to regulate hours and
working conditions for women and children.
 Both women quite controversial b/c of socialist
political views
 Women
always key in reform movements,
after all, they have been seen as guardians
of morality since the revolution. Volunteerism
the only acceptable “career” for a middle
class married woman, and this is the 1st
generation with a large number of female
college graduates (80K by 1900)
 Late 1800s a time with extreme Victorian
morality- and there was concern that
urbanization/industrialization brought
traditional protestant values under attack.
There was the concept of a “Christian duty”
to help those in need
 Moved
beyond elite women, and became
a mass movement. National American
Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWA) had
2 million member is1917
 Half of the state (mostly west – IL 1st east of
Mississippi) had enfranchised women,
though often only for local/state elections
 “New” Suffragists were much more militant –
used advertising, publicity and mass
communication. Focus shifted from state
campaigns to a national amendment.
 If
gov’t is going to “take care” of anyonewomen and children 1st (which is nice- and
insulting at the same time)
 Muller v Oregon: max working hours for
women b/c we can’t handle it like men
(might damage our reproductive capacity)
 Many states established pensions for widows
and orphans.
 In this end, this will help push forward rights
for everyone- because it will be effective at
improving quality of life
 We
are slowly (really slowly- takes until
new deal) working our way towards the
idea of a “safety net” – a standard of
living below which is unacceptable.
Begins with idea of helping workers in
 Workman’s Compensation: benefits for
employees injured/killed at work. $$
came from employees (contributions) but
was a 1st step
 Progressive
reform had been successful in
states, but more and more, we define
ourselves as a nation- and it was national
businesses that needed regulation, and
national problems that needed solutions
 Herbert Croly: in order to achieve
“Jeffersonian ends” (personal freedom) we
need “Hamiltonian means” (intervention
from a powerful national government
 The 3 progressive presidents (TR, Taft, Wilson)
had varying political ideology- but a
commitment to get involved and make
Abraham Lincoln
Franklin Roosevelt
George Washington
Theodore Roosevelt
Harry Truman
John Kennedy
Thomas Jefferson
Dwight Eisenhower
Woodrow Wilson
Ronald Reagan
Lyndon Johnson
James Polk
Andrew Jackson
James Monroe
Bill Clinton
William McKinley
John Adams
George H.W. Bush
John Quincy Adams
James Madison
Grover Cleveland
Gerald Ford
Ulysses Grant
William Taft
Jimmy Carter
Calvin Coolidge
Richard Nixon
James Garfield
29. Zachary Taylor
30. Benjamin Harrison
31. Martin Van Buren
32. Chester Arthur
33. Rutherford Hayes
34. Herbert Hoover
35. John Tyler
36. George W. Bush
37. Millard Fillmore
38. Warren Harding
39. William Harrison
40. Franklin Pierce
41. Andrew Johnson
42. James Buchanan
 TR
is the 1st “modern” president, the
first to use gov’t to directly help the
public interest- his vision was of an
“umpire” to help make the world
more fair.
 Bully
Pulpit: President is visible- he
is the “leader” he should set the
tone for policy.
 Most personally dynamic
president since Jackson
 Actually
believed in regulating
more than fragmentingcombination and integration is
efficient, and why should he
punish success?
 Got federal regulation of Econ
started – trust-busting . though
he did differential between
“good” trusts (Rockefeller’s
standard oil) and “bad” trusts
(JP Morgan Northern Securities).
Took regulatory laws that
already existed and gave them
teeth- like the Hepburn Act, so
the ICC could enforce policy
 Sought
a “Square Deal” for Business, Labor,
and the Public
 Corporate
 Consumer protection
 Conservation of natural resources
 Felt
that it is the president’s job to intervene
for the good of the nation. For example,
during a Coal strike in 1902 he threatened to
seize the mines and operate them with
federal troops is owners refused to meet and
negotiate. Created idea of
arbitrators/mediators to settle disputes
 Shocked
by The Jungle- TR creates a
commission to investigate food conditions,
and finds Sinclair hadn’t been exagerating
 Meat Inspection Act - required inspection of
packaged meat, could not be sold w/o seal
of approval
 Pure Food and Drug Act – required
ingredients to be listed, and
prohibited various dangerous
medicines (1st step towards
modern packaging)
 John
Muir was a Scottish
born naturalist- founded
the Sierra Club in 1890s to
help preserve the west
(which was being logged
and RR’d quite a bit)
 Blended evangelical
Protestantism (woods are
God’s temple) with
Transcendentalism –
(cities are soulless), nature
is a place for recreation
and personal growth
 TR’s
most significant and long lasting
contribution- this is what puts him in 1st Column.
 Outdoorsman and sportsman- concerned by
irresponsible use of resources.
 Heavily influenced by naturalists Guifford
Pinchot and John Muir- TR creates US forest
service to protect federal land from
overdevelopment of timber, farming, and
herding. National Reclamation Act: put federal
gov’t in charge of building dams, reservoirs etc
in west to ensure regulation
 National Park System: had been established with
Yellowstone in 1872, but TR put aside 125 million
acres, more than all previous presidents
 TR
honored 2 term tradition, and “hand
picked” his successor- William Howard Taft- a
much more conservative republican from
 Taft did not have TR’s personality, but
actually accomplished more progressive
goals- Doesn’t rock the boat, worked under
the radar, but “busts” twice as many trusts,
and got the 16th and 17th amendments
passed. Mann Elkins Act- finally gave the
ICC the powers it needed to regulate.
 Taft often unpopular- passed Payne Aldrich
Tariff: reducing to 37% (progressive goal)but conservatives hate it- and Taft got
caught in the middle. Fired Guifford Pinchot
for insubordination, seemed a betrayal of
 The
person most “offended” by Taft was TRafter all, Teddy assumed Taft stay the course.
 Progressives talk of supporting Robert la
Follette in 1912- but TR lets it be known he is
willing to run again (tradition is 2 consecutive
 Democrats run Woodrow Wilson- progressive
governor of New Jersey (and southern white
supremacist) who favored states rights for
social issues
 Socialists run Eugene Debs- showing that
“progressive” is not enough for some
 When
asked by reporters- TR says
he felt “as strong as a Bull
Moose” which became the
common term for his progressive
 Platform called for consolidation
of trusts, along with greater
federal regulation, and more
efficient government. Also called
for women’s suffrage, abolition of
child labor, and unemployment
 Splits the Republican partyWilson wins with only 41% of the
popular vote
 Woodrow
Wilson 1st president since Zachary
Taylor to be from a southern state (Virginia).
Believed president should play a dynamic
role in government- and that the gov’ts role
was to pass “good” laws.
 Lacked TR popularity- moral righteousness
made him uncompromising and off putting
(and a white supremacist to boot)
 New Freedom: Came of office with a clearly
defined reform program- to attack the “triple
wall of privilege” tariff, trusts, and banking.
Passed a ton of legislation, only GW and
Lincoln before him pass more (FDR overall
winner). Est 8 hour workday and forbids child
labor for all interstate businesses. Workman’s
 He’s
a democrat- wants to lower tariffs.
Went straight to Congress to talk (since TJ
tradition has been to send letter) and
appealed to the public to write
congressmen/senators to approve
 Underwood Simmons Tariff- lowers
substantially down to 29% (had been 37%
under Payne Aldrich). Bill also contained the
Income Tax permitted by passage of 16th
amendment- 1% on incomes over $4,000, up
to 7% on incomes over $500,000 –which only
represented the richest 5% of Americans
(can we have that one back please) over
time eliminates need for major tariffs
 Thought
monopolies threatened
individual liberty and a free marketplacewants regulation.
 Clayton Act: designed to strengthen
Sherman Anti-trust by increasing the list of
illegal business practices, and exempted
unions from anti trust regulation(Gompers
called it the “magna carta” of labor)
 Federal Trade Commission: created to
investigate and regulate, with power to
issue “cease and desist” orders”
 Panic
of 1893 etc had shown
weakness of inelastic $$ system.
There was a National Bank in NYC, but that
didn’t help the rest of the nation, and
though we are going to maintain gold
standard, we need more flexibility.
 Federal Reserve Act (1913): 12 regional
banks empowered to manage currency
(issue $$), aid banks in trouble, and influence
interest rates to control inflation
 Most important economic legislation
between civil war and great depression
 People
don’t always WANT to be reformed
(especially into someone else’s idea of
“correct”) Progressives criticized for imposing
values on society- specifically WASP values.
After all, their greatest national success Prohibition - is one of the most disastrous laws
ever attempted.
 Nativist: they were not fans of immigrant
culture, or Indians (Dawes Act 1887) or
African Americans. Also a big part of the
“Red Scare” of post WWI- leading to ugly
violations of civil rights.

similar documents