Chapter 18: The Progressive Reform Era (1890

Chapter 18: The
Progressive Reform Era
The Progressive Era
• As the 1800s ended, only a handful of people were
wealthy, while immigrants and poor laborers continued to
live and work under harsh conditions.
• Many citizens and government officials began to demand
reforms in government, business, and society.
• The turn of the 20th century marked the beginning of the
Progressive Era and was a time of political, social, and
economic change in the U.S.
• The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the muckrakers both
helped to inspire the movement.
Child Labor
“The Shirtwaist Kings”
Max Blanck and Isaac Harris
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
Asch Building, 8th and 10th Floors
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Typical NYC Sweatshop, 1910
Inside the Building After the Fire
Most Doors Were Locked
Crumpled Fire Escape, 26 Died
One of the Heroes
10th Floor After the Fire
Dead Bodies on the Sidewalk
One of the “Lucky” Ones?
Rose Schneiderman
The Last
Scene at the Morgue
Relatives Review Bodies
145 Dead
of the
New York Journal
One of the Many Funerals
Protestors March to City Hall
Labor Unions March as Mourners
Women Workers March
to City Hall
The Investigation
Francis Perkins
Future Secetary Of Labor
The Progressives
• Progressives (those who supported Progressive
reforms), believed that things could be made better
though government regulation of society.
• They called for more regulation of business, improved
wages for workers, regulations over work conditions,
laws governing morality, and defined standards for
• Progressives raged against the upper class as being
exploiters of the poor.
• The goals of the Populists could be summed
up into four beliefs:
• Government should be more accountable
to its citizens
• Government should curb the power and
influence of wealthy interests
• Government should be given expanded
powers so that it could become more
active in improving the lives of its citizens
• Government should become more
efficient and less corrupt so that they
could competently handle an expanded
The Muckrakers
• The Muckrakers had a strong influence on
the Progressive Movement.
• A muckrake is a rake or pitchfork used to
clean poo and hay out of stables.
• Teddy Roosevelt used the term muckraker
to refer to journalists who raked filth into
the public eye.
• Many of these writers wrote stories
exposing abuse in government and big
The Muckrakers
• Lincoln Steffens exposed corruption in St. Louis
and other cities.
• Ida Tarbell revealed the abuses of the Standard
Oil Trust. She called for reforms in US business
and campaigns against monopolies.
• The most famous muckraker was Upton Sinclair
who published a novel called The Jungle in
1906. It uncovered the truth about the US meat
packing industry. It led to the creation of a
federal meat inspection program.
• Told about how
meat was processed
and the accidents, illnesses,
and painful deaths that
occurred within the meat
packing industry.
• Now you read it…
The Settlement Movement
• In addition to the muckrakers, there were other notable reformers in
the Progressive Movement- many Progressive reformers were
• Jane Addams (nicknamed the “mother of social work”) opened Hull
House as a settlement house in Chicago.
• Settlement houses were houses established in poor neighborhoods
where social activists would offer assistance to immigrants and the
urban poor (things the govt wasn’t providing).
• By 1910, there were more than 400 settlement houses in the U.S.
Hull House served as a launching pad for investigations into
economic, political, and social conditions in the city.
• It also provided help and education to the poor and immigrants, and
eventually helped fight for and win new child labor laws.
Other Movements Contd.
• The Temperance Movement had a revival in the Progressive Era.
The 2nd wave of the movement accomplished the original goal of
banning alcohol.
• Ratified in 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture,
sale, transportation, or consumption of alcohol in the U.S.
• This Amendment was the result of reformers like Carrie Nation, who
would go into saloons and smash bottle of liquor.
• Although Prohibition was eventually repealed, another Progressive
Reform had a more lasting impact: the 19th Amendment.
• Ever since the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, women had
demanded suffrage.
• Susan B. Anthony carried the women’s suffrage movement into the
20th century. She established the National American Woman
Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
• In 1920, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which gave women
the right to vote.
Labor Laws & Living Conditions
• One area where progressives called for reform was in
living conditions for poor urban workers and immigrants.
• One of the key figures in this reform movement was
Jacob Riis, who wrote the book How the Other Half Lives
that exposed the horrible conditions under which
immigrants worked and lived.
• His writings revealed the cramped space, filthy
conditions, and often dangerous hazards that existed in
inner-city tenements.
• Riis’ efforts contributed to New York passing its 1st laws
to improve urban tenements.
Labor Laws
• Since worker’s wages were low, men, women, & children had to
work long hours for little pay.
• Workdays tended to run from sunrise to sundown and usually
involved dangerous conditions.
• Many progressives called for shorter work days, higher wages, and
safer work environments for employees.
• Progressive reformers succeeded in convincing a number of states
to pass minimum age laws.
• Legislatures also passed laws restricting work hours and requiring
safer working conditions after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Political Reforms
• The govt became notorious for political scandal in the late 1800scorruption at city, state, & federal level.
• Progressives wanted to make govt officials more accountable to the
general public.
• This resulted in political reforms such as:
– The 17th Amendment: established that US senators would be elected
directly by the people, rather than by state legislatures. Meant that
senate seats would have to be won in open elections rather than
awarded as part of a closed political deal.
– Initiative: allowed citizens of a state to force a vote on a certain issue
without having to wait for public officials to bring it up. If enough citizens
signed a petition and/or made their voices heard, then the legislature
could be compelled to address a particular concern.
– Recall: gave citizens the power to hold special elections to remove
corrupt officials from office before their terms were up.
– Referendum: meant that public officials would be elected by popular
vote, rather than by party bosses or state legislatures.
Progressive Era Amendments
16th Amendment (1913): Gave Congress the power to collect income taxes
on businesses & individuals. Increased the fed govt’s revenue & elminated
the need to tax according to the proportions of state populations. Prevented
corrupt business practices that kept tons of profits in the hands of big
business owners while paying very little to laborers. More money to the govt
means more resources to regulate society.
17th Amendment (1913): Direct primary.This law established the US
senators would be elected directly by the people of a state, rather than by
state legislatures.
18th Amendment (1919): Prohibition.The govt prohibited the making,
selling, or transporting of alcoholic beverages. Later repealed by 21st.
19th Amendment (1920): Women’s suffrage. Gave women the right to vote.
Other Reforms:
• Pure Food and Drug Act – Forbid the
manufacture, sale, or transportation of
food or drugs containing harmful
• Meat Inspection Act – Government
inspection of meat shipped from one state
to another
• Department of Labor – A federal agency
that supports laws that benefit workers
• Meat Inspection Act and the Food and
Drug Act
Progressivism Under Taft and Wilson
• Theodore Roosevelt did not run again for
President in 1908; his Republican successor
William Howard Taft won over Democrat
William Jennings Bryant
• Progressives were furious. Roosevelt decided
to come out of retirement to run again as a
Progressive, this time under banner of the Bull
Moose Party (Roosevelt did not get the
Republican nomination for president – Taft did)
Progressivism Under Taft and Wilson
• The Democrats nominated the eventual winner
of the election, Woodrow Wilson.
• Taft’s record as a Progressive was quite
• He reserved more public lands and brought
more anti-trust lawsuits than Roosevelt had.
• Woodrow Wilson believed that his duty as
President was to offer major
legislation to Congress,
to promote it publicly, and
to guide it to passage.
Reforms During Wilson’s
Reforms During Wilson’s Administration:
• Clayton Anti-Trust Act – Limited the power
of monopolies and clarified the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act
• Federal Trade Commission – Created the
Agency (FTC) that investigates fraudulent
practices and used the courts to enforce
its policies
• Federal Reserve Act (System)- Created a
three level banking system that controlled
the nation’s money supply and regulated
member banks
Reforms During Wilson’s Administration:
• Adamson Act – Reduced railroad workers
workday from 10 hours to 8 hours with no cut
in pay
• Federal Workmen’s Compensation Act –
Benefits paid to federal employees injured on
the job
• Keating-Owen Child Labor Act – Outlawed
products sold interstate produced by child
Reforms During Wilson’s Administration:
• 18th Amendment – Prohibition – no sale or
manufacture of
alcoholic beverages
• 19th Amendment –
Women receive the
right to vote

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