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What is a progressive? Progressive Era not confined to a definitive set of years Progressives consisted of several groups with different objectives Reformers.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a progressive? Progressive Era not confined to a definitive set of years Progressives consisted of several groups with different objectives Reformers."— Presentation transcript:


2 What is a progressive? Progressive Era not confined to a definitive set of years Progressives consisted of several groups with different objectives Reformers fighting corruption and inefficiency in government including civil service reform and city bosses (mugwumps) Reformers wanting to regulate/control big business Reformers worried about the welfare of the urban poor (settlement houses)

3 The return of prosperity fueled the progressive movement The comfortable middle-class more tolerant and generous Change was now harmonious with middle- class values of social improvement

4 The Muckrakers Progressive journalistic fad Articles showed the fundamental immorality at all levels of American society A small army of writers flooded the periodical press wanting to expose the abuses of big businesses, social problems such as prostitution, and political corruption

5 The Progressive Mind Sought to arouse the American conscience Convinced people were essentially good and that institutions were the sources of societys problems – reform the institution and solve the problem The weak, including women and children, must be protected Progressives were typically paternalistic, moderate, and soft- headed Progressives over-simplified issues and believed their values were above question Progressives were not allies of socialists - they were believers in capitalism

6 Radical Progressives The depression of the late 1800s and its impact on the poor turned many to Marxian socialism Eugene V. Debs – socialist candidate for president 1905 – Industrial workers of the World (IWW) established by several socialist leaders Others used new European ideas such as Freuds to advocate a new morality including sex education and birth control These Bohemians congregated in sections of cities that catered to artists such as New Yorks Greenwich Village

7 Political Reform: Cities As cities grew corruption became more disgraceful Muckrakers exposed corrupt city administrations Progressives mounted an assault on corrupt city government including using position as mayor Political machines were attacked using new political institutions such as home rule charters and elected commissions (Galveston) Commissions established city managers Progressive used city office to improve society such as minimum wage laws, parks, transportation systems, and tenement housing

8 Political Reform: The States Municipal reforms depended on state reforms Corrupt state government had to be reformed too Best example was Wisconsin under Governor Robert M. La Follette Not above using machine politics to obtain reform such as patronage Called upon universities for advice and service Established a direct primary system for elections Wisconsin served as model for other states Oregon set example by establishing initiatives and referendums

9 State Social Legislation Some states passed laws attempting to alleviate social problems including the restriction of working hours for women & children Other laws established rules for hazardous industries and New York established a law that set higher standards for tenement construction

10 Progressive laws used coercion and was seen by some judges as violating the 14 th Amendment – conservative judges were against new socialist legislation Lochner v. New York – overturned law limiting bakers to a 10 hour day Hammer v. Dagenhart – Sureme Court overturned child-labor law as unconstitutional Adkins v. Childrens Hospital – overturned law granting women a minimum wage

11 Laws were passed giving some protection against on-the-job accidents 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire set stricter workplace standards Accident insurance programs were gradually adopted Progressive laws sent many conservatives to court to seek redress


13 Muller v. Oregon Law limiting working hours of women laundry workers to ten hours was challenged Consumers League, represented by Louis Brandeis, defended the statute Brandeis prepared brief that included scientific evidence of damage to women and society The Brandeis Brief became standard practice

14 Political Reform: Woman Suffrage Movement Many women bitter over failure of 14 th and 15 th Amendments to give women vote Feminists split American Womans Suffrage Association (AWSA) focused on the vote alone More radical National Womens Suffrage Association concerned with various issues including vote (Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony)

15 Women handicapped by lack of unity and Victorian morality Women confused as to relationship to men – superior or equal? 1890 both groups combined to form the National American Womens Suffrage Association (NAWSA) – Stanton and Anthony were first presidents Women concentrated on suffrage state-by-state Women could vote in Wyoming in 1869, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho by 1896

16 Women gained support from many males 1911 California gave women the vote Suffrage moved to the national level led by the Congressional Union Wilsons refusal to support suffrage led to demonstrations Congress approved by 1919 and the Nineteenth Amendment passed in 1920


18 Political Reform: Income Taxes and Popular Election of Senators Income taxes authorized by the Sixteenth Amendment Direct election of Senators authorized by the Seventeenth Amendment House of representatives reformed by limiting the power of the House Speaker – committees formed by vote not whim of Speaker

19 Theodore Roosevelt Ascended to presidency upon assassination of McKinley in 1901 Distrusted by conservatives More trust-regulator than trust-buster Went after the Northern Securities Company- a holding company for JP Morgan, James Hill, and EH Harriman Also went after the meat packers, Standard Oil, and the American Tobacco Company Roosevelt was not anti-corporation – made gentleman agreements with several as long as they cooperated with government

20 The Coal Strike 1902 United Mine Workers (UMW) stopped work demanding higher wages, shorter hours, and recognition of the union Mine owners shut down mines determined to starve the workers into submission Miners refrained from violence and won public support Onset of winter and need for coal forced Roosevelt to act

21 Roosevelt brought both sides to Washington but management refused to deal with the union With public support behind him Roosevelt announced that unless settlement was reached he would order troops in – not to break the strike – but to seize and operate the mines Threat of government intervention brought owners to terms Example of Roosevelts Square Deal – all won something

22 TRs Triumphs Elected by landslide to second term Hepburn Bill – regulated railroads and made the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) more powerful Pure Food and Drug Act passed after Roosevelt read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

23 Roosevelt Tilts Left Became more Progressive as time passed Conservation laws Favored income tax, regulation of interstate corporations, and reforms for industrial workers Roosevelt lost support of conservatives and the courts and failed to pass further reform legislation as his term ended

24 William Howard Taft Chosen by TR as his successor 1908 Election – Taft versus Bryan Loyal to TR but also acceptable to conservatives due to his lack of aggressiveness Lacked stamina of TR Signed the Manns-Elkins Act of 1910 giving more power to the ICC

25 Ballinger-Pinchot Controversy Ballinger, Secretary of the Interior, took actions concerning waterpower sites that alarmed conservationists and Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot Pinchot launched attacks on Ballinger when he seemed to surrender to mining interests Taft supported Ballinger and dismissed Pinchot Pinchot was a close friend of TRs

26 Pinchot as well as other leaders such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge complained to TR about Taft The friendship between Taft and TR was ruptured – a split also between Republican conservatives and Progressives TR came out with a new Progressive program he called New Nationalism that called for expansion of federal power

27 Tafts order to break up US Steel was the final blow to his relationship with TR who had made deals with some of the corporations – it made TR look like a fool or a dupe Roosevelt challenged Taft for the Republican nomination of 1912 The Republican machine supported Taft and Roosevelt lost the nomination Supporters urged Roosevelt to run on a third party ticket – the Bull Moose Party (Progressive Party)

28 The Election of 1912 Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey Wilson a Progressive His reform policies called New Freedom – federal government best suited to advance the cause of social justice Goal to break the trusts and control business Republican split gave victory to Wilson

29 Wilson and New Freedom 1913 Underwood Tariff – reduced duties with lowered revenue to be replaced by income tax Federal Reserve Act Divided nation into 12 banking districts each under a a federal reserve bank (a bank for bankers) All participating banks had to invest 6% of capital and surplus in reserve bank Reserve bank empowered to exchange paper money for commercial and agricultural paper used by borrowers as security Gold no longer dictated volume of currency

30 Federal Reserve Board in Washington had some control over interest rates and member banks which could influence money supply during inflation and recession 1914 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – protected the public against trusts Clayton Anti-Trust Act – made certain business practices illegal – exempted unions Wilson was done – did not seek further reforms


32 Progressives and Minority Rights Generally, Progressives were not sympathetic to non- whites and certain immigrant groups including Asians, Southern and Eastern Europeans 1907 Gentlemens Agreement excluded Japanese from immigrating Indians were seen as inferior and second-class citizens 1902 Dead Indian Land Act made it easier for Indians to sell lands

33 Segregation for blacks became even stricter Education and equal rights were argued against by conservatives and Progressives alike Between 1900 and 1914 over 1100 blacks were murdered by mobs The influence of Booker T. Washington was waning and accommodation was no seen as desirable

34 Black Militancy W. E. B. DuBois First black to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard Cooperated with Washington but broke away and became more militant Elitist – blacks would be saved by the talented tenth Met at Niagara Falls in 1905 – issued list of demands including unrestricted right to vote and equal justice in courts

35 Attracted some sympathy from descendents of abolitionists 1909 – White liberals and blacks established the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)- leadership primarily white Roosevelt no different than earlier presidents and Wilson antipathetic to blacks- believed segregation in the best interests of both races DuBois attacked Wilsons policies in The Crisis

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