I. Progressive Roots – Progressive ideas and theories: The old philosophy of hands-off individualism seemed out of place in modern machine age Progressive theorists were insisting that society could not longer afford the luxury of a limitless “let-alone” (laissez-faire) policy The people, through government, must substitute mastery for drift – Politicians and writers began to pinpoint targets: Bryan, Altgeld, and the Populists branded the “bloated trusts” with the stigma of corruption and wrongdoing.
I. Progressive Roots (cont.) 1894 Henry Demarest Lloyd charged the Standard Oil Company in his book Wealth Against Commonwealth Thorstein Veblen assailed the new rich in his The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899): – It was a savage attack on “predatory wealth” and “conspic- uous consumption:” – In his view the parasitic leisure class engaged in wasteful “business” rather than productive “industry” – He urged that social leadership pass from these superfluous titans to truly useful engineers. Jacob A. Riis shocked middle-class Americans in 1890: – With How the Other Half Lives
I. Progressive Roots (cont.) – A damning indictment of the dirt, disease, vice, and misery of the rat-gnawed human rookeries knows as New York slums – The book deeply influenced Theodore Roosevelt. Novelist Theodore Dreiser: – Used his blunt prose to batter promoters and profiteers in The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914) Socialists registered appreciable strength at the ballot box (see pp. 642-643) Social gospel movement: – Promoted a brand of progressivism based on Christian teachings – They used religious doctrine to demand better housing and living conditions for the urban poor
I. Progressive Roots (cont.) Other reformers: – University-based economists urged new reforms modeled on European examples – Feminists added social justice to suffrage on their list of needed reforms – Urban pioneers entered the fight to improve the lot of families living and working in the festering cities.
II. Raking Muck with the Muckrakers Muckraking magazines—McClure’s, Cosmopolitan, Collier’s and Everybody’s: – They dug deep for the dirt that the public loved – Enterprising editors financed extensive research – President Theodore Roosevelt called them muckrakers – Some famous reformer-writers were Lincoln Steffens, Ida M. Tarbell – Their targets were: » Corrupt alliance between big business and municipal gov’t., exposé of Standard Oil Company, malpractices of life insurance companies and tariff lobbies, trust, etc. » Some of the most effective fire of the muckrakers was directed at social evils:
II. Raking Muck with the Muckrakers (cont.) » The immoral “white slave” traffic in women, the rickety slums, the appalling number of industrial accidents, subjugation of blacks and the abuse of child labor » Vendors of potent patent medicines were also criticized The muckrakers signified much about the nature of the progressive reform movement: – They were long on lamentation but stopped short of revolutionary remedies – They counted on publicity to right social wrongs – They sought not to overthrow capitalism but to cleanse it – The cure of American democracy was more democracy
III. Political Progressivism (cont.) “Who were the progressives?” – Militarists—like Theodore Roosevelt – Pacifists—Jane Addams – Female settlement workers, labor unionists, and enlightened businessmen – They sought to modernize American institutions to achieve two goals: To use the state to curb monopoly power To improve the common person’s conditions of life and labor.
III. Political Progressivism (cont.) – They emerged in both political parties, in all regions, and at all levels of government – Their objective was to regain power by: Pushing for direct primary elections Favored initiative so that voters could directly propose legislation themselves Agitated for the referendum that would place laws on the ballot for final approval by the people For recall to enable voters to remove faithless elected officials.
III. Political Progressivism (cont.) – Rooting out graft became a prime goal – Introduced the secret Australian ballot to counteract boss rule – Direct election of senators was a favorite goal to be achieved by a constitutional amendment: The Seventeenth Amendment, approved in 1913, established the direct election of U.S. senators. – Woman suffrage received powerful support: States like Washington, California, and Oregon gradually extended the vote to women
IV. Progressivism in the Cities and States Progressives scored most impressive gains in the cities: – Example of Galveston, Texas: appointed expert- staffed commissions to manage urban affairs – Other communities adopted the city-manager system – Urban reformers attacked: “slumlords,” juvenile delinquency, wide-open prostitution – They looked to German and English cities for examples
Progressivism in the Cities and States (cont.) To clean up their water supplies Light their streets Run their trolley cars – They bubbled up to states, like Wisconsin: Governor Robert M. (“Fighting Bob”) La Follette was an overbearing crusader and militant progressive Republican leader He wrested considerable control from the crooked corporations and returned it to the people He perfected a scheme for regulating public utilities
Progressivism in the Cities and States (cont.) – Other states marched toward progressivism: Undertook to regulate railroads and trusts Leaders were Hiram W. Johnson of California, Charles Evans Hughes of New York.
V. Progressive Women Women were an indispensable part of the progressive army: – Critical focus was the settlement house movement—which offered a side door to public life: They exposed middle-class women to the problems plaguing America’s cities: » Poverty, political corruption, and intolerable working and living conditions Gave them skill and confidence to attack those evils
V. Progressive Women (cont.) – Women’s club movement provided a broader civic entryway for middle-class women – Women, whose place was seen in the home, defended their new activities as an extension— not a rejection—of their traditional roles: Thus driven to moral and “maternal” issues Agitated through organizations like the National Consumers League (1899) and the Women’s Trade Union League (1903), both in the Department of Labor Campaigns for factory reform and temperance
V. Progressive Women (cont.) – Florence Kelley became the State of Illinois's first chief factory inspector: » Was one of the nation’s leading advocates for improved factory conditions » Took control of the newly founded National Consumers League In the landmark case Muller v. Oregon (1908): – Louis D. Brandeis persuaded the Supreme Court to accept the constitutionality of laws protecting women workers by presenting evidence of the harmful effects of factory labor on women’s weaker bodies – Progressives hailed Brandeis’s achievement as a triumph over existing legal doctrines.
V. Progressive Women (cont.) – American welfare state focused more on protecting women and children rather than granting benefits to everyone – Setbacks: 1905, when the Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York invalidated a New York law establishing a ten- hour day for bakers If laws regulating factories were not enforced they proved worthless—for example, a lethal fire (1911) at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company of New York By 1917 thirty states had workers’ compensation laws.
V. Progressive Women (cont.) Corner saloons attracted the progressives: – Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) founded by Frances E. Willard – Some states and counties passed “dry “ laws to control, restrict, or abolish alcohol – Big cities were generally “wet” due to immigrants who were accustomed in the Old Country to the free flow of alcohol – By World War I (1914) nearly one-half lived in “dry” territory
VI. TR’s Square Deal for Labor TR feared public interest was submerged in the progressive movement: – “Square Deal” for capital, labor, and the public at large: – His program embraced three C’s: Control of the corporations Consumer protection Conservation of natural resources – First test came in the anthracite coal mines of Pennsylvania
VI. TR’s Square Deal for Labor (cont.) Roosevelt urged Congress to create the new Department of Commerce and Labor (1903)—ten years later it was separated in two The Bureau of Corporations was authorized to probe businesses engaged in interstate commerce: – This bureau helped to break stranglehold of monopoly – Cleared the road for the era of “trust-busting.”
VII. TR Corrals the Corporations First—the railroads: – Hatch Act (1903) aimed at railroad rebate evil Heavy fines could be imposed both on the railroads that gave rebates And on the shippers that accepted them. – Hepburn Act (1906): free passes, with their hint of bribery, were severely restricted Interstate Commerce Commission was expanded: – Included express companies, sleeping-car companies and pipelines – The Commission could nullify existing rates and stipulate maximum rates
VII. TR Corrals the Corporations (cont.) Trusts—Roosevelt’s opposition: – Trusts was a fighting word in the progressive era – He believed they were here to stay: Some were “good” trusts—public consciences Some were “bad” trusts—lusted greedily for power – His first burst into headlines was an attack on the Northern Securities Company (1902): A railroad holding company organized by financial titan J.P. Morgan and empire builder James J. Hill They sought to achieve a virtual monopoly TR challenged potentates of industrial aristocracy
VII. TR Corrals the Corporations (cont.) The Supreme Court upheld TR’s antitrust suit and ordered Northern Securities Company to dissolve – The Northern Securities decision jolted Wall Street – Angered big business – Greatly enhanced Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust smasher TR initiated over forty legal proceedings against giant monopolies: – Supreme Court (1905) declared the beef trust illegal – The heavy fist of justice fell upon monopolists controlling sugar, fertilizer, harvesters, and other key products TR’s real purpose was symbolic: to prove conclusively that the government, not private business, ruled the country
VII. TR Corrals the Corporations (cont.) – He believed in regulating, not fragmenting, the big business combines – He hoped to make the business leaders more amenable to federal regulation – He never swung his trust-crushing stick with maximum force – Industrial behemoths more “tame” at the end of TR’s reign His successor, William Howard Taft: – Actually “busted” more trusts than TR – Taft launched a suit against U.S. Steel (1911) but it caused a political reaction by TR.
VIII. Caring for the Consumer Roosevelt backed a noteworthy measure (1906) that benefited both corporations and consumers: – The meat packing industry called for safer canned products – Caused by Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906) It intended to focused on the plight of workers But instead appalled the public with his description of disgustingly unsanitary preparation of food products It described Chicago’s slaughterhouses.
VIII. Caring for the Consumer (cont.) Roosevelt induced Congress to pass: – The Meat Inspection Act (1906): Decreed that the preparation of meat shipped over state lines would be subject to federal inspection from corral to can – The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906): Designed to prevent the adulteration and mislabeling of foods and pharmaceuticals
IX. Earth Control Steps to conservation of US natural resources: – Desert Land Act (1877): Whereby the federal government sold arid land cheaply on the condition that the purchaser irrigate the thirsty soil within three years. – Forest Reserve Act (1891): Authorized the president to set aside public forests as national parks and other reserves Some 46 million acres were rescued.
IX. Earth Control (cont.) – Carey Act (1894): Distributed federal land to the states on condition that it be irrigated and settled. – New day for the history of conservation dawned with Roosevelt (see “Makers of America: The Environmentalists,” pp. 652-653) He seized the banner of conservation leadership Congress responded with the landmark Newlands Act (1902): – Washington was authorized to collect money from the sale of public land in western states – Use the funds for the development of irrigation projects.
IX. Earth Control (cont.) The Roosevelt Dam, constructed on the Arizona’s Salt River, was appropriately dedicated by Roosevelt (1911) TR worked to preserve the nation’s shrinking forests: – He set aside in federal reserves some 125 million acres – He earmarked million of acres of coal deposits, and water resources useful for irrigation and power Conservation and reclamation was Roosevelt’s most enduring tangible achievement The disappearance of the frontier—was believed to be the source of national characteristics as individualism and democracy
IX. Earth Control (cont.) Organizations and societies created: – Result of Jack London’s Call of the Wild (1903) – Outdoor-oriented Boy Scouts of America – Audubon Society to save wild native birds – The Sierra Club (1906) dedicated to preserve the wildness of the western landscape Losses: – (1913) when San Francisco built a dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley
IX. Earth Control (cont.) – It caused a deep division between conservationists that persists to the present day – Roosevelt’s chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, believed that “wilderness was waste” – Pinchot and TR wanted to use the nation’s natural endowment intelligently—thus two battles: » One against greedy commercial interests that abused nature » And against romantic preservationists who simply were “woodman-spare-that-tree” sentimentality – A national policy was developed of “multiple-use resource management” » Sought to combine recreation, sustained-yield logging, watershed protection, and summer stock grazing on the same expanse of federal land
IX. Earth Control (cont.) – Westerners learned how to work with the federal management of natural resources: Through new agencies, such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation They worked with federal conservation programs devoted to the rational, large-scale, and long-term use of natural resources Single-person enterprises were shouldered aside, in the interest of efficiency, by the combined bulk of big business and big government
X. The “Roosevelt Panic” of 1907 Roosevelt’s second term: – He called for regulating corporations, taxing incomes, and protecting workers – He declared (1904) under no circumstances would he be a candidate for a third term – He suffered a sharp setback (1907) when a panic descended on Wall Street: There were frightened “runs” on banks, suicides, and criminal indictments against speculators The financial world hastened to blame Roosevelt Conservatives called him “Theodore the Meddler”
X. The “Roosevelt Panic” of 1907 (cont.) – Results of the 1907 panic: Paved the way for long-overdue fiscal reforms Precipitating a currency shortage—showed the need for a more elastic medium of exchange Congress (1908) responded by passing the Aldrich- Vreeland Act: – It authorized national banks to issue emergency currency backed by various kinds of collateral The path was smoothed for the momentous Federal Reserve Act of 1913 (see p. 665).
XI. The Rough Rider Thunders Out Roosevelt in 1908: – Could easily have won a second presidential nomination and won the election – However, he felt bound in by impulsive postelection promise of 1904 – He sought a successor who would carry out “my policies”: His choice was William Henry Taft, secretary of war and a mild progressive He often served upon Roosevelt’s absence
XI. The Rough Rider Thunders Out (cont.) In 1908 he “steamrollered” to push Taft’s nomination on the first ballot The Democrats nominated twice-beaten William Jennings Bryan – The campaign of 1908: Taft—“Boy Orator”—tried to don the progressive Roosevelt mantle Taft read cut-and-dried speech The majority chose stability with Roosevelt-endorsed Taft, who polled 321 electoral votes to 162 for Bryan The Socialists amassed 420,793 votes for Eugene V. Debs (see pp. 599-600).
XI. The Rough Rider Thunders Out (cont.) Roosevelt branded by his adversaries: – As a wild-eyed radical – Had a reputation as an eater of errant industrialists – The number of laws he inspired were not in proportion to the amount of noise he made – Often under attack from the reigning business lords: – But they knew they had a friend in the White House – He should first and foremost be remembered as the cowboy who tamed the bucking bronco of adolescent capitalism, thus ensuring it a long adult life.
XI. The Rough Rider Thunders Out (cont.) Roosevelt’s achievements and popularity: – His youthfulness appealed to the young of all ages – He served as a political lightning rod: To protect capitalists against popular indignation— against socialism – He strenuously sought the middle road between unbridled individualism and paternalist collectivism
XI. The Rough Rider Thunders Out (cont.) – His conservation crusade: Tried to mediate between romantic wilderness preservationists – And the rapacious resource-predators Was probably his most typical and his most lasting achievement – Other contributions of Roosevelt: Greatly enlarged the power/prestige of the presidency Helped shape the progressive movement Opened the eyes of Americans to the fact that they shared the world with other nations.
XII. Taft: A Round Peg in a Square Hole William Howard Taft: – Had established an enviable reputation as a lawyer and judge – Had been a trusted administrator under Roosevelt – Suffered from lethal political handicaps: Had not of the arts of a dashing political leader He recoiled from the clamor of controversy, generally adopted an attitude of passivity toward Congress Was a poor judge of public opinion
XIII. Taft: A Round Peg in a Square Hole (cont.) His candor made him a chronic victim of “foot-in- mouth” disease Was a mild progressive, but at heart was wedded to the status quo rather than to change – His cabinet did not contain a single representative of the party’s “insurgent” wing
XIII. The Dollar Goes Abroad as a Diplomat Taft’s foreign policy: – Use the lever of American investments to boost American political interests abroad—dollar diplo- macy: Encouraged Wall Street to invest surplus dollars into foreign areas of strategic concern to the U.S. Especially the Far East and the Panama Canal Thus the bankers would strengthen American defenses and foreign policies—bring prosperity to the homeland The almighty dollar supplanted the big stick.
XIII. The Dollar Goes Abroad as a Diplomat (cont.) – Foreign areas of interest to Taft: China’s Manchuria was Taft’s most spectacular effort The new trouble spot of revolution-riddled Caribbean Wall Street was encouraged to pump dollars into the financial vacuums in Honduras and Haiti to keep foreign funds out Sporadic disorders in palm-fronded Cuba, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic brought American forces to restore order and protect American investments 2500 marines (1912) landed in Nicaragua They remained in Nicaragua for 30 years (see Map 29.2 on p. 668).
XIV. Taft the Trustbuster Taft managed to gain some fame as a smasher of monopolies: – Taft brought 90 suits against trusts during his 4 years to 44 for Roosevelt in 7 ½ years – Most judicial actions came in 1911 when the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the mighty Standard Oil Company: It was judged to be a combination in restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.
XIV. Taft the Trustbuster (cont.) – The Supreme Court handed down its famous “rule of reason”: Doctrine—only those combinations that “unreasonably” restrained trade were illegal This action ripped a huge hole in the government’s antitrust net – 1911: antitrust suit against the U.S. Steel Corporation This initiative infuriated Roosevelt Once Roosevelt’s protégé, President Taft was increasingly taking on the role of his antagonist.
XV. Taft Splits the Republican Party Progressive members of the Republican Party who favored lowering tariffs – Thought they had a friend in Taft – The House passed a moderately reductive bill – Senate reactionaries tacked on hundreds of upward tariff revisions – Much to the dismay of Taft supporters he signed the Payne-Aldrich Bill – Taft called it “the best bill that the Republican Party ever passed.”
XV. Taft Splits the Republican Party (cont.) Taft also proved to be a dedicated conservationist: – Established the Bureau of Mines to control mineral resources – One praiseworthy accomplishment was the Ballinger-Pinchot quarrel (1910): Secretary of the Interior Richard Ballinger opened public lands in Wyoming, Montana, Alaska to corpor- ate development Ballinger was sharply criticized by Gifford Pinchot, chief of the Agriculture Department’s Division of Forestry and a stalwart Rooseveltian
XV. Taft Splits the Republican Party (cont.) Taft dismissed Pinchot—insubordination charges – Caused rift between Roosevelt and Taft – The reformist wing of the Republican party was now up in arms Taft was being pushed into the stand-pat Old Guard 1910 the Grand Old Party was split wide-open, largely due to the clumsiness of Taft Roosevelt returned to New York and then stirred up a tempest by stumping at Osawatomie, Kansas with a flaming speech His doctrine, “New Nationalism,” urged the national government to increase its power to remedy economic and social abuses
XV. Taft Splits the Republican Party (cont.) Results of the tensions between Taft and Roosevelt and the Republican Party: – Republicans lost badly in congressional elections (1910) – Democrats emerged with 228 seats, leaving the once-dominant Republicans with only 161 – A socialist representative, Austrian-born Victor L. Berger, was elected from Milwaukee – Republicans, by virtue of holdovers, retained the Senate, 51 to 41.
XVI. The Taft-Roosevelt Rupture Now there was a full-fledged revolt: – 1911: the National Progressive Republican League was formed Fiery, white-maned Senator La Follette (Wisconsin) became the leading Republican presidential candidate – February 1912, Roosevelt formally wrote to 7 state governors that he was willing to accept the Republican nomination His reasoning—the third-term tradition applied to three consecutive elective terms.
XVI. The Taft-Roosevelt Rupture (cont.) Roosevelt, the Rough Rider, came clattering into the presidential primaries, pushing La Follette aside – Taft-Roosevelt explosion was near in June 1912, at the Republican convention in Chicago Rooseveltites were about 100 delegates short of winning the nomination They challenged the right of some 250 Taft delegates to be seated Most of these contests were arbitrarily settled for Taft Roosevelt refused to quit the game. Having tasted for the first time the bitter cup of defeat, now on fire, led a third-party crusade.