Presentation on theme: " Nearly 76 million Americans greeted the new century in 1900. Almost one in seven of them were foreign-born. The 20 th century will bring in ethnically."— Presentation transcript:
Nearly 76 million Americans greeted the new century in 1900. Almost one in seven of them were foreign-born. The 20 th century will bring in ethnically and racially mixed American people than before. These new crusaders will call themselves the Progressives. These progressives population will be large, diverse, and widely deployed when it comes to war.
This groundbreaking group has gone far back as the Populists Party of the 1890’s and the Greenback Labor Party of the 1870’s. Progressives were now saying that society could no longer afford the luxury of a limitless “Leave Alone” policy. Well before 1900 politicians and writers had begun to pinpoint targets for the progressive attack. Many populists loudly branded the “trusts” because of the corruption and wrongdoing that was attached to those corporations.
Others entered into the social aspect of American life and expressed what was really going to behind the scenes. Americans in the 1890’s with the book of “How the Other Half lives”, was an account of the dirt, disease, vice, and misery of the rat invested New York Slums. The book deeply influenced Theodore Roosevelt, who would eventually be the police commissioner. Critics of social injustice issued from other aspects. Socialists, many of them were immigrants from Europe, promoted Social Gospel. These were messengers promoted a brand of progressivism based on Christian teachings. They used religious doctrine to demand better housing and living conditions for the urban poor. Feminists also joined the ranks and put suffrage in the list of needed reforms. With pioneers l ike Jane Addams, and Lillian Wald in New York they were blazing the way for women and to improve the lot of families and working in the major cities.
Beginning about 1902 the exposing of evil became an industry among American publishers. Many were waging wars; they dug deep for dirt that the public wanted. President Roosevelt branded these reporters Muckrakers in 1906. He was annoyed by their excess of zeal, he compared the mudslinging magazine dirt-diggers to the figure in Pilgrim’s Progress(magazine at the time), who was so intent on raking manure that he could not see the crown hanging over his head. The Muckrakers boomed circulation, and some of their most scandalous exposures were published into books. Many of them had various targets such as insurance companies, and tariff lobbies. They also would target the government and even the Senate body, which one charged the Senate that 75 of the 90 senators did not represent the people at all but the railroad and trusts.
The most effective ones were directed at the social evils. They ugly list included: white slave, the trafficking of women, the slums, and the appalling number of industrial accidents. Full of sound and fury, the muckrakers signified much about the nature of progressive reform movement. They were to right social wrongs; they counted on publicity and help make the public aware of these wrong doings. They sought not to overthrow capitalism but to cleanse it. The cure for this was American democracy and they truly believed in this system.
Women proved to be an indispensable part of the progressive army. A crucial focus for women’s activism was the settlement house movement. At this particular time, women could not hold political office or vote. Also American cities had major problems as well and they were poverty, political corruption, and intolerable working and living conditions. This movement provided ways in which more women could achieve much more than they were. For example: literary clubs were designed to educate women also a place where they could express themselves as well. Campaigns for factory reform and temperance movements attracted women, and there were unsafe and unsanitary sweatshops-factories where workers toiled long hours for low wages-were public scandal in many cities.
Laws regulating factories were worthless if not enforced, a truth horribly demonstrated by a lethal fire in 1911 in New York City. Locked doors and other violations of the fire code turned the factory into a death trap. 146 workers, mostly women, were incinerated and some jumped. With much outcry the New York legislature passed much stronger laws regulating the hours and conditions of sweatshop toil. Also corner saloons, with their shutter doors attracted progressives. Alcohol was connected with prostitution, with the drunken voter, and also with crooked city officials dominated by booze and poker by night.
Anti-liquor campaigns received powerful support from militant organizations. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was the largest organization of women in the world. This organization was an Anti-Saloon League which was aggressive, well organized, and well financed. Some states were caught up and these states passed dry laws, which controlled, restricted or abolished alcohol. Most of the large cities were generally wet because of the large immigration vote.
Theodore Roosevelt was touched by the progressive wave at home, and like other reformers, he feared that the public interest was being submerged in indifference. Roosevelt made this his problems when no one cared. His instincts spurred him into demanding a Square Deal, for capital, labor, and the public at large. His program embraced the three C’s which were: Control of corporations, consumer protection and conservation of natural resources. The Square Deal for labor came when a strike broke out in Pennsylvania and some 140,000 workers, mostly immigrants demanded more improvements with an increase in pay and less hours of work.
After many tries at negotiating Roosevelt finally resorted to his trusted big stick and threatened to seize the mines and operate them with federal troops. A compromise with decided upon with a 10 percent pay boost and a working day of nine hours. But their union was not officially recognized as a bargaining agent. As a result Roosevelt asked Congress to create a department of commerce and labor. This goal was achieved in 1903. This agency was then split in two, and the second portion was the Bureau of Corporations, which was authorized to probe businesses engage in interstate commerce. They were responsible for breaking the strongholds of monopolies in the era of trust-busting.
The railroad company needed much restraint and in the interstate commerce commission was created in 1887. The commission was to appeal rates to the federal courts- a process which takes 10 years. The railroads provided Roosevelt with an opportunity to brandish his antitrust bludgeon. Trusts had become to be a fighting word in the progressive era. Roosevelt was determined to respond to popular outcry, but he was also determined not to overthrow all large businesses. Roosevelt as a trustbuster went after the Northern Securities Company which was headed by JP Morgan. Roosevelt was therefore challenging the most regal organizations in the industrial aristocracy. In 1904, the railroad promoters ordered the Northern Securities Company to be dissolved. This decision jolted Wall Street and big businesses and Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust buster.
Roosevelt’s reputation as a trustbuster had much mythology. The Rough Rider understood the political popularity of monopoly-smashing, but he did not consider it sound economic policy. Bigness was not badness and he believed in regulating, not fragmenting, the big business combines. The threat of dissolution, he felt, might make businesses fall under certain regulations. In truth, Roosevelt never swung his trust busting stick with maximum force, but it many ways he strengthened and made the big businesses healthier. William H. Taft actually busted more trusts than he did. Roosevelt even gave JP Morgan his blessing when he started the US Steel Company.
Roosevelt backed a noteworthy measure in 1906 which claimed that American mean packing companies were tainted. Foreign governments were even threatened to ban all American meat imports. At the same time American consumers hungered by safer canned products after Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle was published in 1906. The book described in awful detail the filth, disease, and putrefaction in Chicago’s damp, ill-ventilated slaughterhouses. Readers and Roosevelt was sickened by this mess and he wanted Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. It made the preparation of meat shipped over state lines would be subject to federal inspection from corral to can. Also the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 were designed to prevent the adulteration and mislabeling of foods and pharmaceuticals.
Many American’s were looting and polluting their natural resources with amazing speed and greed. A first feeble step toward conservation took place with the Desert Land Act of 1877 in which the federal government to irrigate soil within 3 years. The Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which authorized the president to set aside public forests as national parks and other reserves. Under this act 43 million acres of trees were rescued and the Carey Act of 1892 distributed federal land to the states on the condition that it be irrigated and settled.
Conservation, and reclamation, may have been Roosevelt’s most enduring achievements. He was concerned about the disappearance of the frontier and believed in national characteristic and individualism and democracy. And under Roosevelt professional foresters and engineers developed a policy of multiple use resource management. They sought to combine recreation, logging, watershed protection, and summer stock grazing on federal land. As a result, single person enterprises’ were shouldered aside, in the interest of efficiency, by the combined bulk of big businesses and big government.
In 1904 Roosevelt was easily elected President because of his enormous personality. In this particular election he announced that he would not run again after this term. This was a huge blunder and for the power of the king wanes when people know he will be dead in four years. In 1907, a short panic came on Wall Street, which caused a financial flurry. The financial world hastened to blame Roosevelt for the storm. Fortunately the panic of 1907 paved the way for reform. Currency shortage in short found it hard pressed to increase the volume of money in circulation, and the reserves were hard- pressed to lend to their less fortunate competitors. In 1908, Congress responded by passing the Aldrich-Vreeland Act, which authorized national banks to issue emergency currency backed by various kinds of collateral. This emergency smoothed for the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
Roosevelt could have easily won a third term, and he chose a man that would carry out his policies, who was William Howard Taft and he was 350 pounds. Roosevelt went to bat for Taft and Taft polled in 321 electoral votes to 162 votes for Bryan. Roosevelt left soon after the election for a lion hunt in Africa. He was remembered for a lot of things but mostly he should be remembered first a foremost as the cowboy who started to tame capitalism. His enthusiasm and youthfulness appealed to all ages. He served as a political lightening rod to protect capitalists.
Several of TR’s ideals and policies lasted long after his presidency. His Square Deal in a sense was the grandfather of the New Deal later started by his 5 th cousin FDR. Finally, TR opened the eyes of Americans to the fact that they shared the world with other nations. As a great power, they had fallen heir to responsibilities, and had seized by ambitions which there was no escape.
Taft: 350 pounds, he had a jovial laugh. He graduated second in his class at Yale, and had established his reputation as a lawyer and judge. He had been a trusted administrator under Roosevelt, in the Philippines, at home and in Cuba. Taft was different in so many ways and he was not the dashing politician like Roosevelt was. He was a poor judge of public opinion, and his candor made him a chronic victim of foot in mouth disease.
Taft managed to gain some fame as a smasher of monopolies. The truth was that 90 suits were brought out against the trusts during his 4 years in office. In his term the Standard Oil Company was ordered to dissolve and came into violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act on 1890. Eventually in 1911 Taft decided to press a suit against the US Steel Corporation. This act was upsetting to Roosevelt, and Taft was setting the stage for a huge confrontation.
Lowering the barriers of the protective tariff was high on the agenda of the progressive members of the Republican Party, and they thought they had a friend and ally in Taft. Much to the dismay of his supporters, Taft signed the Payne-Aldrich Bill, which left salt in their wounds. This bill was intended to lower tariffs, but instead it was revised by retaining high rates on most imports, and Taft angered his party by declaring that this was the “best bill that the Republican Party ever passed.”
Roosevelt was now thinking that he wanted to run for a third term and in February of 1912 he wrote into governors and told them he was willing to accept the Republican nomination. Taft was furious and they both met at the convention in Chicago in June of 1912. Roosevelt was 100 delegates short of winning the nomination. Most of the contests were settle in favor of Taft, who held most of the power in the convention. Roosevelt cried out fraud and naked theft in the end refused to vote, and Taft won. Roosevelt refused to quit and Roosevelt tasting defeat for the first time he was now on fire to lead a third party crusade.
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