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The Age of Reform: 1890-1920 Populist and Progressive responses to rapid development.

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Presentation on theme: "The Age of Reform: 1890-1920 Populist and Progressive responses to rapid development."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Age of Reform: 1890-1920 Populist and Progressive responses to rapid development

2 The Age of Reform Richard Hofstadter, a prominent American historian of the mid- 20 th century, wrote The Age of Reform a classic analysis on social, political and economic developments of the turn-of-the-century. Hofstadter described the period from the 1890s to the 1930s as an Age of Reform which attempted to deal with the rapid and radical changes occurring within the country. He divided the reforms this way: 1890-1900 – The Age of Populism and the Bryan Campaign 1900-1914 – The Progressive Era 1930s – The New Deal He felt these reform movements set the political and social tone of American discourse for the rest of the century.

3 Populism/William Jennings Bryan: An Agrarian Response The first wave of political and social reform responded to the problems of the western farmers. The Grange Movement and the Farmers’ Alliance saw government regulation as the solution to the problems of banks and railroads. Why might this be difficult? A 3 rd political party, The Populist Party, was created in 1892 to give farmers a greater voice in reform.

4 The Populist Party What the Populists stood for: - increased money supply (bimetallism-backing currency with Gold and Silver) - a graduated income tax - federal loans for farmers - popular election of US Senators - stronger regulation of the railroads 1896 – William Jennings Bryan give the “Cross of Gold” Speech at the Democratic Party convention and becomes Democrat/Populist candidate for president. Bryan’s loss represented the limits of a single-constituency party in national elections.

5 Progressivism takes up the fight The Progressive Movement was a middle-class reform effort that addressed more broad ranging problems created by rapid development. Progressivism had four goals: Protecting Social Welfare Promoting Moral Improvement Creating Economic Reform Fostering Efficient/Responsive Governments

6 Muckrackers Progressive reforms and the need for reform became popular through a group of reporters who exposed corruption in business and politics through investigative reports in popular magazines and books. Famous muckrakers included: Ida Tarbell History of Standard Oil - Rockefeller Upton Sinclair The Jungle-Industrial food production Ray Stannard Baker “The Right to Work” – coal miners Lincoln Steffens The Shame of the CIties –political corruption Jacob Riis How the Other Half Lives - urbanization

7 States respond first... Progressives were first successful in making changes at local and state levels. Changes included: initiative/referendum/recall direct election of Senators (17 th Amendment) reduction in working hours and child labor

8 A more active federal government Three Presidents became “Progressive Reformers” Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Inspired by Muckrakers they supported federal efforts to reform bad business practices. Trust-busting – TR begins to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act Public Safety – Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act Railroads – Interstate Commerce Commission is empowered Supporting Unions – Worker’s right to organize is recognized How does this represent a different role of government in reform movements?

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