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The Roots of Progressivism

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1 The Roots of Progressivism

2 The Rise of Progressivism
The struggle for the right of women to vote was only one of a series of reform efforts that transformed American society in the early 1900’s. Progressivism was not a tightly organized political movement with a specific set of reforms. Progressives had many different ideas about how to fix the problems they believed existed in American society.

3 Progressives generally believed that industrialism and urbanization had created many problems. They believed the government should be more involved in fixing these problems. Most were educated, urban and middle-class.

4 Beginnings of Progressivism
Progressivism was a partly a reaction against laissez-faire economics and its emphasis on an unregulated market. After seeing the major problems that existed in cities many believed that the government had to be fixed before the other problems could be taken care of. One constant belief was in the ability of science and technology to produce change. Several advancements had taken place because of technology (lightbulb, telephone, railroads). The benefits of these advancements made progressives believe that solutions for society could be produced by the same methods.

5 The Muckrakers Among the first people to articulate Progressive ideas was a group of crusading journalists who investigated social conditions and political corruption. These writers became known as muckrakers.

6 American publishers were competing to see who could expose the most corruption and scandal. Several magazines became very popular during this time including-McClure’s, Collier’s and Munsey’s. Some important authors and topics included: Ida Tarbell-business practices of companies like Standard Oil Charles Edward Russell-the beef industry David Graham Phillips-how many influenced the senate Lincoln Steffens-vote stealing and corrupt practices of urban political machines Jacob Riis-described the poverty, disease, and crime that afflicted many immigrant neighborhoods in New York City

7 Making Government Efficient
One group of progressives focused on making government more efficient. They believed many problems could be solved if government worked properly. Efficiency progressives took their ideas from business. These progressives believed business had become more efficient by applying the principles of scientific management.

8 The ideas of scientific management had been developed in the late 1800’s and were popularized by Frederick Taylor’s book The Principles of Scientific Management. This included breaking tasks down into small parts, and using standardized tools. These progressives believed that the democratic system had allowed people to be put into positions of power that were not qualified to run a city. They instead suggested a commission plan in which a city would be divided into departments that would have leaders chosen by a council. These leaders would be experts in a particular area and would focus all of their attention to very specific tasks.

9 Democracy and Progressivism
Political reform came to the state level when Wisconsin voters elected Robert La Follette to be governor. He attacked the way political parties ran their conventions. He opposed the way party bosses chose convention delegates which also resulted in bosses chosing who ran for office. He pushed for a direct primary-in which all party members could vote for a candidate. These reforms gave Wisconsin the reputation as the “Laboratory of Democracy” Other changes in state govenrnment followed including: Initiative-allowed a group of citizens to introduce legislation and required the legislature to vote on it Referendum-proposed legislation presented to voters for approval Recall-allowed voters to call for a special election to remove an elected official from office before their term expired.

10 Direct Election of Senators
The Constitution directed each state legislature to elect two senators from each state. Political machines and trusts often had a huge impact on electing these senators and they repaid their supporters with federal contracts and jobs. Many muckrakers saw the problems with this system. To counter this corruption, progressives called for the direct election of senators by all state voters. In 1912 a direct election amendment was created. (17th amendment)

11 The Suffrage Movement In July 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Their first priority was getting women the right to vote. The movement for women’s right to vote became known as the suffrage movement.

12 Women’s suffrage became an important issue for progressives
Women’s suffrage became an important issue for progressives. Although the suffrage movement began well before progressivism emerged, many progressives joined the movement in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The movement got off to a slow start. Women suffragists were accused of being unfeminine and immoral. Several were physically attacked. Another problem prior to the Civil War was that many members were also abolitionist and focused entirely on ending slavery. Members of the women’s suffrage movement had hoped that the laws to ensure voting rights to African Americans after the war would also include women.

13 The movement split because of disagreements over how to approach gaining suffrage. The group lead by Stanton and Susan B. Anthony-the National Woman Suffrage Association-wanted to focus on creating a constitutional amendment. The second group lead by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe-American Woman Suffrage Association-wanted to get women the right to vote in individual states first and the constitution later. The split reduced the movements effectiveness. In 1878 a constitutional amendment granting woman suffrage was introduced in Congress, but it failed to pass. Few states granted women the right to vote-only 5 by 1900.

14 The Movement Builds Support
In 1890 the two groups united to form the National American Women Suffrage Association. The movement did not make significant gains, however, until about Part of the problem was convincing women to become politically active. Many woman wanted to vote to promote social performs, others wanted the vote to ensure passage of labor laws protecting women.

15 As the suffrage movement grew members began lobbying lawmakers, organizing marches, and delivering speeches on streets corners. By the end of states had granted women full voting rights. On March 13, 1913, the day before President Wilson’s inauguration, suffragists marched in Washington D.C. to draw attention to their cause.

16 Alice Paul, a Quaker social worker who headed NAWSA’s congressional committee, had organized the Washington march. Paul wanted to use protests to force President Wilson to take action on suffrage. Her actions alarmed other members who wanted to negotiate with Wilson. She left the party and started the National Woman’s Party. Their members picketed the White House, blocked sidewalks, chained themselves to lampposts, and went on hunger strikes if arrested. Eventually the NAWSA gave their support to Wilson because the Democratic Party supported states giving women the right to vote.

17 The Nineteenth Amendment
As more states granted women the right to vote, Congress began to favor a constitutional amendment. In 1918 the House of Representatives passed a woman suffrage amendment. Wilson addressed the Senate, asking it to vote for the amendment-the amendment failed to pass by two votes. The following year in June 1919, the Senate finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment by just more than the two-thirds vote needed. On August 26, 1920, after three-fourths of the states had voted to ratify it, the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote went into effect.


19 Social Welfare Progressivism
While some progressives focused on reforming the political system, others focused on social problems such as crime, illiteracy, alcohol abuse, child labor, and the health and safety of Americans. They created charities to help the poor and disadvantaged.

20 The Campaign Against Child Labor
Probably the most emotional Progressive issue was the campaign against child labor. In 1900 over 1.7 million children under the age of 16 worked outside the home. Reformers established a National Child Labor Committee in 1904 to abolish child labor. John Spargo’s 1906 book The Bitter Cry of the Children presented detailed evidence on child labor conditions. It described 9 and 10 year old workers in coal mines that would develop curved spines and nerve damage in their hands from picking slag out of coal 10 hours a day.

21 Reports like these pushed states to create minimum age laws for workers as well as laws on the amount of hours that could be worked. At this same time compulsory education laws were being passed throughout the U.S. Child labor began to decline once these education and labor laws were passed and as more jobs were available to adults. Soon mothers would replace children in the factories.


23 Health and Safety Codes
Many adult workers also labored in difficult conditions. Factories, coal mines, and railroads were particularly dangerous. An example was a fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City. Nearly 150 women workers died, trapped by doors locked from the outside. These deaths caused New York to pass strict building codes for fire hazards and machinery.

24 During the early 1900’s, thousands of people died or were injured on the job, but they and their families received little compensation. Progressive union leaders pushed for compensation laws that helped provide for injured workers and their families. Progressives also favored zoning laws as a method of protecting the public. These laws divided a town or city into zones for commercial, residential, or other development, thereby regulating how land and buildings could be used. (required fire escapes)


26 The Prohibition Movement
Many progressives believed alcohol was responsible for many problems in American life. Settlement house workers hated the effects of drinking on families. Scarce wages were spent on alcohol, and drinking lead to abuse and sickness. Employers believed drinking hurt workers efficiency, while political reformers viewed the saloon as the headquarters of political bosses.

27 The temperance movement, which advocated the moderation of elimination of alcohol, emerged from these concerns. For the most part, women led the temperance movement. In 1874 a group of women formed the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. When it began the temperance movement concentrated on reducing alcohol consumption. Later it pressed for prohibition laws banning the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol


29 Progressives Versus Big Business
Many progressives believed that wealth was concentrated in the hands of too few people. Many became concerned about trusts and holding companies. Many disagreed about how to deal with regulating big business. Some believed that the government should break up big companies to restore competition. (Sherman Anti-Trust Act 1890) Other pushed for regulating agencies to monitor business (Interstate Commerce Commission)

30 What is Socialism? What do they want? Who was an important leader?

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