Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Teddy giving “Flim-Flam” Finance
a thorough scrubbing in a 1902 cover
of Puck magazine
Official White House portrait of TR
by John Singer Sargent (1903)
1909 illustrated postcard by E. Gustin
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
 Desire for Order: Many Americans in the late 19th and early 20th
century felt that rapid industrialization and urbanization had created
too much chaos and social instability.
 Growth of Progressivism: Started with local movements that grew to
national efforts; ultimately it was the presidency rather than Congress
that became the chief vehicle of reform.
 Belief in Progress: Progressives wanted progress and growth, but not
in the the uncontrolled, laissez-faire style of Gilded Age; direct and
forceful human intervention was required for bettering society.
 “Antimonopoly”: While the progressive impulse was diverse, one
strong thread was the desire to break up and limit large concentrations
of wealth and power.
 Faith in Knowledge: Progressives thought they could solve tough
social problems by applying knowledge and expertise.
2
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Muckrakers and the Social Gospel
 Crusading Journalists: Reporters looking to uncover social, economic,
and political injustice who Teddy Roosevelt chastised for “raking up
muck” were the first to embody the national reform spirit.
 Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835-1915): This early “muckraker” and
member of the prominent Massachusetts family exposed the ruthless
practices of financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk as they tried to gain
control over the Erie Railroad in 1868.
 Ida Tarbell (1857-1944): She wrote a series of exposés on the ruthless
business practices of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil in McClure’s
Magazine in 1903, which was published as a book a year later.
 Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936): Steffens wrote a series of exposés on
corruption in city governments also in McClure’s, which he later
published as The Shame of the Cities (1904). Tarbell and Steffens would
later leave McClure’s to form The American Magazine (1906).
3
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Muckrakers and the Social Gospel
 The Social Gospel: This broad label applies to various efforts to drive social
reform through religion (namely Protestant Christianity). Though founded in
England in 1865, the Salvation Army was typical of this idea, offering spiritual
and material aid to the poor in most American cities by 1900. Charles Sheldon’s
In His Steps (1898), a novel about a Protestant minister who leaves a cushy job
for a tough urban environment, sold 15 million copies. The Social Gospel was
not the predominant strand in Progressivism, but it was influential.
Lincoln Steffens
4
Salvation Army Band in Brooklyn in 1909
Ida Tarbell
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Settlement House Movement
 Influence of Environment: Many progressive urban reformers believed
that crowded immigrant slums harmed individual development.
 “Settlement Houses”: The idea of having middle-class “settlement
workers” come in and work with the urban poor originated in England,
with Toynbee Hall opened in 1884 in East London.
 Jane Addams and Hull-House: The social reformer Jane Addams (18601935) opened the first U.S. settlement house, Hull-House, with Ellen
Gates Starr (1859-1940) in the slums of Chicago’s Near West Side
neighborhood. The house began the model for 400 other similar
institutions across the United States. The settlement houses gave birth to
the modern profession of social work, and were viewed as respectable
places for unmarried college women to go and work. Addams was the first
American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
5
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Settlement House Movement
Jane Addams
A Hull-House worker greeting local residents
at the front door of Hull-House.
6
Exterior of the Hull-House complex, which
had thirteen buildings by 1911.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Allure of Expertise
 Expertise and University Training: In general, Progressives placed a
high value on “scientific” solutions to social problems, applying
academic research and training to them.
 Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929): This Norwegian-American economist
and sociologist imagined a society governed by expert “social
engineers”; followers would later call this rule by “technocrats.”
– The Professions
 “New Middle Class”: Historians give this label this new group of
highly trained professionals who emerged around the turn of the
twentieth century: managers, technicians, accountants, specialized
lawyers and businessmen, and scientists and engineers. Professional
organizations began to develop that set standards for training.
7
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– The Professions
8
 American Medical Association: Founded as a loose organization in 1847, the
association incorporated in 1897 and reorganized in 1901 to uphold strict
scientific standards for those allowed to practice medicine, fighting against
“quackery” that had long plagued American medicine. States began passing
medical licensing laws, and medical education improved, especially as rigorous
medical schools like Johns Hopkins (1893) were created, making U.S. medical
education quickly on par with that of Europe.
 Legal Profession: By 1916, lawyers had established bar associations in all 48
states and law schools expanded to meet the demands.
 Business: Businessmen began funding schools of business administration, like
the Wharton School at U. Penn (1881, and creating professional organizations
like National Association of Manufacturers (1895) and the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, which became powerful lobbying tools.
 Exclusion: Professional organizations often excluded women and people of
color.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Progressive Impulse
– Women and the Professions
 Limited Opportunities: Even middle-class, college-educated women
found their opportunities limited in the professions, although a small
group became the first wave of female doctors, lawyers, engineers,
scientists, and corporate managers.
 “Gender-Appropriate” Professions: Most gravitated toward
professions that were considered suitable for women, like nursing,
social work, and to the largest extent, teaching. In the late nineteenth
century, 90 percent of of all female professionals were teachers. Some
women also found careers in academia, teaching at new women’s
schools.
9
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Women and Reform
 Key Role of Women in Reform Causes: Women were leaders in
progressive reform, but held few public offices, had only small
footholds in most professions, and often shared the belief with
middle-class men that women were not suited for the public world.
– The “New Woman”
10
 More Time: Middle-class housewives were having less children and
kids were going to school at an earlier age.
 Shunning Marriage: Some college-educated women shunned
marriage entirely to devote their lives to their careers.
 “Boston Marriages”: Some single women lived together with another
woman in long-term relationships that were secretly romantic; such
arrangements became marginally acceptable.
 Divorce Rates Rise: Divorce rates rose from one in twenty-one in
1880 to one in nine in 1920.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Women and Reform
– The Clubwomen
11
 Women’s Clubs: These became more acceptable public spaces for
middle-class and elite women in the late nineteenth century,
largely as places for intellectual and cultural stimulation.
 General Federation of Women’s Clubs: Founded in 1892 to
coordinate the activities of local clubs, it started with 100,000
members and 500 clubs. It reached one million members by
1917.
 Clubs and Social Reform: The women’s clubs evolved from
primarily cultural institutions to advocates for social reform:
labor laws for children and women, food and drug regulation,
urban housing standards, anti-alcohol legislation, and also
“mothers’ pensions” at the state level for abandoned or widowed
mothers of young children.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
– The Clubwomen
 Clubs and Social Reform: The women’s clubs evolved from
primarily cultural institutions to advocates for social reform: labor
laws for children and women, food and drug regulation, urban
housing standards, anti-alcohol legislation, and also “mothers’
pensions” at the state level for abandoned or widowed mothers of
young children.
 Women’s Trade Union League: Founded in 1903 to by women
union members and elite women to encourage women’s union
membership, support strikers, and lobby for protective legislation.
 Black Women: Black women generally were excluded from white
clubs, so they formed their own and also created an alternate
umbrella organization: the National Association of Colored Women
(created when two separate organizations merged in 1896).
 Overall: Clubs in general did not challenge the male-dominated
order, but did provide a new kind of public space for women.
12
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Women and Reform
– Woman Suffrage
 Radical Challenge of Woman Suffrage: The idea that women had the
same “natural rights” as men challenged the traditional idea that there
should be a separate “sphere” for women, and that the “natural order”
dictated women to stay home with children. Anti-suffrage activists
claimed suffrage would lead to more divorce, promiscuity, and
neglect of children.
 National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA): Founded
in 1890, this organization made big gains after the turn of the century.
It went from 13,000 members in 1893 to over 2 million in 1917.
Became the League of Women Voters after 1920.
 Argument for Suffrage: Suffrage would not challenge the separate
sphere dynamic, but women would curb the belligerence of men and
make war a thing of the past.
13
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Women and Reform
– Woman Suffrage: States








1890: Wyoming admitted to the Union permitting woman suffrage.
1893: Colorado adopts woman suffrage.
1896: Utah joins the Union permitting woman suffrage.
1910: Washington State adopts it.
1912: Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona adopt woman suffrage.
1914: Nevada and Montana adopt woman suffrage.
1917: New York women are granted suffrage.
1918: Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma adopt woman
suffrage.
 1919: Thirty-nine states adopt suffrage for women in at least some
elections.
14
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Suffragette Parade in NYC, 1915
15
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Women and Reform
Alice
Paul
– Woman Suffrage
 Nineteenth Amendment: Finally passes in 1919 is ratified on August
18, 1920. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had drafted
the amendment in 1878, and it became law over four decades later. It
failed to pass the House in 1915; it passed the House but not the
Senate in 1918, and then narrowly failed again in February 1919.
President Wilson called for a special session in May and June to get it
done, and it at last passed with considerable pressure from him.
 Equal Rights Amendment: Feminist Alice Paul (1885-1977) broke
away from NAWSA in 1916, frustrated with its “separate sphere”
argument. She believed that women needed not just suffrage, but also
laws protecting their rights and preventing discrimination. Paul’s
proposals were mostly ignored.
16
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Assault on the Parties
 Reforming Government: Progressives argued that government needed
to be reformed before society at large could be, and that the two
major parties were obstacles to making government an instrument for
change.
 Two-Party Stranglehold: From the 1870s to the 1890s, the Greenback
Party and the Populists tried to break the big party stranglehold, as did
the independent Republican reformers known as the Mugwumps.
 Some Reforms: For example, most states in the 1880s and 1890s
adopted the secret ballot, which weakened party power. Before the
secret ballot, parties printed the “tickets” and often hard party thugs
observe voting behavior.
17
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Assault on the Parties
– Municipal Reform
 Urban Reform: Most Progressives saw city governments as the most
corrupt and incompetent aspect of party politics, and thus were
targeted by muckraking journalists like Lincoln Steffens. Motivated
middle-class urbanites took up the fight against the bosses.
 Commissions and City-Managers: In Galveston, Texas, after a
devastating flood in 1900 and a poor city government response,
voters replaced the mayor with an elected nonpartisan commission.
The model of a nonpartisan commission or a city manager grew
across the country, with 400 cities being governed by commission and
45 being governed by a city manager by the end of the Progressive
Era. City managers were trained engineers or administrators.
18
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Assault on the Parties
– Statehouse Progressivism
 Boss-Controlled State Legislatures: Reformers looked for ways to
circumvent what they saw as corrupt and incompetent bodies.
 Initiative or Proposition: This ballot mechanism submits legislation
directly to the voters for approval.
 Referendum: Actions of the legislature can be returned to the voters
for their approval. Twenty states had either initiative or referendum
laws by 1918.
 Direct Primary and Recall: The direct primary removes the power of
choosing candidates from the party bosses, giving it to the people.
Recalls could get an official removed through a special election that
could be held if enough signatures were collected. All states adopted
the primaries by 1915, but only a few (like California) adopted the
recall.
19
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Assault on the Parties
– Robert La Follette (1855-1925)
 Progressive Governor: Elected governor of Wisconsin 1900, La Follette
made the state into “a laboratory of progressivism”: created a workers’
compensation system, railroad rate reforms, a primary system, a
minimum wage, nonpartisan elections, and a close relationship between
state officials and academics at the University of Wisconsin who together
tried to solve social problems.
– Parties and Interest Groups
 Decline in Party Influence: The reformers lessened party influence, but
also contributed to a decline in voter turnout: 73 percent of the electorate
voted in 1900, but only 59 percent in 1912. It would never go over 70
percent again (In 2004 and 2008, voter-age turnout was 56.69 and 57.37.)
 “Interest Groups”: Professional organizations, trade groups, labor
unions, and farm lobbies replaced some aspects of party influence.
20
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Sources of Progressive Reform
– Labor, the Machine, and Reform
 Varied Progressive Groups: Middle-class reformers from the East were
the most visible face of the Progressive movement, but working-class
Americans, African Americans, westerners, and even party bosses took
part in reform.
 Labor: Although the AFL led by Samuel Gompers remained mostly
aloof from reform, some unions did become powerful advocates for
regulatory legislation: between 1911 and 1913, the Union Labor Party
in California exerted pressure that led to passage of a child labor law,
workmen’s compensation, and limitations on women’s working hours.
21
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Shirtwaist
Sources of Progressive Reform
– Labor, the Machine, and Reform
C.F. Murphy
22
 Reform from within Tammany: The astute boss of Tammany
Hall, Charles Francis Murphy, began to align some of its
policies with the reformers’ agendas that did not offend its
constituency, like cleaning up the police department and
curbing prostitution.
 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: In 1911, a horrific fire in the top
floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company trapped workers—
mostly immigrant women—in the top floors of a factory
building. Within 18 minutes, 146 were killed, largely because
emergency exits had been locked. Tammany Democrat
legislators Robert Wagner and Alfred Smith led the charge to
create a series of new laws that imposed strict regulations on
factory owners with effective enforcement mechanisms.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Four victims of the Triangle Fire:
Max Florin, Fannie Rosen, Dora Evans
and Josephine Cammarata
Bodies of three women who had fallen to their deaths
23
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Sources of Progressive Reform
– Western Progressives
 Importance of the Federal Government: Out in the Far West, federal
authority was much greater than in the East since many important
issues, like water sources that flowed across state lines and major
subsidies in the form of land grants or funds for railroad and water
projects. Reformers thus targeted the federal government more.
 Progressive Western Congressmen: Progressive Republican George
Norris (1861-1944) of Nebraska, for example, supported the direct
election of senators, advocated for the rights of labor, and was an antiwar isolationist.
24
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Sources of Progressive Reform
– African Americans and Reform
 White Progressives: The issue of racial justice, with just a few
exceptions, was not on the white progressive agenda. Some were what we
now consider to be overtly racist now.
 Booker T. Washington (1856-1915): The founder of the Tuskegee
Institute did not encourage long-term social reform and challenging the
social order, but favored African Americans focusing on selfimprovement. In 1901, Roosevelt invited him to dine at the White House.
 W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963): Du Bois, a Harvard-trained sociologist and
historian, challenged Washington’s stance. In his 1903 Souls of Black
Folk, he attacked Washington for encouraging white efforts to segregate
and keep black aspirations limited. Talented blacks needed full liberal
educations, should aspire to professional careers, and struggle for their
civil rights and not sit passively waiting for them.
25
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
“Is it possible and probable that nine
millions of men can make effective
progress in economic lines if they are
deprived of political rights, made a
servile caste, and allowed only the most
meager chance for developing their
exceptional men?”
W. E. B. Du
Bois
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
26
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Sources of Progressive Reform
– African Americans and Reform
 Founding of the NAACP: In 1905, Du Bois and a group
of his supporters met on the Canadian side of Niagara
Falls since no hotels on the New York side would have
them. In 1909, this group—along with some sympathetic
white supporters—created the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
 Focus on Legal Rights and Anti-Lynching: The NAACP
focused its efforts on equal legal rights and trying to get
anti-lynching laws passed.
 Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931): One of the most
fearless anti-lynching crusaders was this journalist and
political activist employing extensive data and
sophisticated analysis in her writings.
27
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– Morality and Social Order
 Legislating Morality: While progressive spent a lot of energy reforming
politics, many also sought to “legislate morality”: pass laws prohibiting
alcohol, curbing prostitution, limiting divorce, and preventing too great a
influx of immigrants.
 White Protestant “Norms”: Many progressives were white middle-class
or upper-class Protestants who sought to impose their own sense of
morality on the rest of society since they viewed themselves as “true
Americans,” and that immigrants and African Americans, for example,
needed to assimilate to their ways. During the progressive era, states
often enforced “blue laws” against the sale of alcohol or playing baseball
on Sunday, which angered immigrant groups who liked to use Sunday as
a day of leisure.
28
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– The Temperance Crusade
Frances
Willard
29
 Crusade against Alcohol: Many progressives saw banning the sale as
alcohol as necessary to restore social order as it was a major contributing
factor in domestic violence among working-class families. Some
employers were also in favor of these measures since alcohol could have a
negatives effect on efficiency and absenteeism. Saloons also tended to be
important organizing points for urban political machines like Tammany.
 WCTU: Formed in 1873, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was
led as of 1879 by a forceful spokesperson, Frances Willard (1839-1898). It
merged with the Anti-Saloon League in 1893, and had 245,000 members
by 1911, making it the largest women’s organization in the U.S.
 Eighteenth Amendment: By 1916, the WCTU had managed to get 19
states to pass prohibition laws. In 1917, progressives, joined by rural
Christian fundamentalists, got amendment passed in Congress. It was
ratified over the next two years, going into effect in January 1920.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– Immigration Restriction
 Immigrants as a Source of Disorder: Many progressives saw immigrants as a
major source of social disorder in the cities. Some progressives thought it
best to help them assimilate, while others thought that the flow—peaking in
1907 with 1,285,349—needed to be restricted.
 Eugenics: Many popular quasi-scientific theories around 1900—called
“eugenics”—posited that immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe were
of inferior racial stock, and that letting so many in would lead to inevitable
mixing with superior Northern European ethnicities, leading to a dilution of
the Anglo-Saxon majority.
 Dillingham Commission: This special joint congressional committee led by
Senator William P. Dillingham of Vermont met to investigate immigration in
1907. It implied that the recent immigrants were less assimilable than earlier
waves, and that restrictions should be placed on those Southern and Eastern
European nationalities. Big business interests helped to prevent this
legislation from passing since they wanted the cheap labor source.
30
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– The Dream of Socialism
 Socialism’s Peak: The period between 1900 and 1914 was the period of
peak interest in the U.S. In the 1900 presidential election, it carried only
100,000 voters, but hit 1 million in 1912.
 Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926): He was the Socialist Party candidate for
president in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, the last time from a prison
cell. He received his most votes in 1912. His leadership of the American
Railroad Union during the Pullman Strike converted him to socialism.
 “Wobblies”: The Socialist Party believed in taking power through electoral
politics, but more radical groups believed in militant direct action and
violence. One such group was the International Workers of the World,
founded in Chicago in 1905, led by William “Big Bill” Haywood (18691928). The IWW was the only union that was concerned with unskilled
workers—wanting to bring all workers into the same union—and were also
believed to have dynamited railroads and power stations.
31
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– The Dream of Socialism
 Socialism’s Demise: The socialist refusal to support the war effort when
the U.S. entered World War I and the crackdown on radicals and the First
Red Scare (1919-1921) after the war did much to kill off most of the
popular support the Socialist Party enjoyed.
“Big Bill” Haywood of the IWW
32
Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Crusades for Social Order and Reform
– Decentralization and Regulation
 Reforming Capitalism: Most progressives wanted to make reforms within
capitalism itself rather than institute a whole new economic system.
 Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1931): This brilliant lawyer from Kentucky wrote a
book, Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It (1914), argued
against investment bankers using middle-class people’s investments to
consolidate big corporations, which was in their own interests, but not in
those of small investors. Brandeis argued that the federal government should
prevent all big combinations from happening. In 1916, President Wilson
nominated him to the Supreme Court, and he became the first Jewish person
to serve in that capacity.
 “Good Trusts” and “Bad Trusts”: Other progressives thought that big
corporations were unavoidable, but they needed to be strongly regulated by
the federal government. This was the attitude of Theodore Roosevelt.
33
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency
– The Accidental President
34
 Iconic President: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) became an iconic figure
not so much for his reform agenda, but for expanding the powers of the
presidency and making the office the center of national political discourse—
in essence, making it what it is today.
 President by Accident: When McKinley was assassinated in September 1901,
Roosevelt became the youngest president to take the office, at age 42. The
Republican establishment had deep regrets about having put this “wild man”
on the ticket.
 Roosevelt’s Vision of Federal Power: He believed the federal government
should regulate, not destroy the trusts.
 Northern Securities Company: In 1902, Roosevelt had the Justice Department
pursue an anti-trust suit against this gigantic railroad trust that eliminated
competition between several important Western railroads. It was one of the
first uses of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against a corporation rather than a
union.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency
– “The Square Deal”
 United Mine Workers Strike: In this 1902 strike, Roosevelt brought
the federal government in to resolve the strike as an impartial
arbitrator, not as a pro-mine owner source of troops.
 Hepburn Railroad Regulation Act (1906): Gave the Interstate
Commerce Commission—created in 1887—real authority to regulate
railroad rates.
 Pure Food and Drug Act (1906): This act forbid the sale of
“adulterated” food and drugs across state lines. It eventually led to
Coca-Cola removing coca-leaf extract and relying on caffeine as its
main stimulant instead.
 Meat Inspection Act (1906): This law was in part a response to Upton
Sinclair’s exposé of the horrifying conditions in the Chicago
meatpacking industry, The Jungle, published that year.
35
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency
– Roosevelt and the Environment
John Muir
36
 National Forest System: Created in 1891, these undeveloped lands
owned and managed by the federal government were quite small until
Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot (1865-1944) began
to add millions of acres to it, mostly in the West.
 Competing Conservationist Visions: Pinchot, the first director of the
U.S. Forest Service, was a conservationist: someone who wanted to
protect the land and carefully manage development. Roosevelt was
sympathetic to Pinchot’s position, but also to that of the naturalists,
who wanted to preserve natural beauty and wildlife, leaving much of
the federal land undeveloped. Foremost among naturalists was John
Muir (1838-1914), with whom Roosevelt went on a three-day
camping trip in Yosemite in 1903. Muir was a founder of the Sierra
Club.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Gifford Pinchot, first chief of
the National Forest Service,
from 1905 to 1910.
Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite on their 1903 camping trip
37
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Establishment of National Parks and Forests
38
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency
– Panic and Retirement
J.P. Morgan
39
 Panic of 1907: Despite reforms, the federal government still had little
control over the economy. Known as the “Bankers’ Panic,” the New York
Stock Exchange lost half its value compared to its 1906 peak.
 Tennessee Coal and Iron Company: In an attempt to stabilize the
collapsing banking structure, J.P. Morgan constructed a pool of assets of
New York banks that could be used to prop up shaky financial
institutions. Morgan wanted U.S. Steel to be allowed to purchase shares
in the troubled Tennessee mining company from a teetering New York
bank, but needed a promise from Roosevelt that he would not pursue an
anti-trust case, which Roosevelt quietly did. The panic soon subsided, but
is unclear if it was because of Morgan’s efforts.
 Retirement: Roosevelt had promised not to wrong again after 1904, and
in addition, he had completely alienated Republican conservatives. He tus
retired, promoted William H. Taft as his handpicked successor.
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Troubled Succession
 William Howard Taft (1857-1930): Roosevelt had
picked Taft, a respected lawyer and judge who had
served as Governor-General of the Philippines under
McKinley, as his Secretary of War in 1904
to get Taft ready to follow him.
 Inscrutable: Progressives saw him as one of their own,
but conservatives saw a man—who was closely
adhered to the letter of the law—as someone who
might role back Roosevelt’s expansion of presidential
powers. The latter were right, but in 1908, all
Republicans saw what they wanted to see in him, and
he won easily.
40
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

The Troubled Succession
– Taft and the Progressives
 Payne-Aldrich Tariff: In 1909, he called a special session to have
Congress lower the tariff—a progressive goal—but did not follow
through, letting a weak bill pass that barely lowered the tariff.
 Ballinger-Pinchot Dispute: Many reformers were upset with Taft when he
replaced Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior—James R. Garfield, an
avid conservationist—with a conservative corporate lawyer, Richard
Ballinger, who soon thereafter tried to revoke one million acres of
government land that Roosevelt had removed from private development.
The president also angered progressives when he fired Gifford Pinchot,
the chief forester, when Pinchot showed him evidence that Ballinger had
turned over valuable public coal lands in Alaska to a private corporation
for personal profit.
 Obesity: In the White House, Taft weighed over 300 lbs. and needed a
special oversized bathtub installed in 1911.
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Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Roosevelt and his son,
Kermit, atop an African
water buffalo during their
safari trip
Troubled Succession
– The Return of Roosevelt
 Roosevelt Away: Roosevelt returned to the U.S. in 1910 after an
African safari and tour of Europe, and was greatly angered to see that
Taft had completely reversed many of his policies, and had made the
split between the conservative and progressive Republicans worse.
 “New Nationalism”: Roosevelt launched a speaking tour, and in
September 1910, declared his “New Nationalism” program in a
speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. His speech made a sharp break with
conservatives: it demanded strong federal intervention to achieve
social justice, including a graduated income tax, workers’
compensation for accident, regulation of women’s and children’s
labor, tariff revisions, and firmer regulation of corporations.
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Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Troubled Succession
– Spreading Insurgency
 Roosevelt Changes His Mind: Roosevelt at first claimed he was not interested
in running for president, but only wanted to return Taft to progressive politics.
But in October 1911, Taft’s administration announced that it would pursue an
anti-trust case against U.S. Steel for the 1907 purchase of Tennessee Coal and
Iron Co. during the panic, despite a promise from Roosevelt that this would
not happen. In addition, the leading progressive Republican candidate, Robert
La Follete, had a nervous breakdown during a speech in February 1912.
– Roosevelt versus Taft
 The Progressive Party: At the Republican convention, Roosevelt seemed to
have a good shot at the nomination, but the conservatives engineered the
nomination for Taft. Roosevelt and his supporters broker away and formed
their own party, the Progressive Party. Yet success was not guaranteed: many
Republicans were unwilling to leave the party, and the Democrats put up a
formidable opponent as well.
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Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom
– Woodrow Wilson
 1912 Campaign: Not between a conservative and a progressive, but
between two progressives with different ideas of what it is to be a
progressive.
 Wilson: He had been professor of political science at Princeton in
1902, then became president of that university, and the was elected
governor of New Jersey in 1910.
 “New Freedom”: Wilson believe that large economic conglomerations
did not need to be strongly regulated—like Roosevelt—but that it
needed to be destroyed, as did lawyer Louis Brandeis.
 1912 Election: The split between Taft and Roosevelt brought Wilson
to an easy victory, and he becomes the first Democrat to win the
office since 1892.
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Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives
Election of 1912
45
Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom
– The Scholar as President
 Democratic Majorities: Wilson had these in both houses of Congress,
leading to an easy path for his legislation.
 Lowering the Tariff and Creating Income Tax: The UnderwoodSimmons Tariff of 1913 at last accomplished this old progressive
goal. To make up for lost revenue, Wilson guided legislation to
passage creating a graduated income tax system, which the Sixteenth
Amendment at last allowed.
 Federal Reserve Act: Signed in December 1913, this law created a
system of twelve regional banks owned and controlled by local
banking institutions. Capital could be moved to quickly to trouble
spots, and “Federal Reserve Notes” could become the basic unit of
trade in the U.S.
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Chapter Twenty:
The Progressives

Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom
– The Scholar as President
 Federal Trade Commission Act: Wilson signed this legislation that
created an agency that would vet deals or acquisitions of companies
ahead of time, letting the participants if the government would pursue
an anti-trust case or not.
– Retreat and Advance
 Child-Labor Laws: Wilson got the Keating-Owen Act passed, a bill
forbidding the traffic of child-labor produced goods across state lines,
but the conservative Supreme Court struck it down.
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