Progressivism 1890-1910

Because of industrialization, the
populations of cities increased
High levels of immigrants came to
the US from the Europe.
Poor living conditions for these
poor immigrants in the urban areas.
People worked under poor,
dangerous conditions for low
Women still did not have the right
to vote.
Intellectuals began to question the
role of large corporations in
American society
Political reformers struggled to make
government more responsive to the
needs of the people
 These reform efforts are known as the
progressive movement
 Aimed to return government control to
the people
 Progressive movement attracted
middle-class city dwellers, including
writers, teachers, and scholars.
 Sought to cure the many social
problems caused by industrialization
 The progressives had four goals:
protecting social welfare, promoting
moral improvement, creating economic
reform, and fostering efficiency
Four goals of progressivism
 Protecting social welfare
 Strove to relieve urban problems
 The Young Men’s Christian
Association (YMCA) opened
libraries, sponsored classes, and
built swimming pools.
 Salvation army fed poor people in
soup kitchens, cared for children in
nurseries, and sent “slum brigades”
to teach the poor the values of hard
work and temperance.
 Promoting moral reform
 Felt that morality was the key to
improving peoples the lives of the
 Prohibition – the banning of alcoholic
 Women’s Christian Temperance
Union (WCTU) fought for prohibition
 WCTU also opened kindergartens for
immigrants, visited inmates in prisons
and asylums, and worked for suffrage.
 Provided women with expanded public
 The Anti-Saloon League, founded in
1895, angered many immigrants when
its members attacked saloons.
 Saloons also served inexpensive
meals, cashed paychecks, and
provided rooms for any purpose
 Creating economic reform
 A severe economic panic in 1893
made some Americans question the
capitalist economic system
 Writers like Henry George and
Edward Bellamy criticized the theory
of laissez-faire.
 Bellamy called capitalism, “brutal
and cowardly slaughter of the
unarmed and overmatched by bullies
in armor.”
 Some Americans embraced
 Eugene V. Debs helped organize the
American Socialist Party in 1900.
 Many critics did not agree with
socialism, but they did agree that big
business often received favorable
treatment from the government.
 Journalists who wrote about the
corrupt side of business and public
life were known as muckrakers.
 Fostering efficiency
 Tried to increase the efficiency of
American society
 Scientific management – improve
efficiency in the workplace by
applying scientific principles to make
tasks simpler and easier.
 Workers became more productive
and the amount of goods produced
 The Ford Motor Company introduced
the assembly line in 1913.
 People worked like machines
 High worker turnover due to injuries
Progressivism Questions
 List and describe the four goals of
 Why did companies
prefer to hire children?
 What kinds of health problems did
children develop as a result of being
part of the workforce?
 What did the National Child Labor
Committee do?
 What did the cases of Muller v.
Oregon and Bunting v. Oregon do?