American History II: Note Set #10: Early Progressivism

American History II: Note Set #10: Early Progressivism
 Progressivism
 Not a unified political movement, but rather a broad range of reform movements
 Progressives rejected the ideas of Social Darwinism, laissez-faire economics, & Individualism
 Progressives blamed industrialization & urbanization for the filth, crime, and poverty of American cities,
yet embraced the power of science and technology to build a better society
 They believed that change can only come through direct government action
 Progressives tended to be urban, educated, middle-class Americans
 Progressive leadership came from journalists, educators, social workers, and the clergy
 Muckrakers: journalists who investigate social conditions, unfair business practices, and political corruption
(today, this is called “investigative journalism”)
 Examples of muckrakers:
 Ida Tarbell (1857 – 1944)
 Wrote The History of Standard Oil Company (1904), an exposé of Rockefeller’s unfair
business practices
 For many Americans, this was their first lesson on why monopolies are dangerous
 Charles Edward Russell (1860 – 1941)
 Exposed the horrible conditions in Chicago’s stockyards, badly damaging the reputation
of the beef industry
 David Graham Phillips (1867 – 1911)
 Exposed corruption in the U.S. Senate; the public uproar that followed led to the
passage of the 17th Amendment, changing how Senators are elected
 Shot and killed by a man who believed Phillips’ exposé had led to the downfall of his
family’s reputation
 Lincoln Steffens (1846 – 1936)
 Wrote The Shame of the Cities (1904), an exposé on political corruption within the US’
major cities
 Jacob Riis (1840 – 1914)
 Wrote How the Other Half Lives (1890): Used photographs to expose the horrible living
conditions in the tenements and slums of NYC
 Worked with then NYC police-commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to force reforms within
the NYPD
 Progressive Philosophers
 Henry George (1839 – 1897)
 Wrote Progress and Poverty (1879)
 Argued that a gap was opening up between the rich and poor due to industrialization
 Wanted government to tax the rich (through property taxes) to raise the money for social
programs to help the poor
 Lester Frank Ward (1841 – 1913)
 Wrote Dynamic Sociology (1883)
 Used Charles Darwin’s ideas to argue that humans were different from animals because of the
ability to think and plan; we succeed not because of the ability to compete, but rather because
we have the ability to cooperate (through government), an idea that came to be called Reform
 Edward Bellamy (1850 – 1898)
 Wrote Looking Backward, 2000 – 1887 (1888)
 Predicted a future where the US has become a utopia – no crime, poverty, or politics,
government owns all industry and distributes wealth equally
 Naturalist Writers: Group of novelists who argued that, contrary to “survival of the fittest,” sometimes people
fail through no fault of their own – they are caught up in circumstances that they can’t control
 Stephen Crane (1871 – 1900)
 Wrote Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893): tale of a girl forced by family circumstances into
 Also wrote The Red Badge of Courage (1895), the short-story The Open Boat
 Jack London (1876 – 1916)
 Author of The Call of the Wild (1903)
 Wrote stories of man’s struggle against the uncontrollable power of nature
 Theodore Dreiser (1871 – 1945)
 Wrote Sister Carrie (1900): a story of how sex and wealth can slowly corrupt the innocent
without them even being aware of it
 The Social Gospel
 Primarily church-centered effort to improve society through the biblical ideals of charity and justice
 Churches began to evolve from being simply places of worship to being community centers and taking
on missions designed to help the poor – provide gyms, social programs, day care
 The Salvation Army
 Began in England in 1865 as the Christian Mission, spread to US in 1880
 Charity dedicated to “The advancement of the Christian religion as promulgated in the religious
doctrines . . . the advancement of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects
beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.”
 The YMCA
 The Young Men’s Christian Association
 Began in England in 1844, spread quickly throughout US
 Aim was to help urban workers by offering Bible studies, prayer meetings, citizenship classes
 Facilities included gyms, pools, libraries, auditoriums, and temporary low-cost lodging
 Settlement Houses
 Most famous settlement house = Jane Addams' Hull House in Chicago
 Middle class “settlers” moved into working class neighborhoods to help provide education,
meals, childcare, medical care, and general advice to immigrants and poor workers
 Public Education
 Industrialization increased demand for a trained, educated workforce
 Schools were also necessary for Americanizing immigrants’ children: they learned English, US History,
patriotism, responsibilities of citizenship
 School to Work Pipeline
 Schools were used to teach the traits necessary to succeed in the industrial workforce:
punctuality, attendance, neatness, efficiency, attention to detail, obedience to authority
 High schools offered a variety of technical and vocational skills
 Public Universities
 Due to the Morrill Land Grant Act, the number of public universities rose dramatically
 Between 1870 and 1890, the number of American students in college tripled
 New colleges opened aimed specifically at educating female and black students