701 Roots of Progressivism

The Roots of
Not a unified political movement, but
rather a broad range of reform
Rejected Social Darwinism, laissez-faire
economics, & Individualism
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
Believed change can only come through
government regulation of the
economy and providing direct help to
those in need
Progressives tended to be urban,
educated, middle-class
Leadership came from journalists,
educators, social workers, and the
Journalists who
investigate social
conditions, unfair
business practices,
and political
corruption (today,
this is called
 Term first coined by
Theodore Roosevelt in a
1906 speech
Ida Tarbell
1857 – 1944
 Magazine journalist
The History of
Standard Oil
Company (1904), an
expose of
unethical business
For many Americans, this
was their first lesson in
the dangers of trusts and
Rockefeller’s influence-power
His vertical and horizontal
Charles Edward Russell
1860 – 1941
Exposed the conditions in
Chicago’s stockyards,
badly damaging the
reputation of the beef
One of the founders of
the NAACP in 1909
Later became a socialist,
ran for office in NY
David Graham Phillips
1867 – 1911
 Journalist / Novelist
 Exposed how campaign
contributions had led to
corruption in the Senate;
the public uproar that
followed led to the passage
of the 17th Amendment,
changing how Senators are
 Shot and killed by a man
who believed Phillips’
exposé had led to the
downfall of his family’s
Lincoln Steffens
1846 – 1936
 Journalist
The Shame of the
Cities (1904), an exposé on
political corruption within the
US’ major cities
Later became a communist,
declaring after a visit to the
Soviet Union in 1919: “I've
seen the future, and it works”
Jacob Riis
1840 – 1914
Danish immigrant
Worked as a journalist and
crime scene photographer
Wrote How the Other
Half Lives (1890): Used
photographs to expose the
squalor and horrible living
conditions in the tenements
and slums of NYC
Worked with then NYC
Theodore Roosevelt to
effect reforms within the
Henry George
1839 – 1897
Wrote Progress and Poverty
Argued that a gap was
opening up between the rich
and poor due to
Wanted government to tax the
wealthy (through property
taxes) to raise the money for
social programs to help the
Also supported free trade,
limits on Chinese immigration,
use of secret ballots in voting
Died of a stroke while running
for mayor of New York – over
100,000 people attended his
Lester Frank Ward
1841 – 1913
Wrote Dynamic Sociology
Used 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
This idea is 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
His cousin wrote the Pledge
of Allegiance
Died of tuberculosis
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; part
of the Realism
Stephen Crane
1871 – 1900
Wrote Maggie, A Girl of
the Streets (1893): tale
of a girl forced by family
circumstances into
prostitution and death
 Also wrote The Red
Badge of Courage (1895),
the short-story The Open
Died of tuberculosis
which he contracted while
covering the SpanishAmerican War
Jack London
1876 – 1916
Author of The Call of
the Wild (1903)
Wrote stories of man’s
struggle against the
uncontrollable power of
Also a socialist
Was his death a
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
 Devoted socialist
The Social Gospel
1870 – 1920
Work to improve society
through the biblical
ideals of charity
and justice
Primarily churchcentered
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
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 Young Men’s
Christian Association
Began in England in 1844,
spread quickly throughout
 Aim was to help urban
workers by offering Bible
studies, prayer meetings,
citizenship classes
 Facilities included gyms,
pools, libraries, auditoriums,
and temporary low-cost
Jane Addams
1860 – 1935
Founded Hull House,
a settlement house in
First woman to win the
Nobel Peace Prize
Supported the idea that
Christians have a moral
responsibility to fix
society’s problems &
help the less fortunate
Settlement Houses
Most famous settlement
house = Chicago’s Hull
 Middle class “settlers”
moved into working
class neighborhoods to
help provide education,
meals, childcare,
medical care, and
general advice to
immigrants and poor
Public Education
increased demand for a
trained, educated
 Schools were also
necessary for
immigrants’ children:
they learned English, US
History, patriotism,
responsibilities of
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
Between 1870 and 1890,
the number of American
students in college tripled
New colleges opened
aimed specifically at
educating female and
black students