Chapter 21: The Progressive Era AP United States History West Blocton High School Mr. Logan Greene Chapter Objectives • What was the nature of progressivism? • What role did women play in Progressive Era movements? • How did electoral and municipal reforms improve voting and government during the Progressive Era? • How was the executive branch strengthened under Teddy Roosevelt? • How did Woodrow Wilson bring progressivism to its climax? The Progressive Era • The simple definition of the Progressive Era was an era in the United States from 1900 to about 1917 in which important movements challenged traditional relationships and attitudes • Defined by the Presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson Contextualizing Reform: Industrial & Urban Tension • Progressivism began due to the squalid conditions of America’s quickly growing cities and industrial centers • The growth of Populism had begun a spirit of change but the return of prosperity in 1900 slowed the fervor of reform • However, the big businesses of the last century were not gigantic corporations and working conditions began to get even worse The Triangle Shirt Waist Fire • The disturbing working conditions of urban Americans were brought to light by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911 • Workers locked in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory so they could not leave the premises were trapped when a fire broke out • 146 young women were killed exemplifying America’s place as the most dangerous country for industrial workers Churches and Campus • The Church began to respond to the issues of the day with the Social Gospel Movement – Created by reform minded Protestant preachers trying to introduce religious ethics to industry • Social gospel movements gave ethical backing to government intervention as they wanted to improve the social order of America Muckrakers • Muckrakers were journalists at the turn of the century who drew attention to the social injustices of America • Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was by far the most famous work of muckraking as it exposed the disgusting conditions of Chicago’s meat packing plants Scientific Management and the Gospel of Efficiency • Many progressive leaders saw science as an answer to issues of the day • Scientific management was the idea of using the scientific method to find the most efficient ways to run business • This gospel of efficiency appealed to more learned managers who realized less accidents and more stable conditions led to more profit Labor’s Demands for Rights • Workers continued to organize through the early 1900s as they hunted for more rights • The AFL (American Federation of Labor) was up to 4 million members by 1920 • Unions basically fought for the same things: increased wages, an 8 hour work day, and safer working conditions Expanding Rights for Women • Women’s clubs began pushing more and more for social reform in this era • As social problems began threatening the traditional home women became “social housekeepers” • Women’s clubs protested against poor working conditions and fought to help working women Influences from Abroad: Socialism • Socialists never attracted a huge following in America but their criticism of the industrial economy did attract followers • Socialism believed in government ownership of large corporations and a more equally distributed economic system • The leader of the American Socialists was Eugene V. Debs • Overall socialism was considered far to drastic for most progressivism reformers Opponents of Reform • Not all Americans supported reform • Protestant fundamentalists believed in personal salvation as opposed to worrying about society • Large corporate owners were angered over any intrusion into their business practices • People who saw labor unions as a threat also resisted progressive reforms Settlement Houses & Urban Reform • Settlement Houses were the heart of social reform movements • These were community centers in urban neighborhoods run primarily by middle class women • Their goal was to help the poor by education and revitalizing the community • However, they soon found that widespread poverty was the root of the issues and pushed for new housing codes and better urban planning Legislation • Settlement workers realized only large scale government intervention could help fix society • Reformers of this time managed to pass minimum age working requirements in all states but 1 by 1914 • Although some laws were passed protecting women they were ignored more as it was still believed that men should protect the women Public Education • As reformers worried with child labor protection they also became concerned with education • Widespread reforms happened between 1880 and 1920 including compulsory attendance, age-graded elementary schools, parent-teacher associations, and professional training for teachers • The South lagged far behind Challenging Gender Issues • Even though most progressives were reform minded they held traditional views of sexuality and gender roles • Female reformers began pushing for rights to contraceptives and having the right to tell their husband they did not want to become pregnant Country Life • Some progressives looked to the country instead of the city • The USDA placed agents in rural counties to help teach modern farming techniques • Farmers overall resisted these reforms • However, the changing economy increasingly tied farmers, banks, urban centers, and railroads together Social Control and Moral Crusades • Many Americans wanted social control through limited immigration • These pushes harkened back to nativist ideals of hatred towards immigrants and wanted to Americanize immigrants here • As well, attempts of Prohibition surfaced with alcohol being linked to social problems Whites Only? • Despite reforming attitudes racism permeated the progressives mindset • Despite progress race relations declined across America • However, some progress was scene such as WEB Du Bois’ Niagara Movement for racial integration, civil and political rights, and equal economic opportunities Politics: Women Suffrage • Women’s suffrage had been gaining momentum since the mid 19th century • By the early 20th century a new generation of leaders pressed harder for women to gain the vote • As progressivism spread so did support • In 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed guaranteeing women the right to vote Electoral Reform • During the Progressive Era the “Australian Ballot” took hold as the preferred form of voting • This meant an official ballot as opposed to party only tickets and secret voting • As elections became fairer party control lessened and so did voter turnout dropping to an average of 50% Municipal Reform • Muckrakers continually exposed crooked politics • Political machines, like NYC’s Tammany Hall, controlled city government by forcing alliances between business leaders and city politicians • Reformers put power in city councils and managers to break the “political machines” power State Governments • Several reforms in state government passed during the progressive era • Initiative: enabled reformers to propose legislation • Referendum: permitted voters to approve or reject legislation • 17th Amendment: Direct popular election of US Senators • Recall: Ability to remove unsatisfactory political officials Theodore Roosevelt • A crazed anarchist assassinated William McKinley in 1901 • Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency and changed the office forever TR and Modern Presidency • Roosevelt brought many “modern” ideals to the Presidency that we see today • He believed in a loose construction of the constitution and executive power • He reorganized the executive branch and made it more efficient • Clearly spelled out his goals to Congress • As well he used the media to achieve his goals TR and Labor • Roosevelt was hardly a champion of labor but he was against overly powerful corporate ownership • TR overstepped his executive power in 1902 to break up a coal strike that threatened the northeast power supply • This set up an important precedent for an active government involved with labor issues Managing Natural Resources • Roosevelt was the first President to concentrate on conservation • Many businesses were angry but Roosevelt set aside Federal land to create National forests and National Parks • Roosevelt believed in using resources but responsibly so they would be available in the future TR and Corporate Regulation • Roosevelt gained a reputation as a “trust buster,” or a politician who breaks up major corporations that lead to monopolies • Roosevelt first attacked the Northern Securities Company of JP Morgan in 1902 leading to its break up • Roosevelt believed in good trusts that helped the public and bad trusts that restrained the economy Taft • Roosevelt’s successor was William Howard Taft • Taft actually ended up breaking up more trusts than Roosevelt • As well, Taft oversaw the 16th Amendment establishing a federal income tax • However, Taft bumbled through his Presidency and changed a lot of Roosevelt’s policies Election of 1912 • The election of 1912 saw incumbent Taft represent the Republicans, Woodrow Wilson represent the Democrats, and Roosevelt represent the new “Progressive” party • Roosevelt and Taft split the Republican votes leading to an easy Wilson victory The Differing Views • Theodore Roosevelt: – Square Deal: Idea of each American getting an equal shake – New Nationalism: Strong National Government to regulate business • Woodrow Wilson: – New Freedom: Limited government intervention in the economy to restore competition by curtailing trusts and tariffs Wilson • Wilson’s first act was to reduce the tariff and he did this with the Underwood-Simmons Tariff Act drastically bringing down tariff rates • Wilson reformed the currency system with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 creating the Federal Reserve System to regulate currency • Wilson also oversaw the creation of the Federal Trade Commission to oversee business practices Wilson and the Expansion of Reform • Wilson brought reform to a logical end in a way that Roosevelt and Taft could not • Wilson and Congress reached out to labor by directly helping several labor issues • As well Wilson consolidated reformers by brining reformers into the government as judges Chapter Objectives • What was the nature of progressivism? • What role did women play in Progressive Era movements? • How did electoral and municipal reforms improve voting and government during the Progressive Era? • How was the executive branch strengthened under Teddy Roosevelt? • How did Woodrow Wilson bring progressivism to its climax?