Progressivism and the Republican Roosevelt

Chapter 28
I. Progressive Roots
Industrialization, urbanization, immigration brought benefits,
social problems
Progressive movement emerged 1890’s believed honest,
efficient government could bring social change
Hands –off individualism of 1800’s out of place in modern age
Many felt urban-industrial society could no longer afford
laissez- faire policies
Included all political parties, social classes, religions, ethnic
Wanted expansion of government to accomplish reform
Similar to Populism
wanted government reform
make government more responsive to people’s needs
Differed from Populism
mostly middle class
some motivated by religious beliefs,
use modern ideas and scientific methods to make society
I. Progressive Roots
Before 1900 many writers began
to attack trusts, new rich as
corrupt and bad for society
 Jacob Riis shocked middle class
America with the book How the
Other Half Lives (1890) about life
in the NYC slums
 Other critics of social injusticesocialists made gains at the ballot
box; promoters of the social
gospel used religious doctrines to
fight for better housing and living
conditions, improve morality
 Many feminists fought for social
justice and suffrage
II. Raking Muck with the Muckrakers
Turn of the century- exposing of evil of
corporations and industry became big business
To keep circulation up many magazines,
newspapers investigated wrongdoing
Often unmasked corruption and the corrupt
alliance between big business and government
Journalists called “muckrakers” by TR
Novelists developed new genre- naturalismportrayed misery of common people, struggles
of workers (Upton Sinclair- The Jungle)
Photographers portrayed the slums and dark
side of urban life (Jacob Riis)
Publicity aroused social conscience to make
Progressives wanted to cleanse capitalism, not
get rid of it
III. Political Progressives
Progressive reformers mainly middle class
men and women
 Felt squeezed from above and below in
new society
 Two goals: use the state to curb the power
of trusts, improve life of industrial, urban
dweller and rural poor
 Less political movement than majority
Problems targeted by Progressives
Government Reform – get rid of
political machines and corrupt city
Urban Areas- adequate services and
better living conditions
Big Business- break up trusts and
create more economic opportunities
Women- acquire the right to vote
Reduce gap between rich and poor
III. Political Progressivism
Populists wanted to regain political control from moneyed
interests and political party bosses
Established direct primary for selecting nominees
Initiative- power to put proposed law on ballot
Referendum- allowed citizens to approve or reject laws
Recall- vote to remove public servants from office
To get rid of graft government began to limit campaign
contributions and gifts to politicians
Australian Secret Ballot made bribery less feasible
Direct election of senators (17th Amendment), to weed out
corruption caused by corrupt state legislatures sending well
connected senators to Washington
Women’s suffrage began to receive renewed support, to
elevate political tone, many states out West had already
extended vote to women
IV. Political Progressivism in the Cities and States
Municipal governments wanted to establish
clear lines of authority, make government
more efficient
 Galveston Hurricane 1900 helped bring
 To rebuild city replaced mayor with
commission called Galveston Plan
 Reduced power of political machines
 Dayton, Ohio added city manager to idea
 Many cities purchased utility companies to
keep rates at a fair level
 By turn of the century government had
become specialized
 Major state in efforts for reform –Wisconsin
and Governor Bob La Follette, most militant
of Progressive governors (Wisconsin idea)
V. Progressive Women
Women important part of progressive crusade
Settlement Houses opened door to public life, exposed
women to problems plaguing cities and gave confidence
to attack problems
Defended new roles as extension of women’s spheres
Drawn to moral issues, child labor , heath, rights for
women workers, safe food practices
Established organizations – Women’s Trade Union,
National Consumers League, Women’s Bureau of
Department of Labor
Landmark court case Muller vs. Oregon
Persuaded Supreme Court to accept constitutionality of
laws protecting female workers, also triumph of labor
over employers in the workplace
1902 National Child Labor Committee formed
1916 Keating- Owens Act banned child labor
Overturned by Supreme Court 1918
Improving education by compulsory attendance- take
them out of factories
V. Progressive Women
1900 U.S. highest rate of industrial accidents
1905 setback for labor Lochner vs. New York,
invalidated state law limiting working hours
1917 Court upheld limit of 10 hour workday
1911 Lack of enforcement led to Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory fire
Flagrant violation of safety codes led to fire and death
of 146 workers, mostly immigrant Jewish women
Caused state of NY to pass stricter laws regulation
working conditions of sweatshops
By 1917 many states had passed workers
compensation laws to protect injured workers
Concept that employers had a social responsibility
replaced concept of unregulated free enterprise
Many women took up crusade against liquor
Formed Woman’s Christian Temperance Union,
succeeded in passing ‘dry laws” in many states
VI. TR’s Square Deal for Labor
TR fought against corporations, for consumer
protection and conservation of national resources
Program for change called “square deal”
Goals to keep wealth and large business from taking
advantage of poor and small business
Roosevelt used power and authority of federal
government to regulate industry
1902- Coal Strike
Miners wanted raise in pay, shorter hours
Needed steady supply of coal for factories and
Roosevelt wanted to end strike quickly, threatened
to send in federal troops
Workers received pay raise, shorter work days
First example of government helping workers in labor
1903 Department of Commerce and Labor founded
Monitored business and labor engaged in interstate
VI. TR Corrals the Corporations
 Cost of shipping freight an issue since 1870’s
 By 1900 most power of ICC was stripped away
by Supreme Court
 1903 Elkins Act- imposed fines on railroads for
giving special rates to certain companies
 1906 Hepburn Act- Strengthened ICC, gave
government right to set fees for shipping
 1904 Government suit against Northern
Securities Company
 Supreme Court ruled it was an illegal trust, forced
company to split into smaller railroad companies
 Roosevelt saw differences between “good” and
“bad” trusts
 Bad trust bullied smaller companies
 In 1905 Supreme Court began to declare many
trusts illegal (beef, sugar, fertilizers, etc.)
 Purpose was more symbolic than real; wanted to
prove government not big business ruled country
 Wanted to regulate not fragment industry, threat
of legal action would keep them inline
VII. Caring for the Consumer
Regulating Food and Drug
1906 The Jungle published caused
public demand for reform of meat
packing industry
Meat Inspection Act (1906)
federal government inspect meat
sold across state lines, inspect
meat packing, processing plants
Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)
Controls on other foods and
medicines, banned shipment of
impure food and drugs
VIII. Earth Control
American concern for the environment grew
in the late 1800’s, natural resources once
seen as inexhaustible were disappearing
 First steps toward conservation:
 Desert Land Act (1877) sold arid land
cheaply, purchaser would have to irrigate it
within three years
 Forest Reserve Act (1891) set aside
forests as national parks and reserves
 Carey Act (1894) gave federal land to
states with conditions, must be irrigated and
VIII. Earth Control
Roosevelt lover of outdoors appalled by environmental
Gifford Pinchot head of federal Division of Forestry
close ally of Roosevelt
Roosevelt takes charge of environmental policy, sees
environment as a resource that should be managed and
used wisely
1902 Newlands Reclamation Act collects money from
sale of western lands and uses it for irrigation projects,
allows dams for irrigation and eventually power to
spring up across west
Sets aside forests that are protected by federal
Concern for loss of natural heritage and disappearance
of part of national character drives movement, wanted
use of America’s “national endowment”
Roosevelt and Pinchot were conservationists not
environmentalists; advocated multiple use of national
forests and environment (timber, recreation, watershed
protection, livestock grazing)
Large farmers and ranchers took advantage of new
agencies and figured out how to work system, took
small rancher and logger out of the picture
IX. Roosevelt and the Panic of 1907
1904 Roosevelt reelected and called
for more regulation, taxation and
worker protection
1907 Wall Street Panic, industry tried
to blame Roosevelt for panic with his
Roosevelt said they deliberately caused
panic to force relaxation on trusts
Panic paved way for financial reform and
need for more elastic money supply
New industrial economy with its ups
and downs needed more money in
1908 Aldrich- Vreeland Act
authorized banks to issue emergency
currency, smoothed path for Federal
Reserve Act of 1913
X. Legacy of Roosevelt
Rode middle ground between
interests of business and total
government control
Enlarged power of presidency
through progressive reform
and aggressive foreign policy
Used power of government
to regulate unbridled business
Idea that government could
take action and change lives
Environmental legislation was
his most long lasting
XI. Taft: A Round Peg in a Square Hole
Roosevelt decides not to run in
1908, uses power over party to have
William Howard Taft nominated and
wins election
 Taft not as strong of a personality as
Roosevelt and he allows Congress to
push him around; Taft seemed
wedded to the status quo not major
 Diplomacy changes from “Big Stick”
to “Dollar Diplomacy”, not
aggressive like Roosevelt
 Taft did use the power of
government to break up more trusts
than Roosevelt
XII. Taft the Trustbuster
Brought more suits against trusts than Roosevelt
1911 Supreme Court orders breakup of Standard Oil
Uses “rule of reason”, says Standard Oil unreasonably restrained trade, any
company that did this was illegal
In same year he brings suit against US Steel
1909- Taft fought against the tariff, called special session of Congress to lower
tariff, Senate instead raises them
Taft signs bill and draws criticism from Progressives
Mann- Elkins Act (1910) government control over telephone, telegraph
rates, one of his few successes
Taft wanted to protect environment , established Bureau of Mines to control
mineral resources and protect federal land from exploitation
1910 undoes positive record on environment when he sides with Sec. of the
Interior on opening public lands to development
Taft was criticized by Gifford Pinchot and so he is fired, creates rift between
Roosevelt and Taft
Roosevelt travels around country giving speeches against Taft and pushing
New Nationalism
Republican party is split and 1910 elections go to Democrats
XIII. The Taft-Roosevelt Rupture and the Election of 1912
1911 Republicans split off from main party
and form the National Republican Progressive
By 1912 Roosevelt had seized Progressive
banner and became a third party
presidential candidate (known as the Bull
Moose Party)
Platform advocated New Nationalism
Promote government regulation of
Social Justice
Child labor laws
Minimum wage
Roosevelt and Taft split each others
constituencies and this led to the election
of Woodrow Wilson a progressive
governor of New Jersey as president
I. Woodrow Wilson: A Minority President
With Republicans split, Wilson won
election easily
Taft and Roosevelt won more votes put
together so election was really a mandate
for Progressivism, helped spur the
enactment of many Progressive reforms
Wilson was a former university professor
and progressive governor from New Jersey
First president from the south(VA) to win
presidency since before the Civil War
Great orator, believed that president
should play a dynamic role and provide
Son of a minister he was an idealist and
moralist, hard to get him to compromise
II. Wilson Tackles the Tariff
Wilson attacked the “triple wall” of privilege- tariffs, banks and
1913 calls special session of Congress to reduce tariff rates
Appealed to Congress personally (a first) and gets Underwood
Tariff Bill passed, cut tariffs and created graduated income tax
Authority to tax from 16th Amendment passed 1913
By 1917 revenue from income tax more than from tariffs
Wilson next tackled banking and currency issues that had
outgrown America’s new economic role
Most serious problem inelasticity of currency
1913 delivers plea for sweeping banking reform
Signs Federal Reserve Act, most important piece of economic
legislation between the Civil War and the New Deal
Created Federal Reserve Board, oversaw decentralized system
of 12 regional reserve districts with their own central bank,
empowered to issue paper money
Federal Reserve Board set up banks to reserve money from
commercial banks
Keeps one bank, person, region from having too much money
Sets interest rates, regulates bank practices
Amount of money in circulation could be quickly expanded in
times of crisis
III. The President Tames the Trusts and the High Tide of
1914 Congress passes the Federal Trade Commission Act
Gave teeth to Sherman Anti-Trust Act, provided enforcement to check
monopolies and companies that engaged in unfair business practices
Clayton Act protected labor unions and agricultural organizations from
antitrust legislation, legalized strikes and peaceful picketing
1916 Federal Farm Loan Act made credit available to farmers at low
interest rates
Warehouse Act authorized loans on security of staple crops
Laws provided for funding for highway construction, allowed farmers to
ship products easier
Workingmen’s Compensation Act granted assistance to disabled
federal workers
Legislation to restrict child labor was struck down by the Supreme
Adamson Act established eight hour workday for people engaged in
interstate commerce
Business leaders did not like Wilson’s policies
Appeased business interests by making conservative appointments to
Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission
Wilson increased segregation in federal bureaucracy, possibly due to
southern roots
IV. New Directions in Foreign Policy
Repudiated “Big Stick” and “Dollar” diplomacy,
favored moral diplomacy
Wanted to end colonialism, promote independent
Did use troops in Latin America to protect American
Had to take new direction with events in Europe
European balance of power interupted with
assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914
European powers were drawn into a war through a
series of alliances
Central Powers Germany, Austria-Hungary; Allies
were France, England, Russia
America was happy to have an ocean as a buffer…..
V. A Precarious Neutrality
Wilson proclaimed America as neutral in the war
Both sides wooed the US
British had an advantage because they controlled the
transatlantic cables, sent stories of German atrocity to
the US, also close economic and cultural ties with British
Germans counted on sympathies of immigrants
Most Americans were anti-German, Kaiser embodiment
of European aristocracy, many upset at German attack on
neutral Belgium
US economy in recession in 1914 and war orders from
the allies helped pull us out of it
J.P. Morgan helped British and French finance war with
loans ($2.3 billion), Germans said this violated American
Technically Germans could trade with US but British navy
prevented shipping
1915 Germans begin to use submarine to harass shipping,
but declared they would not attack neutral ships
Wilson warned Germans they would be accountable for
any losses
Sinking of Lusutania, Sussex by Germans created tension
between US and Germans
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