2 Progressive Presidents Part 1

Progressive Presidents Part 1
Define: tenement laws, 1901, ‘05, ‘16
workers compensation
Square Deal
holding company
Department of Commerce & Labor
Meat Inspection Act
Newlands Reclamation Act
Identify Theodore Roosevelt
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
Fair Labor Standards Act
Hepburn Act
Pure Food and Drug Act
US Forest Service
Northern Securities
Earliest progressive reforms were made at the city level. In
some cities, voter support for reforms prompted corrupt political
machines to work with reformers. Together they registered voters,
improved city services, established public health programs, and
enforced tenement codes.
Jacob Riis, who exposed the poor living and working conditions
in NYC tenements in the 1880s, encouraged state politicians to
personally inspect them. In 1882, after accompanying Riis and
witnessing the squalor, NY State Assemblyman, Theodore
Roosevelt, promoted the NYC Cigar Law to end cigar making
tenement-factories that plagued the lower East Side. Though the
higher court shot down this law, Roosevelt and other lawmakers
fought for additional progressive legislation in their state.
In 1901, the new tenement law in NYC required one toilet for
every two apartments. It mandated air-shafts between buildings.
In 1905, the law expanded demanding that a window be put in
inside rooms for ventilation & light. Two fireproof air-shafts were
also required. Mandatory fire escapes were made law in 1916.
Reformers tried dislodge monopolies that provided city utilities
such as water, gas, and electricity in the cities. Mayors in Detroit,
and Cleveland started city ownership of utilities to make them
more affordable. By 1915, nearly 2 of 3 cities had some form of
city owned utilities.
Tragedies in the workplace led to reform. On Saturday, March
25, 1911, a match or cigarette ignited a fire on the 8 th floor of the
Triangle Shirtwaist Company in NYC. Because exit doors were
locked to prevent employee theft, 146 died in the blaze. [Leave
spaces for details from power-point notes]
The horror of the tragedy roused public outcry. The day after
the fire, the Women’s Trade Union League and the Red Cross
formed a committee to improve fire safety. They told the city to
have mandatory fire drills, appoint inspectors, & unlock exits.
State reformers worked to end unsafe working conditions.
Other states developed workers compensation or accident
insurance for workers injured on the job. By 1920 all but 5 states
had some form of payment for workers in workplace accidents.
Reformers had to convince the courts that the government had to
control conditions at the factory to protect workers. In the 1908
case of Muller v Oregon, the US Supreme Court upheld an Oregon
law that limited hours for women laundry workers to ten hours a
day. Limiting workday hours began on the federal government
level in 1901 under President Theodore Roosevelt. He stared the
eight-hour day for government workers. Eve the President stopped
work at 5 pm to spend time with family in the White House. In
1902 Pennsylvania mines passed a law for 9-hour workdays.
Oregon set a max of 10 hours a day for factories in 1917.
National Child Labor Committee formed in 1907 and convinced
30 states to abolish child labor, which was defined as employment
of children under the age of 14. Minimum age laws for women
and children was adopted by Massachusetts in 1912. Eight other
states followed. It wasn’t until 1938 that the federal government
intervened on behalf of children at work. The Fair Labor
Standards Act of 1938 set maximum-hour work week and age
regulations for children.
The 40-hour work week started.
Minimum wage was set at 40 cents an hour. Minimum ages were
set. Those under age 16 were prohibited from working and had to
attend school. Children, ages 14 & 15, could work in nonmanufacturing, non-mining, non-hazardous jobs outside of school
and during vacations. There was no minimum age for children
who worked on farms, after school, or during vacations in simple
jobs. Ages 16 to 18 could work full time in non-hazardous jobs.
“Teddy” Roosevelt took office after the assassination of President
William McKinley. Roosevelt was strong-willed, competitive,
energetic, and intellectual, and responded with gusto to the
demands for reforms. “I shall see to it,” Roosevelt said in 1904,
“that every man has a square deal, no less and no more.” During
his second term, his reform programs became known as the
Square Deal.
Roosevelt TR thought it was his job to see that the country ran
efficiently. In 1902 his job as manager was put to the test when the
United Mine Workers union called a strike of miners to protest
their low wages and demand reduction in work hours and
recognition of the union. Nearly 150,000 workers walked out of
Pennsylvania anthracite mines where they dug hard coal for fuel.
As winter approached prices for coal to heat the nation began to
rise. Mine owners continued to refuse to talk to the union. If the
strike dragged on too long the nation would face a coal shortage
that could shut down factories and leave homes cold in the winter.
TR intervened. He insisted that both sides use arbitration or
have an impartial third party decide on a solution. He brought
owners and union representatives to the White House. The union
cooperated. The mine owners did not. They infuriated TR. He
threatened to use the army to seize and operate the mines. In
1903, miners were given a 10% raise and an hour reduction from
10 to 9 hours. But the union did not get official recognition. By
intervening, TR took the 1st step toward establishing the federal
government as a broker between powerful groups in society.
Trustbuster Activities see success. Although the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 put a check on big business, it did not have
enough clout to enforce the law. TR, who did not oppose trusts,
felt that some trusts were not serving the public fairly. He wanted
supervise big business without destroying its efficiency.
In 1901, three robber barons, James J. Hill, JP Morgan and EH
Harriman, created a giant holding company called Northern
Securities which controlled the railroads in the Northwest. A
holding company is a corporation that holds the stocks and bonds
of numerous companies. By doing this, holding companies gain
control of smaller companies and thus create a monopoly. In
creating a railroad monopoly, Northern Securities charged
outrageous fares because there was no competition. Northern
Securities Company alarmed Americans and the President. TR
decided that the company was in violation of the Sherman
Antitrust Act and ordered the Attorney General to sue it.
JP Morgan was
stunned. He went to
the White House and
told Roosevelt, “If we
have done anything
wrong, send your man
to my man and they
can fix it up.” TR
responded by taking
the case to the
Supreme Court.
Northern v the US, the
Supreme Court ruled
Securities had violated
the Sherman Antitrust
Act by eliminating all
competition. Roosevelt
rejoiced, “The most powerful men in the country were held to
accountability before the law.” Now TR had a new nickname:
trustbuster or someone who sues big trusts to break them up and
make big business fair and accountable. By the time Roosevelt
completed his term in 1909, the government had filed 44 antitrust
lawsuits. Later the Beef Trust, Standard Oil Trust, and the
American Tobacco Company were forced to reorganize or
Department of Commerce & Labor was by TR created in 1903.
It had the authority to investigate corporations and issue reports on
their activities. TR did not oppose big business. He believed some
trusts benefited the economy and that breaking them up could be
harmful. He did believe that they needed supervision and control..
In 1904, it investigated US Steel, another JP Morgan company.
However, to avoid a lawsuit, the company leaders met with TR and
offered a deal. They opened their records Dept. of Commerce in
exchange for allowing them to correct any problems were found.
Both parties agreed and no lawsuit was ever filed. This agreement
gave Roosevelt the ability to regulate big business without having
to sacrifice the economy over a break up of a trust.
Hepburn Act was pushed through Congress in 1906 to strengthen
the Interstate Commerce Commission. The ICC was could not
regulate railroads because it lacked authority. This new act gave
the ICC the power to set railroad rates. It made free passes for RR
fares illegal. Eventually the ICC rates and regulations limited the
competition and prevented new companies from entering the
Legislature for Food and Drugs were inspired by Upton
Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, which made consumers ill and angry
at the meatpacking industry:
“There would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that
had been rejected, and that was moldy and white-it would be dosed
with borax and glycerin (anti-bacterial soap) and dumped into the
hoppers and made over again for human consumption…There
would be meat stored in great piles in rooms…and thousands of
rats would race about upon it.”
Roosevelt responded with the Meat Inspection Act in 1906. It
said that prepared meat, shipped over state lines would be subject
to federal inspection. The Agricultural Department set up
standards of cleanliness in the meatpacking plants.
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was designed to prevent
the mislabeling of food and drugs. This new act prohibited the
manufacture, sale, or shipment of impure or falsely labeled food
and drugs. Prior to this, contents were not checked. Vendors of
medicines often spiked them with alcohol and sold habit-forming
drugs without the consumer’s knowledge of the content.
Unfortunately both of these acts contained loopholes which
allowed manufacturers to sneak under the law. These loopholes
eventually had to be plugged by additional legislation.
Conservation was important to Roosevelt. Explorers and writers,
John Muir and John Wesley Powell, got Congress to establish
Yellowstone National Park in 1872. In 1890, Yosemite became a
national park. Presidents Harrison and Cleveland preserved some
35 million acres of forestland.
In the early 1900s, TR developed a policy for land and water use
in the West called the Newlands Reclamation Act. This act
authorized the use of federal funds from public land sales to pay
for irrigation in dry states and land development projects.
Also, Roosevelt supported saving the national forests. He
appointed, Gifford Pinchot, to head the first US Forest Service in
1905 to manage the nation’s water and timber resources. Over 150
million acres of protected forests were added to the US Forest
Service. Five new national parks and 55 federal wildlife
reservations were set aside. In addition, Roosevelt commissioned
the first refuge for birds, Pelican Island. He also established the
first 18 national monuments including the Grand Canyon.
In the end, Roosevelt changed the role of the federal government
and the nature of the presidency. Americans began to look to the
federal government to solve the nation’s economic and social
problems. The executive branch of government increased its
power. The ICC set rates, the Agricultural Department inspected
food, the Department of Commerce and Labor monitored business,
and the attorney general could sue any company that got out of
line. Life was good and the Progressive Movement made it better.
1. Describe the laws that protested city dwellers in tenements.
2. What effect did the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire have on reform?
3. How did the National Child Labor Committee help children who worked?
4. Using five examples of his reforms, how did President Roosevelt earn the
title of progressive president?
5. What new agencies were formed to help Roosevelt and the federal
government control business?
6. List all of the environmental conservation efforts under Roosevelt.