Progressive Movement

Progressive Movement
An urban middle class movement because of the growth of the U.S. as an industrial
Progressive reformers
 Not an organized movement but idea or way of looking at US problems
 Did not challenge basic principles of capitalism
 Wanted to improve social conditions and strengthen political system by fighting
o Tackled business abuses
o Corrupt city governments
o Substandard living conditions for workers and immigrants
 Most were middle-class and well educated
o Believed they could apply scientific method, education, and moral values
to fix problems
Muckrakers- Journalist who exposed problems within the government
 Ida Tarbell wrote about Standard Oil
 Lincoln Steffens- uncovered political corruption
 Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle- wrote about unsanitary conditions in meatpacking
Theodore Roosevelt’s square deal- while Roosevelt was president he worked to keep
things fair and looked for places to make changes
o When running for president in 1904 promised a “square deal” , fair and equal
treatment for all people
o Added new departments to the cabinet
 Labor and commerce
o Embraced several progressive reforms
 Lobbed for Hepburn Act- strengthened interstate commerce
 Prosecuted railroad monopoly with Sherman Antitrust Act
 Supreme Court sided with him and monopoly was gone
 Pure Food and Drug Act- required labeling and established regulations for
food safety
o He was an outdoorsman who protected natural resources from unnecessary
Government Reforms- progressives wanted to clean up city and state governments
o Advocated use of commissions and city managers
 Professionals hired to run some small cities which replaced elected
o initiative- allowed voters to initiate laws with petition
o referendum- enabled voters to accept or reject laws passed by legislature
o recall- gave voters power to remove office officials who were ineffective or
o promoted health codes, health facilities and improved sanitation
o favored the passage of the 18th amendment- prohibition
Education- progressives though education was the key to the future and wanted to
improve the system
o John Dewey, Jane Adams and Henry Barndard led the fight to improve public
o More children worked in factories than were in school
o Many kids did not have the opportunity to go to school because they were
working in the factory
o John Spargo- wrote about bad conditions of child labor
o Illinois was the first state to try and restrict child labor
o Law was repealed
o National Child Labor Committee- worked to try and get child labor laws passed
Child Labor Legislation- progressives wanted a national agency to address the problems
of child labor
o President Taft established a children’s Bureau- investigate matters related to
o Keating-Owen Act-Forbid transportation of products made in factories with
workers under 14 and mine workers under 16
o 1918 congress declared unconstitutional
o Another law putting a 10% tax with child workers
o 1922 Supreme Court turned down the law
o Progressives tried to get an amendment for congress to regulate child labor laws
o It passed in congress but failed when states would not ratify
o 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act- outlawed child labor in industries that transported
across state lines
o Supreme Court upheld the law