Progressive Era - Issaquah Connect

Progressive Era
Summer School
Why Now?
• Reformers reacting to the effects of
Industrialization, Immigration, and Urbanization
between 1865-1880s
– Industrialization
• Factories – working conditions
– Immigration
• Where do the people go?
• How are they treated?
– Urbanization
• Growth of the cities
– Safety
– Public Services
Progressive Era 1890-1920
• Goals and Beliefs
– Government should be more accountable to
– Gov’t Should lesson the influence of the wealthy
– Expand Gov’t powers so they can help citizens
– Gov’t should be more efficient and less corrupt
Writers and the Media
• Early reforms came from mass media.
– Books
– Newspapers
– Magazines
• People wrote about corruption, working conditions,
poor health, gov’t not caring, etc…
• Examples
– The Jungle, 1906 - Upton Sinclair –– Novel about the meat
packing industry. Sickened people about how meat got to
their dinner table.
– The Shame of the Cities, 1904 – Lincoln Steffens, exposed
political corruption in the cities.
– These Journalists were called Muckrakers
Progressive Organizations
• Labor Unions
– Unions used the threat of strike to get employers to improve
working conditions, wages, and hours.
– Employers Fought Unions with a variety of tactics to prevent
Unions and break strikes when they happened
• Socialists
– Philosophy favoring public or government control of
property and income. Wanted end to capitalist system. Most
progressives did not support political and economic changes.
• Women's Groups
– NCL – National Consumers league
• Investigated conditions under which goods were made and sold.
– Begin drive for right to vote.
What will the Government do?
• The government had never before taken an
active role in helping its citizens.
• The role begins to expand
– Starts at local level
– Home rule – Cities wanted more ability of self rule
from state governments. Belief was they could
more closely watch for corruption
– Cities begin to take over Utilities systems
• Water , Gas, and Electricity become public not private
• By 1915 2 out of 3 cities had publically owned Utilities
State Reforms
• Political reforms
– Direct Primaries
• Parties no longer just choose their candidates
• Voters now select party candidates
– 17th Amendment
• U.S. Senators now elected by Popular vote
– Passed 1912, Ratified 1913
– Initiative
• Voters can put bills directly before the legislature
– Referendum
• Voters can vote on bills directly
– Recall
• Voters can remove elected officials from office by a vote
State Reforms Cont…
• Workplace reforms
– States establish Labor departments
Provide information and help in disputes
Some developed accident insurance and compensation
Most had little legal power
No power to control workplace conditions
– By 1907 most states had abolished child labor
under age 14.
– Minimum wage laws begin to appear
• Massachusetts first in 1912, 8 others quickly followed
Federal Reforms
• Teddy Roosevelt led charge for Government
intervention and reform.
– 1903 Forces Mine owners to negotiate with
United Mine Workers union or face the threat of
the army seizing the mines because the country
needed the fuel for heating in the winter.
– Finally enforced and strengthened the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act.
– Did not want to break up trusts, just to regulate
Federal Reforms cont…
• Railroad Regulation
– 1906 Hepburn Act
• Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) gets
enforcement powers to regulate interstate commerce.
• ICC had power to set railroad rates. ICC becomes first
true federal regulatory agency.
• Public Health
– 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act
• Requires accurate labeling of ingredients, strict sanitary
conditions, and a rating system for meat.
Federal Reforms cont…
• Labor Department
– 1913 – Aids in dealing with Child labor and women's labor
– Supports new laws for women and children in the workplace
• Environment
– National Reclamation Act 1902
• Plan and develop large scale irrigation projects
– U.S. Forrest Service 1905
• Created to manage the nation’s water and timber resources
• Constitutional Amendments
16th Amendment – Federal Income Tax – 1913
17th Amendment – Direct election of senators – 1913
18th Amendment – prohibition of Alcohol – 1919
19th Amendment – Women’s right to Vote - 1920
Politics 1908-1920
• Taft becomes President 1908
– Pledges to carry on Roosevelt’s reforms
– Appoints NO progressives to his cabinet
• Taft angers Progressives in his party with new
Tariffs and Republican party begins to split
• Taft continues to Anger Progressives by
opening up protected lands to development
• By 1910 Roosevelt openly campaigning for
progressive candidates for Congress who will
oppose Taft.
Election of 1912
• Roosevelt Splits Republican party between
progressives and traditionalists.
– Creates Bull Moose Party (Progressive Party) and
runs again for President
• Split in Republican party Allows Democrat
Woodrow Wilson to be elected president.
– He criticized Big business and Big Government
– His position was a more pure progressive
Wilson as President
• Tariffs and Taxes
– Reduces Tariffs from 40% to 25%
– Initiates first federal income tax
• 16th Amendment
• Trusts
– Wilson attacked the trusts that Roosevelt and Taft
would not.
– Clayton Anti-Trust Act
Spells out SPECIFIC acts that business could not do.
Could prevent purchasing of goods by competitors
Price cutting to drive out market business Illegal
Legalized Unions as well as strikes and boycotts
Federal Trade commission set up to enforce Act (FTC)
Wilson Cont…
• Federal Reserve System
– Federal Reserve Act of 1913
• Divides country into 12 districts
• Each has a Federal Reserve Bank owned by its member
• Created a Central bank for the region
• Could borrow from the Federal Reserve to meet short-term
• Helps stabilize banking industry and prevent many bank
• Also could control amount of money, Federal Reserve notes,
in circulation.
• Board appointed by President
Limits of Progressivism
• No real help for Farm workers or nonunionized labor.
• Does very little to promote Social Justice
– Jim Crow laws
– Segregation
– Racism
• World War I