The United States entered the Progressive Era
from 1880 to 1920 when a variety of reformers tried
to clean up problems created during the Gilded Age
Industrialization led to
a rise in urbanization,
immigration, poverty,
and dangerous
working conditions
City, state, and federal
governments were
seen as corrupt
Corporate monopolies
limited competition
and workers’ wages
1880-1900: Social Gospel movement  to honor
God you need to help people
Focus on trying to improve living and working
YMCA, Salvation Army
Settlement houses –
Jane Addams – Hull
House in Chicago
Florence Kelley - child
labor laws
Prohibition (temperance) movement
Women’s Christian Temperance
Union (WCTU) – Carrie Nation
18th Amendment (1919) – outlawed
alcohol throughout the USA
Changes for Women
Women are active in other
successful reforms during the
late 1800s and are inspired to
demand greater rights for
New laws will give women
more legal rights
Margaret Sanger –
birth control
The most significant reform for women was the
demand for suffrage (voting rights)
Susan B. Anthony and
Elizabeth Stanton formed
the National American
Women Suffrage
Association (NAWSA)
By the early 1900s, most western states allowed
women to vote but women in the East could not vote
In 1920, the 19th Amendment gives women the vote
The Progressive Era led to demands for equal rights by
African Americans
Sharecroppers = poverty
Literacy tests and poll
taxes limited black voting
Jim Crow segregation
Lynching and violence
were common
Plessy v Ferguson
(1896) declared that
segregation did not
violate the
14th amendment
Black civil rights leaders were divided
on how to address racial problems
Booker T. Washington
Accommodation: Blacks
should work hard, educate
themselves, and earn the
rights they wanted
Tuskegee Institute  school
to train black workers and
Black civil rights leaders were divided
on how to address racial problems
WEB DuBois
Called for immediate civil
rights and the promotion
of the “Talented Tenth”
of young black leaders
Niagara Movement
National Association
for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP)
While women gained voting rights and labor laws…
…African Americans were But, black leaders in the
unable to end Jim Crow
Progressive Era inspired
segregation, stop lynching,
later generations to
or gain economic equality
demand changes
Investigative journalists known as muckrakers exposed
corruption, poverty, health hazards, and monopolies
Jacob Riis’ How the Other
Half Lives (1890): urban
poverty and life in the slums
Ida Tarbell’s The History of
Standard Oil (1904):
corruption of monopolies
(especially Standard Oil)
Upton Sinclair’s
The Jungle
conditions of
Politics were in need of reform
Voting Reform
Pendleton Act (1883):
merit-based exams for
government jobs
vote to increase taxes for
new programs
City governments shift to
city commissions
Initiatives: citizens can
and city managers
make law
Most state create
Recalls: citizens vote to
commissions to oversee
remove officials
gov’t spending
Direct primary elections
17 Amendment (1913):
direct election of
Secret ballot
The most significant state reform was governor
Robert La Follette’s “Wisconsin Idea”
First state to create
an income tax, form
industrial commissions,
and adopt regulations
on big businesses
Wisconsin politicians
teamed with academic
“experts” from the
University of Wisconsin
to create state laws
Wisconsin was a model
for other progressive
state reforms
1901-1909: Theodore Roosevelt
Believed the gov’t ought to take responsibility for
the welfare of the people
“Square Deal”
Trust-buster; Regulate
good monopolies
Meat Inspection
Act (1906)
Pure Food and Drug
Act (1906)
TR hand-picked his successor in 1908
William Howard Taft
Like TR, Taft pushed for progressive reforms
Broke up 2X more trusts
Establish the Children’s
Bureau and the
Department of Labor
Went against Progressives
by supporting a high tariff
Not much on conservation
The election of 1912 was a three way race
William Howard
Taft can on the
Republican ticket
Democrats ran
New Jersey governor
Woodrow Wilson
TR ran as a
Bull Moose
President Woodrow Wilson
16th – 19th Amendments
Federal Trade
Commission: monitors
unfair business practices
Federal Reserve System:
regulates economy by
controlling money
supply and interest
Most of Wilson’s 2nd term
was focused on World
War One
The Progressive Era (1890-1920) brought major
changes to the United States
For the first time, the
government began
regulating big business
Working and living
conditions improved
Women’s suffrage and
new state ballot reforms
increased democracy
for the people
America’s involvement in
World War I brought an
end to the Progressive Era