The Gilded Age and the Progressive Movement. The Big Idea From the late 1800s through the early 1900s, the Progressive movement addressed problems in American society. Main Ideas Political corruption was common during the Gilded Age.
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The Gilded Age and the Progressive Movement
Political machines strongly influenced city, county, and even federal politics in the late 1800s.
Political machines used both legal and illegal means to get their candidates elected to public office.
Stuffed ballot boxes with votes for their candidates
Paid people to vote with bribes, or bribed vote counters
Supporters of political machines were often rewarded with government jobs.
The most notorious political machine was New York City’s Tammany Hall, headed by William Marcy Tweed.
The administration of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected in 1868 and reelected in 1872, was charged with corruption.
In Grant’s second term, federal officials were jailed for taking bribes from whiskey distillers.
The scandal caused many Americans to question the honesty of national leaders.
Progressives were reformers who worked to solve problems caused by rapid industrial and urban growth.
Eliminate causes of crime, disease, and poverty
Ease overcrowding in cities
Advocate for better education
Promote better working conditions and less child labor
Fight corruption in business and government
Muckrakers were journalists who wrote about child labor, racial discrimination, slum housing, and corruption in business.
Influenced voters, causing them to pressure government officials
Education reform included the enacting of school attendance laws.
Susan Blow opened the first American public kindergarten.
John Dewey advocated new teaching methods designed to help children learn problem-solving skills, not just memorize facts.
Joseph McCormack led the American Medical Association in supporting public health laws.
Progressives worked to reduce the power of the political machines by
Ending corrupt ballot practices
Adopting the secret ballot
Adopting the direct primary, which allowed voters to choose party candidates rather than having it done by party bosses
The Seventeenth Amendment allowed Americans to vote directly for U.S. senators.
Reforming the Workplace
Florence Kelley was a leader in the fight against child labor.
Massachusetts passed the first minimum-wage law in 1912, and established a commission to set wage rates for children.
Congress passed federal child-labor laws in 1916 and 1919, banning child-labor products from interstate commerce.
The Supreme Court ruled the laws unconstitutional.
Workplace accidents were coming in 1800s and early 1900s.
Some 35,000 Americans were killed industrial accidents in 1900.
About 500,000 suffered injuries in 1900.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that killed 146 workers, mostly women and girls, led to laws to improve factory safety.
Reformers fought for workers’ compensation laws, which guaranteed a portion of lost wages to workers injured on the job.
In 1902 Maryland became the first state to pass a workers’ compensation law.
Some businesses opposed workplace regulations, believing that the economy should operate without government interference. They went to court to block new labor laws.
New York passed a law in 1897 limiting bakers to a 10-hour workday.
Bakery owner Joseph Lochner sued.
In Lochner v. New York (1905), the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.
The court ruled that the state could not restrict employers from entering into any kind of agreement with employees.
In 1908, however, the Supreme Court upheld a law restricting women’s work hours in Muller v. Oregon, ruling that it was a public health issue.
The Rights of Women and Minorities
New educational opportunities drew more women into the Progressive movement.
Denied access to such professions as law and medicine, women entered fields such as social work and education.
Women’s clubs campaigned for many causes, including temperance, women’s suffrage, child welfare, and political reform.
Women reformers took up the cause of temperance: avoidance of alcohol consumption.
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union campaigned to restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Radical temperance fighter Carry Nation stormed saloons and smashed bottles with an axe in the 1890s.
Temperance efforts led to the Eighteenth Amendment (1919), banning the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.
Booker T. Washington encouraged African Americans to improve their educational and economic well-being.
Ida B. Wells spoke out against discrimination and drew attention to the lynching of African Americans.
W. E. B. Du Bois attacked discrimination and helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. They called for economic and educational equality for African Americans.
The National Urban League, founded in 1911, helped African Americans moving from the South to find jobs and housing.
The Society of American Indians wanted Native Americans to adopt the ways of white society, but many of them resisted.
Chinese Americans formed their own groups to help support their members, including neighborhood and district associations, cultural groups, churches, and temples.
Built San Francisco’s Chinese hospital in 1925
Immigration by Mexicans increased during this period, and many worked in farming.
Progressive reforms did little to improve working conditions for farm workers.
The Progressive Presidents
Theodore Roosevelt called his reform policy the Square Deal.
Used his policy to help settle the 1902 coal miners’ strike
Threatened to take over the mines unless managers agreed to arbitration, a formal process for settling disputes, with the strikers
Influenced by Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Roosevelt urged Congress to enact meat inspection laws.
Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.
Prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transport of mislabeled or contaminated food and drugs
Roosevelt persuaded Congress to regulate railroad shipping rates.
Was the first president to successfully use the 1890 Sherman Trust Act to break up a monopoly
The public largely supported this expansion of federal regulatory powers.
Roosevelt strongly supported conservation, the protection of nature and its resources.
Considered it an important national priority
Some preservationists wanted to protect nature to save its beauty.
Other preservationists wanted to make sure the nation used its natural resources efficiently.
Roosevelt responded by
Adding 150 million acres of public land to the Forest Service to regulate use of forest resources by business
Doubling the number of national parks to preserve natural beauty
Created 18 national monuments
Started 51 bird sanctuaries
William Howard Taft moved more cautiously than Roosevelt had toward reform and regulation.
Progressives were disappointed in Taft’s approach to reform.
Taft’s signing of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff, which raised prices for consumers, was opposed by many Progressives.
Main Idea 2:William Howard Taft angered Progressives with his cautious reforms, while Woodrow Wilson enacted far-reaching banking and antitrust reforms.
Introduced the modern income tax, made possible by ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913
Addressed banking reform with the Federal Reserve Actin 1913, creating a national banking system
Pushed for laws to regulate big business
The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 strengthened laws against monopolies.
The Federal Trade Commission, created in 1914, had the power to investigate and punish unfair trade practices.