The drive for reform
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The Drive for Reform. Chapter 13, Section 1. Origins of Progressivism. The Progressive movement started in the 1890s to combat the decline of society and the growing social problems. These social problems included politics/government, business, social welfare, and labor conditions.

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The Drive for Reform

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The drive for reform

The Drive for Reform

Chapter 13, Section 1


Origins of progressivism

Origins of Progressivism

  • The Progressive movement started in the 1890s to combat the decline of society and the growing social problems.

  • These social problems included politics/government, business, social welfare, and labor conditions.

  • They were similar to the Populist Party of the 1800s, but unlike Populists (who were mainly farmers), Progressives mainly came from the middle class.


Muckrakers reveal the need for reform

Muckrakers Reveal the Need for Reform

  • Socially conscious journalists dramatized the need for reform in their novels to encourage others in society to back reform.

    • They were called muckrakers, because they raked the ‘muck’ of society, i.e. the social problems, much as a muckrake would clean horse stalls.

  • There were many muckrakers in all areas of the literary world.

    • Lincoln Steffens wrote for McClure magazine and in 1903, wrote The Shame of the Cities.

      • These articles focused on political corruption, specifically in Philadelphia.


Muckrakers reveal the need for reform1

Muckrakers Reveal the Need for Reform

  • Jacob Riis, a photographer for the New York Evening Sun, focused on the horrible housing conditions of the urban poor.

    • His most influential work was How the Other Half Lives.

  • In The History of Standard Oil, Ida Tarbell went after John D. Rockefeller. She exposed his ruthless tactics to push out the competition.

  • Perhaps the most famous muckraker was Upton Sinclair. In his 1906 novel, The Jungle, Sinclair wrote about the horrid conditions of a Chicago meat-packing plant.


Progressives reform society

Progressives Reform Society

  • Many Progressives believed that Christianity should be the basis of reform.

    • This belief was known as the Social Gospel. It was believed through charity and justice, reformers could remake society into “the kingdom of God”.

  • Jane Addams focused her reform efforts on urban living conditions.

    • She pioneered the settlement house movement in the U.S. These ‘houses’ were more like community centers that provided services for the urban poor– such as childcare and English lessons.

    • The most well-known settlement house was the Hull House.


Progressives reform society1

Progressives Reform Society

  • In terms of education, reformers such as Florence Kelley first had to start with ending child labor.

    • In addition to ending child labor, reformers encouraged state governments to impose mandatory education to a certain age.

    • This fueled a debate about what and how students should learn.

  • In 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory demonstrated a need for industrial reform.

    • After 146 people died when a fire ran through the factory, states were encouraged to enact workers’ compensation laws, safer workplace conditions, and a 10-hour workday limit.


Reforming government

Reforming Government

  • Many Progressives believed that by reforming government, society would reform itself.

  • These reforms started at the city level.

    • Instead of having just a mayor, many cities adopted a commission form of government– known as the Galveston Plan.

  • The election process of city officials also needed to be reformed.

    • Four new forms of election regulation came to pass during the Progressive Era– the direct primary, the initiative, the referendum and recall.


Reforming government1

Reforming Government

  • Direct primary election in which citizens choose their nominees for office.

  • Initiative allows citizens to propose new laws on a ballot by collecting signatures.

  • Referendum allows citizens to reject laws passed by the legislature.

  • Recall ability to remove a public official before their term ended.

  • New, ‘progressive’ governors swept across the nation. These included:

    • Robert La Follette (WI); Hiram Johnson (CA); Theodore Roosevelt (NY); Woodrow Wilson (NJ).


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