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PROGRESSIVE ERA 1900-1920. ELEMENTS OF REFORM. Theodore Roosevelt was an ambitious man whose eagerness to leave a mark moved easily from the world arena to his own country.

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PROGRESSIVE ERA 1900-1920

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PROGRESSIVE ERA1900-1920


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ELEMENTS OF REFORM

  • Theodore Roosevelt was an ambitious man whose eagerness to leave a mark moved easily from the world arena to his own country.

    • He was more calculating in domestic politics than in foreign affairs and more inclined to follow the dictates of experience.

    • He realized that 1901 was no time for a “big stick” domestic policy.


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WHO WERE THE PROGRESSIVES?

  • The Progressives saw themselves as engaged in a democratic crusade against the abuses of urban political bosses and corporate robber barons.

    • Their goals were greater democracy and social justice, honest government, more effective regulation of business, and a revived commitment to public service.

    • What they shared was a common assumption that the complex social ills and tensions generated by the urban-industrial revolution required new responses, responses that frequently entailed expanding the scope of local, state, and federal government authority.

    • Doing so, they hoped, would ensure “the progress” of American society.

    • The “real heart of the movement,” declared one self-described progressive reformer, was “to use the government as an agency of human welfare.”


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  • Kansas editor William Allen White hinted at a paradox the movement when he called progressivism just “populism that had shaved its whiskers, washed its shirt, put on a derby, and moved up into the middle class.”

  • As White suggested, urban business and professional leaders brought to progressivism a certain respectability and political savvy that the Populists lacked.

    • They also brought a more businesslike, efficient approach to reform.

      • Progressivism was more of an efficient mass movement in addition to an appeal of agrarian democracy.


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  • Another paradox in the movement was that it contained an element of conservatism. In some cases the regulation of business turned out actually to be regulation BY businessmen, who preferred regulated stability to the chaos and uncertainty of unrestrained competition.

    • The progressive movement refers to the common spirit of an age rather than to an organized group or party. Much like the reform spirit of the 1830’s and 1840’s, once called Jacksonian Democracy, progressivism was diverse in both origins and tendencies. Few people adhered to all of the caried progressive causes.


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WHO WERE THE PROGRESSIVES?

  • Mugwumps (reform-minded Republicans)

    • Desired a return to pre-monopoly America

  • “Old” Populists

    • William Allen White wrote: “Populism was the beginning of a movement that in another decade was to change the politics of the nation: indeed it was a symptom of a world wide drift to liberalism, which reached its peak….twenty-five years later.”

  • Men of wealth and social standing (GOP)

    • Lamented change in America’s political and social climate due to rise of industrialists: monopoly, plutocracy, & oligarchy

  • MIDDLE CLASS

    • Wanted a return to equal opportunity and moral reform

    • “3rd Great Awakening”


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    • MIDDLE CLASS

      • Political Reformers

      • Intellectuals- College professors

      • Women

      • Social Gospelites

      • Professionals

    • Muckrakers

      • Writers who thrived on exposing corruption and scandal to a weary public

      • Without muckrakers, progressivism would have never have achieved the popular support it had.

      • In feeding the public’s appetite for facts about their new urban-industrial society, the muckrakers demonstrated one of the salient features of Progressive, and one of its central failures.

        • The Progressives were stronger on diagnosis than on remedy, thereby reflecting a naïve faith in the power of democracy.


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    WHO WERE THEY?

    • SOCIAL SCIENTISTS

      • Richard Ely

      • Charles Beard

      • Woodrow Wilson

    • LESTER FRANK WARD

    • PROGRESSIVE ACTIVISTS

      • JANE ADDAMS & FLORENCE KELLEY

        POLITICAL REFORMERS (Reform first came from the state level)

      • ROBERT LaFOLLETTE (Wisconsin Experiment)

      • CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (NY)

      • HIRAM JOHNSON (CALIF.)


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    Muckrakers

    • LET THE PEOPLE KNOW, EXPOSE CORRUPTION, AND BRING GOVERNMENT CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE….THE CORRECTION OF EVILS WOULD FOLLOW AUTOMATICALLY.

    • THE CURE FOR THE ILLS OF DEMOCRACY WAS MORE DEMOCRACY.


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    • Progressive Era came at a time when the average American was more educated and the American public school system from Kindergarten to Higher Education was becoming more and more effective and available for all students.


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    Features of progressivism

    • DEMOCRACY

    • EFFICIENCY

    • REGULATION

    • SOCIAL JUSTICE

    • ACTIVE GOVERNMENT


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    THE SOLUTION TO REFORM?

    • MORE DEMOCRACY!!

      • Referendum

      • Initiative

      • Recall

      • Direct Primary

      • Australian Ballot (secret ballot)

      • City Manager-Commission System

      • 17th Amendment


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    ROOSEVELT

    • Roosevelt’s emergence as a national leader coincided roughly with the onset of progressivism, a movement so broad-gauged it almost defied definition.

    • SQUARE DEAL- The 3 C’s


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