Progressivism . A change in Government. Falling on the heels of American Imperialism, the Progressive movement was to reform the American government to a more efficient, smoother operating machine.
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Progressivism A change in Government
Falling on the heels of American Imperialism, the Progressive movement was to reform the American government to a more efficient, smoother operating machine. • A complete departure from the corrupt “Gilded Age”. Improvements in the government, society, economy, etc. • The rise of Theodore Roosevelt & his policies, contributions & lasting effects of the US. • Many compared progressivism with a dressed up form of populism.
Populism definitely had an effect on progressivism. The Mugwumps pushed for the reform & the concept of an “honest government”. • The increase in socialism in the US & it’s ideals for the working & middle class also played into the progressive movement. • Social reformers had a great deal of influence on the Progressive movement. They were bringing the plight of urban decay to the nations attention. Social critics advocated for this reform, in all aspects of society.
The media increased it’s role as the social “watchdog”. Reporting on everything that was wrong with society. Some of the key issues were child labor, working conditions, monopolies, etc. • These writers earned the name Muckrakers by T.R., because they stirred up trouble among the population. • Henry Demarest Lloyd was called the 1st muckraker, Jacob Riis, & Lincoln Steffens were some of the most prominent. Women were also in this category, since they were the most active in the issues of social change.
Democracy • The changes to our democratic process are important today: • Direct Primary – nomination of candidates by the vote of party members. • Initiative – voters petition to have an issue placed on the ballot. • Referendum – the issue is presented to the voting public for their vote. • Recall – public referendum to remove an existing law, statute or elected official.
Efficiency • This was the “gospel” of the Progressive era. • Scientific studies were done to improve time management, reduce waste & increase production. This was in every aspect of American society. Frederick W. Taylor, the “efficiency expert”, whose book, The Principles of Scientific Management, highlighted his research. Scientific management would be called “Taylorism” due to his contributions to the movement.
The government started re-organizing it’s agencies to prevent the overlapping of services, established distinct lines authority – who was in charge & who was to blame. • The formation of efficient, municipal government styles were being developed. • Commission System – authority placed on a board of elected officials of city departments. • City-Manager System – a professional administrator runs the city by the policies established by the city council & mayor.
Regulation • Monopolies & “big business” were also a major concern in the Progressive Era. • Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 – was established to keep check on monopolies, but it never really worked. It had no real authority – yet. • Many city governments began using socialist ideas, i.e. public utilities – gas, water, transportation. • It would not be until later on that true regulation would take place. The monopolies were able to work their way out of most situations, with money, threats or out maneuver the government.
Social Justice • The growth of social workers, charities, & reform campaigns were extremely abundant. This fell in line with the settlement house reformers of the late 1800’s. • The most important social reform of the period was labor legislation. Started at the state level & slowly worked it’s way up. • National Child Labor Committee – 1904 – pushed for the ban on the employment of young children. Which was a major problem of the time.
It would take 10 years before most states banned the use of “under age” children. The definition for “under age” varied from state to state – 12 to 16 yrs. old. Also, it limited the hours older children were eligible to work. This only applied to factories, mills, mines, etc. Farms were generally not effected by the new Child Labor Laws. • The issue of women in the work place went side by side the child labor movement. Florence Kelley, head of the National Consumers League, pushed for better working hours for working mothers & wives. Many states banned women from working at night or on dangerous jobs (this applied to children also).
The Supreme Court varied on it’s rulings concerning work hours. Hours ranged from 8-10-12 hours a day, depending on the job & what part of the country the worker is in. • A major push to improve working conditions in factories, mills, & mines (?). A contributing factor to this, was the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in NY. In 1911 about 146 workers, mostly women, were killed. There were not enough exits, most of the doors & windows were barred (so they would not try to sneak out when they should be working), & no way to escape from the 10 story building (most were on the top 3 floors).
Accident compensation that happened while at work was also a target for reform. • Before, there really was no compensation. Working conditions were very hazardous, exposed machinery, belts, pulleys, furnaces, etc. It was not uncommon for most of the workers to be missing body parts from the machinery they worked around. • Legislation changed so that the worker would receive compensation if injured at work. • Women were the main contributing force behind most of these changes.
Prohibition • The push for the banning of alcohol has a long history in the US. Since the early 1800’s, it had been growing steadily. Several groups were formed for the sole issue of prohibition. • The Women’s Christian Temperance Union & The Anti-Saloon League were 2 of the most prominent. They began to get politically active & amass a large following. These were single-issue groups, there were many other prohibitionist groups, but they also had other issues they worked for.
Roosevelt Progressivism • He became President in 1901, & promised to keep some of McKinley’s polices in tact. • T.R. wanted a “Square Deal” for all. He was going to enforce the existing Anti-Trust & Big Business laws, instead of developing new ones. • He tried to re-establish small businesses, to little success. • Started to give laws like the Sherman Anti-trust act more “teeth” to work with. • 1902 – he ordered the Supreme Court to break-up the RR monopoly of the Northern Securities Co. J.P. Morgan owned part of this.
T.R. increased the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-trust act, but did not introduce new legislation. But, during his term, he brought up over 25 anti-trust lawsuits, & increased federal regulation over interstate commerce. • 1903 – Elkins Act – made it illegal for the RR to give or receive “secret” rebates to favored customers, everyone had to be charged the same price. T.R.’s “square deal” policy. He gave trusts a chance to cooperate, and many did. But those that didn’t were broken up by the government.
T.R. elected President again in 1904, voters approved of his Progressive & Conservative issues. • Once again, he focused on regulation & control over businesses. • The Hepburn Act of 1906 – gave the Interstate Commerce Commission more authority, allowed it to control freight rates of the RR & set the maximum rate they could charge. • The meat packing industry, food processing, drug & patent medicine makers all fell under Federal regulation. This would set the ground work for the Pure Food & Drug Act, an earlier version of the Food & Drug Administration.
Conservation was one of T.R. lasting legacies. Protecting the environment, wilderness areas, woodlands, etc., were very important to Roosevelt. • The National Park Service was established in 1916, after several areas were set aside as public reserves. Yellowstone Park was established in 1872, many were added on to the public reserves status thus forming the NPS. • The Department of Agriculture was given the authority to govern forested areas. 1881, Congress created the Division of Forestry within the Dept. of Ag. Roosevelt appointed Gifford Pinchot as Chief Forester. He was very scientific & a very good administrator.
Forest Reserve Act of 1891 – set aside about 172 million acres of timberland & forests from settlement, logging, creating wildlife refuges, parks & recreation sites, naturalist areas, national parks & landmark areas. • States soon followed suit & established their own conservation departments & commissions.
William Howard Taft • Elected President in 1908, he was “hand-picked” by Roosevelt to be his successor & carry on his plans. • The other candidates were William Jennings Bryan (Dem) & Eugene V. Debs (Socialist) • Taft won easily & Roosevelt celebrated by going on an African Safari. • Taft served as the Sec. Of War under T.R. and had a pretty distinguished political career. (Even though he did not like politics) • Had the distinction of being the heaviest Pres. (over 300lbs.)
Once in office, he went against the Rep. Party tradition – he lowered tariffs on coal, iron ore, oil, cotton, etc., & he increased duty-free items. • Dollar Diplomacy – the use of diplomacy to secure & promote US economic/financial interests in the Orient. It began with China & followed the Open Door Policy, and would spread throughout US politics of the period. • Taft caused many of the Rep. to “jump ship” & join the Dem.
Ballinger – Pinchot Controversy of 1910 • Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot discovered corrupt dealings by the Sec. Of the Interior Richard Ballinger. He had supposedly sold land that was set aside as part of the Forest Reserve Act for commercial use. • Pinchot informed Taft of the situation, but Taft did nothing. Pinchot went public with the information & Taft fired him for insubordination. Also, Ballinger was cleared of all charges. • When T.R. returned & heard of Taft’s betrayal of his policies, he set out to get even. This situation increased the growing rift between T.R., Taft & the Republicans.
By the time of the Pres. Election of 1912, Taft (Rep), Roosevelt (Bull Moose Party or Progressive), Debs (Socialist), Wilson (Dem) • Taft took advantage of his last year in office & had a flurry of activity. He established the Appalachian Forest Reserve Act (1911), gave the ICC more power, Fed. Children’s Bureau (1912), 16th Amendment – federal income tax, & 17th Amendment – popular election of senators. • T.R. was still very formidable & spiteful, he called Taft a traitor & “hopeless Fathead”. While campaigning he was shot, but still gave his speech, refusing to let the Dr. operate until he was through.
Woodrow Wilson • The division with the Rep. Party, plus all the scandals associated with Republican rule, caused the Democrats to win the election. • Wilson would be the high point for Progressivism. His “New Nationalism” focused on social reform, social justice, taxes, worker’s compensation, & labor regulation for women & children. • He also brought the South into National politics and international affairs. Many Southerners were part of Wilson’s Cabinet & William Jennings Bryan was appointed as Sec. Of State.
Wilson Progressivism • Wilson relied more on Party loyalty & politics than he did popular support. Inter-party rivalries were settled, and everyone focused on what would be good for the nation. • Underwood-Simmons Tariff – 1913 – lowered the average import duty by 1/5 & over 300 items were exempted from tariff duties. Lost revenue was made up by the 1st use of the 16th Amendment, 1% on incomes of $3,000 ($4,000 for couples).
Federal Reserve Act–1913–also called the Glass-Owens Act, created a new banking system with regional reserve banks that were supervised by a central Board of Directors. Made money & bank credit apply to more areas, lessened the concentration of banks & reserves in NYC. • Federal Trade Commission–1914-created as a watchdog of trade & commerce. They would define unfair trade practices & issue orders to stop the practice. This was the cornerstone of Wilson’s anti-trust program.
Clayton Anti-trust Act-1914- outlawed price discrimination, “tying” agreements (dealers could not have products of competing manufacturers), interlocking directorates connecting businesses with more than $1million, & limited corporations from buying up stock of other companies to gain control of the market. • Wilson did little to address the racial problems of the day. Jim Crow Laws were rampant, the disenfranchisement of the blacks, & the growth of the KKK. He basically considered this, as well as child labor, a state issue.
Federal Farm Loan Act-1916-it worked along side the Federal Reserve Banks, & gave farmers low interest, long term loans. • Smith-Lever Act 1914 & the Smith-Hughes Act 1917 both addressed education for rural & farming areas by establishing grant-in-aid schools, land grant colleges, A&M, Vo-Tech, etc. • Federal Highways Act-1916- Federal government would match dollar for dollar to any state that had highway departments that met federal standards. Thus, increasing the highway infrastructure & laid the ground work for an interstate highway system in the 1950’s.
Keating-Owen Act –1916, called the Child Labor Act, basically excluded any consumer goods that were made by children under the age of 14 from interstate commerce. • Adamson Act – 1916 – established an 8 hour work day for RR workers. This would later spread into other areas of labor. • Under Wilsonian Progressivism, the US government became seen in a positive light. As was most of the first 20 years of the 20th century. • Patriotism, Isolationism & Anti-Immigration were the main feelings of the period.