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The Progressive Era. 1900-1916. An Urban Age . Triangle Fire, 1911-Had an unrivaled impact on Public Consciousness Gap between rich and poor increased, 1900-1916 J.P. Morgan’s financial firm controlled 40 percent of all financial and industrial capital in U.S.

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The Progressive Era

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an urban age
An Urban Age
  • Triangle Fire, 1911-Had an unrivaled impact on Public Consciousness
  • Gap between rich and poor increased, 1900-1916
  • J.P. Morgan’s financial firm controlled 40 percent of all financial and industrial capital in U.S.
  • Progressive-Loosely defined political movement of individuals and groups who hoped to change American political and social life
  • Muckrakers-Journalists who exposed the “underside” of American life (harsh living conditions, child labor, e.g.)
immigrant quest for freedom
Immigrant Quest for Freedom
  • Period characterized by major immigration (35 million people, mostly from Europe)
  • In 1900, 1,000 foreign language newspapers published in United States
  • 1 in 7 Americans and 3/5 of factory laborers were foreign born in 1910
  • “My people are not in America, they are under it” –Slavic priest, p. 732
  • Discrimination against Jews, Irish, Southern/Eastern immigrants-some groups were denied access to schools and victims of policy brutality, especially if they were strikers
american lifestyle
American Lifestyle
  • Rise of mail order business and department store
  • Advertising permeated public life
  • More women entered workplace as secretaries and telegraph operators
  • Rise of Fordism
    • Unheard of $5 wage 1914
    • Assembly line
    • Affordable cars
    • Philosophy “the worker must be able to afford an American lifestyle”
varieties of progressivism
Varieties of Progressivism


  • Wanted Industrial freedom-Political liberty vs. Industrial slavery
  • Some turned to socialism. Socialists wanted a free college education, legislation to improve labor conditions and public ownership of railroads and factories.
  • Socialist Eugene V. Debs ran for president in 1912 (only gained 6 percent of the vote.)
  • Some joined the AFL American Federation of Labor(1.6 million members) and IWW Industrial Workers of the World p. 745
native americans
Native Americans
  • Native American progressives wanted freedom and citizenship
    • Carlos Montezuma, founder of the Society of American Indians, wanted the Bureau of Indian Affairs abolished
    • Advocated freedom and citizenship for his people
  • Female progressives: 20,000 women garment workers striked in 1909(including the Triangle Shirt Waist Company women who later perished in the fire)
  • “New Feminism” –women wanted birth control, free sexual expression, reproductive choice AND the right to vote
  • The IWW and Socialist party supported Margaret Sanger’s birth control movement
  • Other women advocated social change
    • Jane Addams and Hull House p. 752
    • Built kindergartens and playgrounds for children, established settlement houses for immigrants
    • Julia Lathrop headed the Children’s Bureau (1912)
  • 2 million women were members of the National American Women Suffrage Association by 1917
politics of progressivism
Politics of Progressivism
  • The influence of socialism from Europe: The term “social legislation” meaning government action to address urban problems, originated in Germany with the writings of Karl Marx.
  • State and local governments increased property taxes to fund public property: parks, schools, public utilities
  • Alarmed by the upsurge in violent class conflict and the unrestricted power of corporations, Progressives believed that political reforms could help unite the nation
  • Progressives were in both the Democratic and Republican parties at the time and did not form their own party until 1912
progressive presidents
Progressive Presidents
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    • Became president after McKinley was assassinated in 1901, re-elected in 1904
    • Good vs. Bad corporations
    • Prosecuted Northern Securities Company (railroads) under Sherman Antitrust Act
    • In 1904, Supreme Court ordered Northern Securities dissolved
    • Under Roosevelt, the Hepburn Act, Pure Food and Drug Acts were passed (see p. 765’s table)
    • First president to support conservation-creation of natural parks to preserve natural beauty in the U.S.
progressive presidents1
Progressive Presidents
  • Taft elected in 1908, defeating William Jennings Bryan
  • Attacked big business including Standard Oil and American Tobacco
  • Ratified 16th Amendment which enacted a graduated income tax (tax higher for wealthier citizens)
  • Signed Payne-Aldrich Tariff-reduced rates on imported goods
election of 1912
Election of 1912
  • See p. 761
  • Four way race democrat, republican, socialist, progressive
  • Former Pres. Roosevelt ran for the Progressive Party because Taft wasn’t environmentally conscientious and was too conservative
  • Wilson (Democrat) won
wilson s version of progressivism
Wilson’s version of Progressivism
  • Underwood Tariff-reduced duties on imports substantially
  • Graduated income tax on richest 5 percent
  • Clayton Act 1914-helped strikers
  • Keating-Owen Act of 1916 outlawing child labor
  • Adamson Act established 8 hour workday on railroads
  • Warehouse Act, extended credit to farmers
  • Established Federal Reserve System and Federal Trade Commission
  • The seventeenth amendment was ratified by the states in April of 1913. It took the election of senators from the state legislators and made it a popular vote by the people of the states.
  • Please read pgs. 761-762 (last two pages of the chapter) in detail to better understand Wilson’s reforms