Unit 5“The Progressive Era”1900 - 1920 United States History
Progressive Movement • Reaction to problems created during the Gilded Age. • Goals of Progressives: • 1) Return control of the government to the people • 2) Restore economic opportunities • 3) Correct injustices in American life. • Progressives reformers often lived in cities & had a college education.
The “Muckrakers” • Journalists who sought to expose political corruption, poor working conditions, or other problems in American society. • Ida Tarbell • Muckraker who exposed John Rockefeller’s ruthless tactics to build his oil monopoly in The History of the Standard Oil Company.
Lincoln Steffens • Muckraker who wrote The Shame of theCities. Exposed corrupt city politicians and unfair businesses practices. • Upton Sinclair • Muckraker who wrote the bestseller, TheJungle. Exposed horrible & unsanitary conditions of meatpacking industry.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett • Large numbers of lynchings continued between 1890 and 1920 • “Muckraker” whose writings influenced the anti-lynching movement • Due in part to her efforts, a 25% decrease in lynchings occurred after 1892, the peak year for lynchings • She later helped found the NAACP.
Reform in Government • Reform in Government • Progressives wanted to give common people a greater voice and rid government of corruption. • Initiative • Allowed citizens to initiate, or propose, a bill by collecting the required number of signatures from voters.
Reform in Government • Referendum • Progressives wanted voters to have a direct say in the lawmaking process. In a referendum, people could vote to approve or reject a proposed law. • Recall • Allowed voters to remove elected officials from office before their terms were complete. Voters sign a petition for a recall, then a special election takes place to vote a politician out of office.
Reform in Government • Direct Election of Senators • Until 1913, state legislatures elected senators to represent the states in U.S. Congress. Progressives complained that special interests could buy votes by bribing legislators. • 17th amendment (1913) - required the direct election of U.S. Senators in all states.
Progressive Reform for States • La Follette’s “Wisconsin Idea” • Progressive Robert La Follette elected governor of Wisconsin in 1900. • Established direct primaries in state elections, an income tax, protected natural resources, regulated & taxed big business, etc. • Wisconsin became a national model of progressive reform. Other states soon followed.
Social & Moral Reform • Ban on Child Labor • Progressives used photos & statistics to show plight of working children. Nearly all states banned child labor by 1920 and set maximum working hours.
Social & Moral Reform • Temperance Movement (Ban on Alcohol) • Some Progressive women felt alcohol was root of many social problems. Pushed states to pass ban on alcohol. • 18 amendment (1919)– Illegal to manufacture, sale, transport alcohol in U.S.
Social & Moral Reform • Women’s Suffrage (right to vote) • President Woodrow Wilson did not support female suffrage. • Instead, states were pressured to grant women suffrage (pickets, parades, boycotts) • Famous suffragettes included Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton. • 19th amendment - ratified in 1920 gave all women right to vote.
Health & Environmental Reform • Meat Inspection Act (1906) • President Theodore Roosevelt read The Jungle. Ordered a federal investigation into meat industry. • Meat Inspection Act set sanitation standards for meat industry. • Pure Food & Drug Act (1906) • Roosevelt & Congress to passed Pure Food & Drug Act. Banned harmful additives in foods and false advertisements for drugs. • Laws led to creation of the Food and Drug Administration & improved food safety in America.
Health & Environmental Reform • Progressives Promote Conservation • Wanted to protect America’s natural resources from abuses by industries during the Gilded Age. • States & President Roosevelt created millions of acres of national forests & wilderness areasto preserve for future generations of Americans (Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, etc.)
Economic Reform • Income Tax Amendment • President William Taft & Progressives wanted to even out the disparities of wealth in American society & force rich to pay fair share. • 16th Amendment (1913) – federal graduated income tax (tax rate rises as income increases).
Economic Reform • “Trust-busting” • Roosevelt & Taft went after large monopolies by filing nearly 150 anti-trust lawsuits under the Sherman Antitrust Act. • Dismantled Standard Oil Company & others. • Clayton Antitrust Act (1914) • President Woodrow Wilson & Progressives strengthened Sherman Antitrust Act to allow government to regulate large companies & dismantle monopolies.
Economic Reform • Railroad Regulation • Roosevelt enforced federal regulation of railroads to stop wealthy railroad owners from charging high prices. • Interstate Commerce Act (1887) - required that railroad rates be "reasonable and just“ & that railroads publicize shipping rates. • Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) agency charged with monitoring railroads to ensure that they complied with the new regulations.
Economic Reform • Federal Trade Commission (1914) • Wilson & Progressives wanted to police actions of businesses to preserve fair competition. • FTC has power to order businesses to stop harmful practices & file lawsuits against monopolies.
Impact of Progressive Era • Progressive Era reforms helped to “level the playing field” between the rich and poor & made America more fair, honest, efficient. • Progressive energy eventually faded due to World War I and economic boom of 1920s.