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Progressivism. Progressivism. In the late 1800’s a reform movement arose to address many of the social problems that industrialism created. This movement was known as progressivism

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  • In the late 1800’s a reform movement arose to address many of the social problems that industrialism created.

  • This movement was known as progressivism

  • Progressivism was brought forward by writers called muckrakers – journalists that worked to expose the injustices they saw. Called muckrakers because they “raked up” or exposed the filth of society

Housing reforms
Housing Reforms

  • By 1920 more than half of all Americans lived in cities

  • People endured horrible living conditions, lack of sanitation, and were in danger of robberies and other crimes

  • In 1901 the New York Legislature passed the Tenement Act of 1901

    • Forced landlords to install lighting in public hallways

    • Provide at least one toilet for every two families

    • Eventually outhouses were banned in New York City

  • With these and other changes within 15 years the death rate in New York City dropped and people in other cities pushed for laws similar to those in New York.

Civil rights
Civil Rights

  • In 1909 several African-American and white leaders founded the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). It was founded to fight for the rights of African –Americans

  • Two of the most influential African-American leaders during this time period were Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.

  • Even though they were both African-American they had very different ideas for how to best help black citizens in America.


  • Jacob Riis emigrated from Denmark in 1870 when he was 21 years old.

  • He had trouble finding a job in New York City and lived in poverty

  • Eventually Riis found a job working for a magazine called the New York Tribune

  • Riis wrote a book called How the Other Half Lives which stunned Americans with its photographs and descriptions of urban poverty

Big business
Big Business

  • Ida Tarbell – a muckraker who wrote a report that condemned the business practices of the Standard Oil Company. Tarbell revealed how John D. Rockefeller would crush his competition and take over the oil industry.

  • Progressive leader Florence Kelley founded the National Child Labor Committee to persuade the government to pass child labor laws and laws to limit the work day for women.

  • Unions and labor groups fought for a minimum wage

  • In 1908 the Supreme Court ruled that states could limit the work number of hours worked by women in one day. In 1917 the Supreme Court ruled the same for men.

Working conditions
Working Conditions

  • In 1911 a disaster occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City.

  • While watching the movie collect evidence to answer the following questions:

  • 1) What caused the disaster at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory (be specific!)

  • 2) What was the lasting impact of the disaster at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory?

  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

Scandal in the government
Scandal in the Government

  • In 1869 under the Credit Mobilier scandal hit the Grant administration – members of Congress and the Vice President helped to funnel federal railroad money to the Credit Mobilier stockholders.

  • In 1883 James A. Garfield was assassinated by a person who was angry that he had been passed over for a government job.

  • In response President Chester Arthur pushed for the Pendleton Civil Service Act – required that jobs and promotions within the government must be based on merit and not political connections.


  • In the late 1800’s many local governments were controlled by “political machines” – an organization of professional politicians that often looked out for their own interests

  • The most notorious political machine was Tammany Hall in New York City run by Boss Tweed. Tweed used his position to obtain great wealth. He was eventually convicted of tax fraud and sent to prison.

  • In order to prevent political machines from running local governments progressive reformers worked to make sure that this would not happen anymore.


  • Many cities began to create city councils - groups of people who help to run the city and are elected by the people

  • Politicians like Governor Robert LaFollette in Wisconsin pushed for changes in government such as limits on campaign spending, regulation of railroad and utilities, and changes in the civil service system


  • During the Progressive Era there were many changes made in elections

  • Direct primary – allowed voters to select their party’s candidate for public office

  • 17th Amendment – allowed for direct election of Senators

  • Secret ballot – people could vote without fear of persecution

  • Initiative – allow citizens to propose new laws and put them on a ballot

  • Referendum – citizens can ask that a law passed be put up to a vote by the people

  • Recall– allows voters to remove an elected official from office

Opportunities for women
Opportunities for Women

  • In the late 1800’s more women began to obtain higher education by attending college

  • Most women who attended college were part of the middle or upper class

  • However, after graduating many women still found themselves shut out of many high prestige careers

  • Women worked as teachers, nurses, journalists, and in industry

Political experience
Political Experience

  • Women became some of the most important leaders of the Progressive Era

  • Lillian Wald founded the Henry Street Settlement to tend to the needs of poor children in New York City

  • Women were particularly active in the prohibition movement – called for a ban on making, selling, and distributing alcohol

  • Groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and leaders like Cary Nation (who went into saloons in Kansas with a hatchet and a bible) fought to eliminate alcohol in America

  • Prohibitionists eventually won when the 18th Amendment was passed in 1919. However, it was so unpopular that the amendment was repealed in 1933 when the 21st Amendment was passed.

Civil rights1
Civil Rights

  • African-American women also fought for civil rights

  • Many African-American women joined the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The NACW campaigned against lynchings, segregation, and poverty.

Women s suffrage
Women’s Suffrage

  • Women had been campaigning for suffrage since the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention

  • READ: Declaration of Sentiments

  • Many women were especially angered that the 15th Amendment did not include women

  • In 1869 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The NWSA pushed for a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote.

  • In 1872 many NWSA women supported Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for President

Women s suffrage1
Women’s Suffrage

  • In 1869 the Wyoming territory became the first to grant women suffrage

  • Susan B. Anthony fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage

    • In 1872 she led a small group of women in a protest. The women registered to vote and actually voted on Election day.

    • Two weeks later she was arrested for unlawfully voting

    • At her trial the judge refused to allow Anthony to testify on her own behalf

  • In 1875 the Supreme Court ruled that women were citizens, but that citizenship did not grant the right to vote

Women s suffrage2
Women’s Suffrage

  • Many people were against women’s suffrage for several different reasons

  • SHEG: Anti-Suffrage movement

Women s suffrage3
Women’s Suffrage

  • There were disagreements among women about how to obtain suffrage.

    • One group wanted to work state by state, while others wanted immediate suffrage

  • In 1913 Alice Paul and Lucy Burns broke away from the NWSA and founded the National Woman’s Party (NWP).

    • This group focused on passage of a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote

    • In 1917 the NWP picketed the White House and chained themselves to the railings

    • Iron Jawed Angels

    • Many of the women were arrested. Some went on hunger strikes and there was much violence

    • Iron Jawed Angels

Women get the vote
Women get the Vote

  • In 1917 the United States entered World War I. During the war women worked for the war effort which led to a weakening in the opposition to suffrage

  • Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the NWSA campaigned for women’s suffrage on the state and national level

  • In 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed finally giving women the right to vote.

  • Unfortunately Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many of the other suffrage fighters were not alive to see passage of the 19th amendment.

President teddy roosevelt
President Teddy Roosevelt

  • Teddy Roosevelt became President in 1901 when President William McKinley was shot by an anarchist.

  • Roosevelt became the youngest person to serve as President

  • As President, Roosevelt saw his office as a bully pulpit - a platform to publicize important issues and seek support for his policies

The square deal
The Square Deal

  • Early in his presidency, Roosevelt worked with mine owners and striking workers to compromise. This marked the first time that the government successfully intervened in a strike

  • Roosevelt then promised the country a “square deal”, meaning that the needs of workers, business, and consumers should be balanced.

  • The Square Deal had two main areas of focus: big business and environmental conservation

Big business1
Big Business

  • Teddy Roosevelt was known as a trust buster – Roosevelt was the first President to sue a company for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  • The Roosevelt administration sued dozens of companies for forming trusts and monopolies that it believed was not in the best interests of the people.

  • Roosevelt especially went after trusts that sold inferior products, competed unfairly, or corrupted public officials


  • In 1903 Congress passed the Elkins Act – prohibited railroads from giving discounts to its favorite customers and overcharging others

  • In 1906 the Hepburn Act gave the government power to set maximum railway rates

Protecting consumers
Protecting Consumers

  • During the Progressive Era consumers were angered over food quality and safety

  • Anger turned into outrage and disgust when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle which exposed the unsanitary and disgusting conditions at meatpacking plants.

  • NPR: The Jungle

  • After reading The Jungle and sending his own investigators that confirmed Sinclair’s findings, Roosevelt pushed for the passage of two laws

  • 1) Meat Inspection Act – required federal inspection of meat shipped across state lines

  • 2) Pure Food and Drug Act – forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of food and medicine containing harmful ingredients.

Environmental conservation
Environmental Conservation

  • President Roosevelt realized the need to protect part of America’s land for future generations

  • Roosevelt set aside millions of acres of land, established the U.S. Forest Service, and helped to create 18 national monuments

President taft
President Taft

  • In 1908 Roosevelt made sure that his friend and advisor William Howard Taft became President

  • During Taft’s presidency the 16th Amendment was passed – created the income tax that Progressives felt was a more fair method of taxation

  • Due to a disagreement between Taft and Roosevelt the Republican Party split, allowing the 1912 Presidential election to be won by the Democrat Woodrow Wilson

  • The Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs received 900,000 votes

President wilson
President Wilson

  • During his campaign Wilson promised continued Progressive reform, which he called his New Freedom

  • Wilson and Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 which allowed for banks to borrow money to prevent a collapse during bad financial times.

  • Congress also passed the Clayton Antitrust Act which extended the Sherman Antitrust Act

  • Wilson also supported the creation of the Federal Trade Commission – enforced antitrust laws and punished companies that used deceptive advertising.

President wilson1
President Wilson

  • While Wilson could be considered progressive in his business and political ideas, he was far from it when it came to civil rights

  • Wilson opposed an anti-lynching law

  • Allowed Cabinet members to segregate their offices

  • During his presidency Washington D.C. passed a law that made it a felony for blacks and whites to marry

  • He segregated the navy

  • He segregated the entire federal government system, which had been open to blacks since Reconstruction