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The Progressive Era 1890-1920. Section 1 The Drive for Reform. Origins of Progressivism. Progressives came from many different areas of life All political parties, social classes, ethnic groups and religions. Many were middle class Dissatisfied workers

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The progressive era 1890 1920

The Progressive Era 1890-1920

Section 1

The Drive for Reform

Origins of progressivism
Origins of Progressivism

  • Progressives came from many different areas of life

  • All political parties, social classes, ethnic groups and religions.

  • Many were middle class

  • Dissatisfied workers

  • Some wealthy(wanted to do good for society)

  • Common belief that industrialization and urbanization created social and political problems

  • Wanted reforms to correct these problems and injustices

The progressive era 1890 1920

Wanted laws enacted to help the poor

Used reason and logic to make society more orderly and efficient

Many motivated by religious faith wanted social justice

Progressives target
Progressives Target

  • Political Reforms

  • Women wanted the right to vote.

  • Honest Government-end corrupt politicians

  • Elimination of Big Business-Sherman A. Act inadequate

  • Reduce the gap between the wealthy and the poor

  • Improved working conditions

  • Improved conditions for poor people living in slums

  • Social Welfare Laws ( to help children)

  • Government Regulations to aid workers and consumers

Muckrakers reveal the need for reform
Muckrakers Reveal the Need for Reform

  • TR said that these people (journalists/writers) were too focused with the ugliest side of things

  • A muckrake is what is used to clean manure and hay out of animal’s stables

  • Their articles appeared in magazines and newspapers

  • Many were horrified by the conditions that were revealed to them

  • Lincoln Steffens- The Shame of the Cities

  • Exposed the government in Philadelphia for allowing the utilities to charge excessively high fees, and political corruption.

The progressive era 1890 1920

2. Jacob Riis- How the Other Half Lives

Turned his camera on the crowded, unsafe, rat-infested tenement buildings

3. Ida Tarbell- The History of Standard Oil

Exposed Rockefeller’s ruthless ways

Charge higher prices, and thereby reap huge profits

4. John Spargo- Child Labor

a. Exposed the dangerous and difficult lives of child workers


  • The Naturalist novel becomes popular

  • Human misery, and the struggles of common people.

  • Theodore Dreiser- Sister Carrie

  • Small town girls drawn into the brutal urban world of Chicago and New York

  • Frank Norris- The Octopus

  • Exposed the Southern Pacific Railroad

  • Upton Sinclair- The Jungle

  • Chicago stockyards and unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry

Progressives reform society
Progressives Reform Society

  • Social Gospel- idea that the Bible’s teachings about charity and justice should shape policy

  • Urged the end of child labor and urged for a shorter workweek

  • Settlement House-community center that provides social service to the urban poor

  • classes in childcare, taught English to immigrants

  • Jane Addams was a leading figure in this area

  • Opened Hull House in Chicago

Protecting children and improving education
Protecting Children and Improving Education

  • Florence Kelley- convinced Illinois to ban child labor.

  • Helped form the National Child Labor Committee which helped create the U.S. Children’s Bureau in 1912 (still working today)

  • Congress passed the Keating-Owens Act in 1916

  • This banned child labor

  • SC ruled this unconstitutional 2 years later

  • Finally ended for good in 1938.

The progressive era 1890 1920

John Dewey- helped reform American schools

1. Attend school to a certain age

2. Learn hist/geography and cooking/carpentry

Triangular Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Managers had all the exits locked

146 workers killed

Many jumped to their deaths

This led to intensified progressive efforts

Limited 10 hour work day, then overruled

Worker compensation laws

Please read pg.106-107 and take your own notes!