THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN NINETEENTH–CENTURY AMERICA An Online Professional Development Seminar
GOALS OF THE SEMINAR • Deepen your understanding of how Americans in the nineteenth century defined progress. • Deepen your understanding of how the idea of progress influenced American life in the nineteenth century. • Introduce fresh primary resources that you can use in your teaching.
FRAMING QUESTIONS • What experiences and events shaped the lives of • Americans who came into adulthood in the late • nineteenth century? • In the late nineteenth century, how did • Americans define the “old,” the “new,” • “backwards,” and “progressive”? • How did economic and industrial ideas and • methods influence other areas of American life?
HENRY C. BINFORD NHC FELLOW, 1990-91 PROFESSOR OF HISTORY NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY The First Suburbs: Residential Communities on the Boston Periphery, 1815-1860 Work in Progress: The Invention of the Slum: Poverty and the Remaking of Urban Space in America, 1830-1890
TO BEGIN OUR DISCUSSION How do you teach this material? What texts do you use? What images do you analyze? What ideas do you emphasize?
THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA • Essential Understandings • 1. From the 1840s on, and especially in the last three decades of the • nineteenth century, Americans were both excited and fearful as • they dealt with repeated episodes of unprecedented technological • change: the railroad, the telegraph, large-scale factories, electric • lights and power — all of which altered economic, social, and • political relationships. • 2. In thinking about “Progress” amid surprising changes, Americans • struggled to reconcile old ideas about individual opportunity and • success with new realities of work and power.3. Understanding the vigorous late-nineteenth-century debate about • the possibilities of individual and social progress is essential to • understanding the Progressive movement that followed.
John Gast, American Progress, 1872 Framing Question: What experiences and events shaped the lives of Americans who came into adulthood in the late nineteenth century?
Framing Question: What experiences and events shaped the lives of Americans who came into adulthood in the late nineteenth century? CarnegieSteel Plant, Homestead, Pennsylvania
Framing Question: What experiences and events shaped the lives of Americans who came into adulthood in the late nineteenth century? Homestead Steel Works, Homestead, Pennsylvania
Framing Question: In the late nineteenth century, how did Americans define the “old,” the “new,” “backwards,” and “progressive”? Corliss engine Philadelphia 1876
William Graham Sumner, What the Social Classes Owe Each to Other (excerpt). 1833 "The aggregation of large fortunes is not at all a thing to be regretted. On the contrary, it is a necessary condition of many forms of social advance.... There is every indication that we are to see new developments of the power of aggregated capital to serve civilization, and that the new developments will be made right here in America.... Furthermore, it seems to me certain that all aggregated capital will fall more and more under personal control. Each great company will be known as controlled by one master mind.... This tendency is in the public interest, for it is in the direction of more satisfactory responsibility...We are to see the development of the country pushed forward at an unprecedented rate by an aggregation of capital, and a systematic application of it under the direction of competent men."
Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (excerpt), 1910 "Well, if you are a high-priced man, you will do exactly as this man tells you to-morrow, from morning until night. When he tells you to pick up a pig and walk, you pick it up and walk, and when he tells you to sit down and rest, you sit down. You do that right straight through the day. And what's more, no back talk.... "This seems to be rather tough talk. And indeed it would be if applied to an educated mechanic or even an intelligent laborer. With a man of the mentally sluggish type of Schmidt it is appropriate and not unkind, since it is effective in fixing his attention on the high wages which he wants and away from what, if it were called to his attention, he probably consider impossibly hard work...." _________________________ Framing Questions: What experiences and events shaped the lives of Americans who came into adulthood in the late nineteenth century? In the late nineteenth century, how did Americans define the “old,” the “new,” “backwards,” and “progressive”?
“After Mr. Watson had gone, I turned eagerly to my husband. ‘George,’ I said, ‘that efficiency gospel is going to mean a great deal to modern housekeeping. . . . Do you know that I am going to work out those principles here in our home! . . . I’m going to find out about how these experts conduct investigations, and all about it, and then apply it to my factory, my business, my home.’” Christine Frederick, The New Housekeeping, 1913 Framing Question: How did economic and industrial ideas and methods influence other areas of American life?
“The mind itself must be taken in hand, managed and organized, in order to be efficient…. One dare not let the mind doze and dream too much without coming to conclusions: the mind must be commanded and manipulated.” Christine Frederick, The New Housekeeping, 1939 Framing Question: How did economic and industrial ideas and methods influence other areas of American life?
Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (excerpt), 1907 "Chicago asked in 1893 for the first time the question whether the American people knew where they were driving.... For a hundred years, between 1793 and 1893, the American people had hesitated, vacillated, swayed back and forth, between two forces, one simply industrial, the other capitalistic, centralizing, and mechanical. In 1893 the issue came on the single gold standard, and the majority at last declared itself, once for all, in favor of the capitalistic system with all its necessary machinery. All one's friends, all one's best citizens, reformers, churches, colleges, educated classes, had joined the banks to force submission to capitalism.... Of all the forms of society or government, this was the one he liked least, but his likes and dislikes were as antiquated as the rebel doctrine of State rights." Framing Question: In the late nineteenth century, how did Americans define the “old,” the “new,” “backwards,” and “progressive”?
PLUNKITT’S PHILOSOPHY “Or, supposin’ it’s a new bridge they’re goin’ to build. I get tipped off and I buy as much property as I can that has to be taken for approaches. I sell at my own price and drop some more money in the bank. Wouldn’t you? It’s just like lookin’ ahead in Wall Street or in the coffee or cotton market. It’s honest graft, and I’m lookin’ for it every day in the year.” Framing Question: How did economic and industrial ideas and methods influence other areas of American life? 1905 cover
S O M E I M P O R T A N T L I F E D A T E S BUSINESS JOURNALISM POLITICS MISCELLANEOUS 1830s Horatio Alger 1834-1899 Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919 J. P. Morgan 1837-1913 John D. Rockefeller 1839-1937 1840s Carroll D. Wright 1840-1909 G. W. Plunkitt 1842-1924 Elbert H. Gary 1846-1927 Daniel Burnham 1846-1912 Thomas Edison 1847-1931 Joseph Pulitzer 1847-1911 John P. Altgeld 1847-1902 Jacob Riis 1849-1914 1850s Tom Johnson 1854-1911 Robert LaFollette 1855-1925 Eugene Debs 1855-1926 Woodrow Wilson 1856-1924 Booker T. Washington 1856-1915 Louis Sullivan 1856-1924 Ida Tarbell 1857-1944 Clarence Darrow 1857-1938 Theodore Roosevelt 1858-1919 John Dewey 1859-1952 Florence Kelley 1859-1932 1860s Wm. Jennings Bryan 1860-1925 Jane Addams 1860-1935 Henry Ford 1863-1947 Wm. R. Hearst 1863-1951 Ransom Olds 1864-1950 Lincoln Steffens 1866-1936 W. E. B. Du Bois 1868-1963 Frank Lloyd Wright 1869-1959 1870s Theodore Dreiser 1871-1945 Herbert Hoover 1874-1964 Upton Sinclair 1878-1968 Otis Van Sweringen 1879-1936 1880s Mantis Van Sweringen 1881-1935 Jesse Clyde Nichols 1880-1950 Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945
John Gast, American Progress From Hull House Maps and Papers 1894 Framing Question: How did economic and industrial ideas and methods influence other areas of American life?
THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA • "PROGRESS" • -Efficiency =avoidance of waste =doing tasks more quickly and cheaply • -Greater Control (by whom? for whom?) • -Reliance upon Professionalism and Expertise • -Large-Scale Organization and Management • -Wider Distribution of Goods and Opportunities • -Advance of (American) "Civilization"
THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN NINETEENTH–CENTURY AMERICA An Online Professional Development Seminar Final slide. Thank you.