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The Progressive Era of Reform. Government Policy & Reform: Reactions to Changes in America’s Social & Economic Conditions. Populism Common School Movement The “Woman Question” Labor Organization Socialism Social Gospel. Settlement Houses Temperance Movement & Purity Crusades

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the progressive era of reform

The Progressive Era of Reform

Government Policy & Reform: Reactions to Changes in America’s Social & Economic Conditions

rise of the progressive era

Common School Movement

The “Woman Question”

Labor Organization


Social Gospel

Settlement Houses

Temperance Movement & Purity Crusades

Patronage & Garfield’s Assassination


Rise of the Progressive Era
a populists
a) Populists
  • People’s Party formed by farmers (1891-1908)
  • Sought increase money circulation (silver standard); graduated income tax; national ownership of railroads; farm credit; 8-hr. workday; anti-trust regulation; racial integration; direct election of senators
  • 1896-Populist/Democrat candidate: William Jennings Bryan (“Cross of Gold” Speech); lost to Republican, W. Mckinley
b common school
b) Common School
  • Common School (Public Education) had been increasing since 1830s, & especially following the Civil War. (Tax supported)
  • Compulsory Education laws. By 1900, 32 states required children, age 8-14, to be in school.
  • Higher education also expanded, offering opportunities to women and minorities. E.g., Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. DuBois
c woman question
c) “Woman Question”
  • Increasing debate about the social role of women in the private (domestic) vs. public spheres of life.
  • Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848—abolitionists like Lucretia Mott & Elizabeth Cady Stanton issued “Declaration of Sentiments”
  • Feminist authors, such as Kate Chopin
  • Margaret Sanger, demands for access to birth control & abortion rights
  • Social organization, property rights, protection from domestic violence
d labor organization
d) Labor Organization
  • Unions had become increasingly common
  • Terence Powderly’s Knights of Labor, demanding broad reforms (8-hr. day, equal pay for equal work, ban child labor)
  • Samuel Gompers’ American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.) using strike to demand closed shops, collective bargaining rights, and “bread & butter” union goals (pay, hours, conditions)
e socialism
e) Socialism
  • Economic and political philosophy that seeks to end capitalism (private ownership and markets) and replace it with public (government) ownership and central planning of the economy to promote economic equality & distribution of wealth
  • Eugene V. Debs (labor leader) formed Socialist Party of America in 1898. Won ½ million votes in 1908 election and over 1 million in 1912 (6%)
f social gospel movement
f) Social Gospel Movement
  • Urban Churches & Synagogues attempting to put the Jewish & Christian teachings of caring for the poor into practice.
  • By opening charity collection centers, soup kitchens, etc. and supporting the prohibition and purity and populist movements
g settlement houses
g) Settlement Houses
  • Community Centers run by volunteers and charity workers who sought more practical charity than that offered by philanthropists
  • Child care, job placement, schools, job training, health clinics, legal aid, playgrounds, parks, cultural events
  • Jane Addam’s Hull House in Chicago
  • Lillian D. Wald’s Henry Street House in NYC
  • By 1910, 410 settlement houses existed
h temperance purity crusades
h) Temperance & Purity Crusades
  • Saw drunkenness & vice as cause of crime, unemployment, and poverty
  • Sought prohibition—ban on alcohol; e.g., A.A. Hopkins support of Prohibition Party, formed in 1869; & later, Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1874)
  • Sought bans on gambling, prostitution, obscene materials; e.g., Anthony Comstock’s push for the “Comstock Law” banning obscene materials in U.S. mail
i civil service reform
i) Civil Service Reform
  • Patronage & corruption under the political machines of major cities was fought against after the assassination of Pres. James Garfield.
  • Chester A. Arthur pushed for the passage of the Pendleton Act establishing a “civil service” to give jobs to the most qualified applicants based on test scores, rather than political loyalty
j muckrakers
j) Muckrakers
  • Authors and Journalists who used their publications to bring the public’s attention to topics of corruption and wrong-doing in government & big business
  • Lincoln Steffens—city govt. corruption in St. Louis, MO
  • Ida Tarbell—predatory practices of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil trust
  • Jacob Riis—poverty and slums of immigrants in NYC (lack of govt. services, overcrowding)
  • Upton Sinclair—The Jungle unsanitary product and inhumane working condition is meatpacking industry in Chicago
  • Progressives—reformers in the early 20th century who sought government regulation and legal actions to solve problems of poverty, inequality & corruption.
  • Opposed extreme change, such as that advocated by the Socialists, but adopted many ideas from the populists, labor, prohibitionists, suffragettes, & muckrakers
reforms in state governments
Reforms in State Governments
  • Progressive Governors—Charles Evans Hughes (NY); Hiram Johnson (CA); Robert LaFollete (WI); Albert Cummins (IA)
  • LaFollete’s Wisconsin Idea: Direct Primaries (taking candidate nominations out of the hands of political bosses and placing it in the hands of voters); graduated income tax; regulation of railroad rates; appointing commissions of experts to form policies.
state governments continued
State Governments (continued)
  • Oregon passed a number of election reforms to expand direct democracy:
  • Secret Ballot voting
  • Initiative & Referendum (allowing citizens to propose and/or vote on laws or state constitutional amendments)
  • Recall (petitioning to hold a vote on whether or not to remove and elected official)
  • Direct Primary Elections
municipal reforms
Municipal Reforms
  • Combating political reforms, cities wanted and end to patronage and the ability to place to power of their governments into the hands of the city’s people.
  • Civil Service reform, like that adopted by the federal government
  • Home Rule charters—grants from the state capitol to allow cities to manage their own budgets
  • Social Welfare programs (pensions, unemployment insurance, etc.)
municipal reforms continued
Municipal Reforms (continued)
  • Public ownership of utilities (gas, electric, etc.)
  • City Commission & City Council/City Manager style governments—placing the budget and operation into the hands of a commission or city manager hired by the elected city council.
woman suffrage
Woman Suffrage
  • 1848, Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY—abolitionists wrote Declaration of Sentiments outlining their view of rights of women along with their push to end slavery (Lucretia Mott & Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
  • Minor v. Happersett (1875)-Virginia Minor sued the St. Louis registrar for violating her 14th Amendment right to equal protection as a US citizen for refusing to register her to vote. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Missouri. Women are citizens, but citizenship alone doesn’t guarantee the right to vote.
woman suffrage continued
Woman Suffrage (continued)
  • Susan B. Anthony continued to lead protests by having women continue to try to vote and then bring lawsuits when they were denied in 10 different states
  • 1890-a younger generation organized the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Led by Carrie Chapman Catt, it systematized its efforts in voter precincts and pushed for state level reforms.
woman suffrage continued20
Woman Suffrage (continued)
  • By 1918, 15 states (all in west, except MI & NY) had equal suffrage for women, 14 others had partial suffrage. Leaving 19 with no suffrage for woman.
  • 1913, Alice Paul split with NAWSA & formed the Congressional Union (CU) to push for an Amendment to the US Constitution for equal suffrage nationwide
  • 1919, This (19th) amendment was passed by Congress & ratified by the states in 1920 (72 years after the Seneca Falls Convention)
progressivism at the federal level
Progressivism at the Federal Level
  • After William Mckinley was assassinated in 1900, VP Theodore Roosevelt (TR) succeeded to the presidency
  • Roosevelt was a Republican progressive who advocated his “Square Deal” program:
  • Trustbuster; Arbitration for Worker-Employer conflicts; Consumer protection; Conservation of natural resources
square deal
Square Deal
  • Enacted over 40 lawsuits against corporations using the Sherman Antitrust Act (Beef, Oil, Tobacco industries, others)
  • 1902 Coal Miners Strike—threatened to operate the mines with federal troops; this forced the mine owners to negotiate with the United Coal Workers union
  • Government Regulation of Business:
  • Elkins Act (1903)-gave ICC authority to prosecute both railroads and companies for creating shipping rebate contracts
square deal continued
Square Deal (continued)
  • 1906-Hepburn Act—ICC had authority to fix maximum railroad rates; federal commission appointed to investigate the claims made in Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle; Meat Inspection Act is passed; Pure Food & Drug Act—forced companies to list ingredients or contents of their products on labels and to use truth in advertisement
  • 148 million acres of land was placed under federal ownership and protected from sale
square deal continued24
Square Deal (continued)
  • In addition to the federal lands under the Bureau of Land Management,US Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, & Bureau of Indian Affairs,
  • TR also established over 50 wildlife sanctuaries, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments-National Park Service
  • Today, the federal government has jurisdiction (through the Dept. of Interior & Dept. of Agriculture) over 760-million acres in 11 western states & more in AK
the taft presidency
The Taft Presidency
  • William H. Taft (Rep.) elected in 1908
  • Progressive actions: also a trustbuster (broke up over 80 trusts); passage of Mann-Elkins Act (1910)—placing telephone & telegraph rates under the regulation of the ICC; in office during ratification of the 16th Amendment—instituting a national income tax
  • But, overall, Taft is more conservative, than his progressive republican predecessor
progressives complaints of taft
Progressives’ Complaints of Taft
  • Progressives oppose tariffs; Taft not only failed to reduce tariffs; he raised one.
  • Ballinger-Pinchot Affair—Sec. of Interior, Richard Ballinger, allowed a company to mine coal on several million acres of Alaskan federal lands. Gifford Pinchot, head of U.S. Forest Service, testified against Ballinger at a Congressional hearing. Taft fired Pinchot, angering conservationists.
1912 election
1912 Election
  • TR decided to seek election for a 3rd time in order to restore progressive momentum
  • Republican party nominated Taft (incumbent president) as their candidate
  • TR formed the Progressive Party (known as the “Bull Moose Party”)—and ran on a platform of “New Nationalism”: direct primaries, progressive (graduated) income taxes, social welfare programs, initiative, referendum, & recall, conservation
1912 election continued
1912 Election (continued)
  • Because progressive republicans supported TR’s progressive party & conservative republicans supported Taft, the republican vote was split.
  • This allowed the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, to win the election.
  • Wilson ran on a platform of “New Freedom”: balancing free market competition with antitrust government regulation of business
wilson s progressivism
Wilson’s Progressivism
  • Reduced tariffs
  • Established the Federal Reserve to allow government to regulate banking industry and avoid financial crises caused by corrupt or failing banks (like in 1907)—it is a private bank under federal control
  • Established Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate interstate commerce
  • Passed Clayton Antitrust Act—strengthened & further defined illegal trust practices
wilson s progressivism30
Wilson’s Progressivism
  • Federal Farm Loan Board—subsidized farm credit
  • 17th Amendment—Direct election of Senators
  • 18th Amendment—national prohibition on the manufacture, shipment, sale of alcohol
  • 19th Amendment—see above
civil rights weakness of the progressive era
Civil Rights—Weakness of the Progressive Era
  • Progressive reforms did not concentrate on the rights of racial minorities like African Americans or upon rights of new immigrants faced with nativist, closed immigration policies.
  • African Americans continued to face “black codes” in the south, creating legal segregation and public discrimination.
african americans continued
African Americans (continued)
  • Plessy v.Ferguson—1896, Sup.Crt. ”separate, but equal” ruling on legal segregation
  • “Sundown towns” & lynchings remained common (51 in 1914 alone; 382 between 1914-1920). Wilson failed to support anti-lynching legislation, which would have made it a federal crime
  • Wilson resegregated the White House and Federal government in 1912
african americans continued33
African Americans (continued)
  • Blacks were eliminated from pro-athletics (ML Baseball in 1889; KY Derby, 1911)
  • KKK membership hit >1 million in 1915
  • President Warren G. Harding (1918-1922) was inducted into the KKK on White House lawn
  • Race riots in Chicago, 1919; Tulsa, 1921
  • Literacy tests & poll taxes used to keep poor blacks from voting
advances in civil rights effort
Advances in Civil Rights Effort
  • While little was done by state and federal government to protect the civil rights of African-Americans, minorities gained more opportunities through increases in higher education: e.g., Booker T. Washington established Tuskegee Institute in AL for blacks
  • W.E.B. Dubois helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons (NAACP) in 1909.