Studying the Progressive Era Through the Election of 1912 The Election that shaped the course of the 20th Century
The Progressive Issues – Immigration & Urbanization • Southern & Eastern Europe • Italy, Russia, & Austria-Hungary • 1901 – 1914 13 Million • Ellis Island / Angel Island • Asian & Mexican Immigrants • 1910 – 40% of NY’s population foreign-born • Quest for Jobs “freedom & prosperity” • Urban inequality 5th Avenue vs. tenements
Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives (1890)
Dumbbell Tenement Plan Tenement House Act of 1879, NYC
The Other Side of the City – The Dakota (1st Luxury Apt. Complex in Manhattan)
The Other Side of the City – William Vanderbilt’s 5th Avenue Mansion
Urban Conditions • Cramped living spaces / overcrowding • 2 Million in Manhattan; 500k in lower east side • Tenements: • No electricity • No indoor toilets • Horse Manure: • 400,000 Horses • 24 pounds of manure per horse per day
Urban Political Corruption • Legislative lobbying • Political Machines / Tweed Ring (Tammany Hall): • Private welfare system • Patronage • Kickbacks • NYC Courthouse construction - $11 Million vs. $3 Million • “Robin Hood” vs. Corrupt Thief
Healthcare Issues • Unclean meatpacking processes • Sales of rotten meat • Opium, Cocaine, & alcohol in children’s medications. • No labeling • No inspection
Muckrakers • Journalists who expose the corruption of society, government, and business. • Upton Sinclair - The Jungle • Lincoln Steffens – The Shame of the Cities • Ida Tarbell – History of Standard Oil • Theodore Dreiser – Sister Carrie
Steffens – Shame of the Cities • But there is hope, not alone despair, in the commercialism of our politics. If our political leaders are to be always a lot of political merchants, they will supply any demand we may create. All we have to do is to establish a steady demand for good government. The bosses have us split up into parties. To him parties are nothing but means to his corrupt ends. He “bolts” his party, but we must not; the bribe-giver changes his party, from one election to another, from one county to another, from one city to another, but the honest voter must not. Why? Because if the honest voter cared no more for his party than the politician and the grafter, then the honest vote would govern, and that would be bad—for graft. It is idiotic, this devotion to a machine that is used to take our sovereignty from us. If we would leave parties to the politicians, and would vote not for the party, not even for men, but for the city, and the State, and the nation, we should rule parties, and cities, and States, and nation. If we would vote in mass on the more promising ticket, or, if the two are equally bad, would throw out the party that is in, and wait till the next election and then throw out the other party that is in—then, I say, the commercial politician would feel a demand for good government and he would supply it. That process would take a generation or more to complete, for the politicians now really do not know what good government is. But it has taken as long to develop bad government, and the politicians know what that is. If it would not “go,” they would offer something else, and, if the demand were steady, they, being so commercial, would “deliver the goods.”
Tarbell – History of Standard Oil Co. • (about John D. Rockefeller)And he calls his great organization a benefaction, and points to his church-going and charities as proof of his righteousness. This is supreme wrong-doing cloaked by religion. There is but one name for it -- hypocrisy. • Rockefeller and his associates did not build the Standard Oil Co. in the board rooms of Wall Street banks. They fought their way to control by rebate and drawback, bribe and blackmail, espionage and price cutting, by ruthless ... efficiency of organization.
Dreiser - Sister Carrie • “The pieces of leather came from the girl at the machine to her right, and were passed on to the girl at her left. Carrie saw at once that an average speed was necessary or the work would pile up on her and all those below would be delayed. She had no time to look about, and bent anxiously to her task. The girls at her left and right realized her predicament and feelings, and, in a way, tried to aid her, as much as they dared, by working slower.” • “The place smelled of the oil of the machines and the new leather—a combination which, added to the stale odors of the building, was not pleasant, even in cold weather. The floor, though regularly swept every evening, presented a littered surface. Not the slightest provision had been made for the comfort of the employees, the idea being that something was gained by giving them as little and making the work as hard and unremunerative as possible. What we know of foot-rests, swivel-back chairs, dining-rooms for the girls, clean aprons and curling irons supplied free, and a decent cloak room, were unthought of. The washrooms were disagreeable, crude, if not foul places, and the whole atmosphere was sordid.”
Social & Moral Reform • WCTU • @ 1st Prohibition • Transforms into program of economic & political reform • Louis Brandeis • Muller v. Oregon Labor protection for “weaker” women; Positive & Negative • Economic entitlement income, protection, compensation • Jane Addams Hull House (Chicago) • Immigrant poor • Urban problems • Suffrage • NAWSA (Susan B. Anthony / Carrie Chapman Catt • Vs. Child & Female labor exploitation • Florence Kelley
State & Local Reform • Governors Robert La Follette (Wisconsin) • Vs. RR & Lumber Lobbyists’ corruption • “Wisconsin Idea” – Primaries vs. political bosses, taxing corporate wealth, state reg. of RR & utilities • Mayors Hazen Pingree (Detroit) • Battles big business (lower utility rates) • 8-hour work days • Paid vacations • Governors Hiram Johnson (San Francisco) • Child labor laws • Limits women’s work hours • Public Utilities Act (RR Regulation)
Progressive Presidents • Energetic gov’t. needed • Poverty, economic insecurity, & lack of industrial freedom • Goal social conditions of freedom • “Jeffersonian” ends with “Hamiltonian” mean • Government intervention
Progressive Presidents – Roosevelt • 1901 - McKinley’s assassinated • TR 42; youngest ever @ time • Elected 1904 • “Strenuous Life” & “manly adventure” • President as “steward of public welfare” • New Nationalism Big gov’t. for big business • Square Deal • Confront consolidation • Good vs. Bad Corps (Northern Securities Case) • Prosecutions under Sherman Anti-Trust Act • President as broker in labor disputes • 1902 Coal Strike • Pure Food & Drug Act / Meat Inspection Act • Conservation National Parks
Progressive Presidents - Taft • TR’s handpicked successor • 1908; Defeats Bryan • “The scope of a modern gov’t. . . . Has been widened far beyond the principles laid down by the old ‘laissez-faire’ school of political writers.” • Aggressive anti-trust Standard Oil • “Rule of Reason” Big Business only bad if competition stifled • 16th Amendment – Graduated income tax • Drifts toward Conservative Reps w/ Payne-Aldrich Tariff Reformers want greater reduction.
Split in the Republican Party • Taft’s growing conservatism • Ballinger returns TR’s wildlife lands to public • Pinchot vs. Ballinger’s business connections • Taft fires Pinchot, alienating Progressives • TR heads new Prog. Wing • Bull Moose Party
The Progressive Party &Former President Theodore Roosevelt People should riseabove their sectarianinterests to promote the general good.
Progressive Party Platform • Women’s suffrage. • Graduated income tax. • Inheritance tax for the rich. • Lower tariffs. • Limits on campaign spending. • Currency reform. • Minimum wage laws. • Social insurance. • Abolition of child labor. • Workmen’s compensation. NewNationalism
Republican Party Platform • High import tariffs. • Put limitations on female and child labor. • Workman’s Compensation Laws. • Against: • Initiative (Petition by registered voters to force a vote on a statute) • Referendum (Vote by the entire electorate on a proposal) • Recall (Removing elected official through direct vote) • Against “bad” trusts. • Creation of a Federal Trade Commission. • Stay on the gold standard. • Conservation of natural resources because they are finite.
KeeptheWhistleBlowing Taft was determined to defeat TR and preserve the conservative heart of the Republican Party.
The GOPAftertheCircus TR The Republican Party must stand for the rights of humanity, or else it must stand for special privilege.