The progressive era 1890 1914
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The Progressive Era (1890-1914). A series of social reform efforts that aimed to correct the injustices in American life. Unequal distribution of wealth small upper class with a lot of $, huge lower class with little money Greed, contempt and corruption were characteristics of capitalists

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The progressive era 1890 1914
The Progressive Era (1890-1914)

  • A series of social reform efforts that aimed to correct the injustices in American life.

  • Unequal distribution of wealth

    • small upper class with a lot of $, huge lower class with little money

    • Greed, contempt and corruption were characteristics of capitalists

  • Growing middle class takes notice

    • Cities overcrowded, crime ridden and corrupt

    • Unfair, dangerous working conditions

    • Trusts and monopolies dominated business world.

President roosevelt
President Roosevelt

  • President Theodore Roosevelt would lead the Republican Party and help reform corruption

  • Against monopolies

  • Against corrupt businessmen

Emergence of social gospel
Emergence of Social Gospel

  • This philosophy basically said

    • People (strong or weak) had a moral obligation to help those in need.

  • Muckrakers

    • Journalists who wrote detailed accounts of corruption in America that violated widely held views (working and living conditions, political corruption, etc).

    • The term refers to a person who is only concerned with raking muck or filth.

Famous muckrakers

  • Lincoln Steffens – published in McClure’s

    • In The Shame of Cities(1904), he revealed how corrupt city politicians of his time were.

  • Ida Tarbell- focused on big business

    • Exposed John D. Rockefeller’s illegal and unfair business practices in a series of articles, and then a book, History of the Standard Oil Company (1904).

  • Frank Norris

    • Wrote The Octopus(1901) which dealt with the struggle of California wheat growers against a monopolistic railroad.

  • Upton Sinclair –

    • The Jungle(1906) exposed unhealthy conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants.

Upton sinclair
Upton Sinclair

  • Wrote for a Socialist newspaper

  • Spent seven weeks undercover working in a meat plant

  • Primary sources

  • Terrible wages

  • New immigrants

  • Horrific/unsanitary conditions

The jungle
The Jungle

  • “…there [came] from Europe old sausage that had been rejected…moldy and white - it would be dosed with borax and glycerin…and made over again for home consumption…meat…tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had trampled and spit…meat [was] stored in rooms, and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats…race about on it…a man could sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats [who were then poisoned]; they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together…there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit.”

  • President Theodore Roosevelt read the book and was disgusted!

  • Results: Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were passed.

Meat inspection act 1906
Meat Inspection Act 1906

  • Prevent adulterated or misbranded meat and meat products from being sold as food and to ensure that meat and meat products are slaughtered and processed under sanitary conditions.

  • Foreign meat inspected as well

  • USDA

Meat inspection act results
Meat Inspection Act Results:

  • Mandatory inspection of livestock before slaughter (cattle, sheep, goats, equines, and swine);

  • Mandatory postmortem inspection of every carcass;

  • Sanitary standards established for slaughterhouses and meat processing plants; and

  • Authorized U.S. Department of Agriculture ongoing monitoring and inspection of slaughter and processing operations.

Pure food and drug act 1905
Pure Food and Drug Act 1905

  • An Act for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes.

  • Truthful labels of what is in the product

  • Ingredients, meat, preservatives…

Others reformers you already know
Others reformers you already know

  • Jacob Riis –(1890) How the Other Half Lives

    • Published realistic photos of the urban slums

  • Jane Addams –(1889) Hull House

    • Settlement houses used to help immigrants adjust to American life. They offered help with education, the arts, and music.

Louis waldman witness
Louis Waldman -Witness

  • The Triangle Waist Company was on fire and several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.

Disaster improves workers rights
Disaster Improves Workers Rights

  • Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire New York City 1911

    • 146 workers died (129 women 17 men) from a fire in a garment sweatshop; most were immigrants

    • Fire exits were locked to prevent unauthorized breaks

    • Many women leaped to their death, died of fire burns or smoke inhalation

  • Results

    • New fire codes for public buildings with fire exits

    • Sparked International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union

    • More rights for workers

    • State labor departments (monitor unsafe labor)

    • Owners escaped, were tried and acquitted of charges