Progressivism: The Reform Era (1890 – 1920) U.S. History – C. Corning
Origins of Progressivism • Effects of Industrialization • At the turn of the century, many Americans hoped to change American society for the better. • Many progressive reformers picked up the causes of the Populist movement and moved the agenda forward. • These reformers worked for different causes on the local, state and federal level. • Many of these reforms are still present in our society today. • Influence of the Mudrakers – journalists who alerted public to wrongdoings in politics and business • Upton Sinclair – The Jungle (1906) – abuses and problems in the meat packing industry. • Ida M. Tarbell - History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) - corporate ruthlessness of America’s most powerful monopoly. • Edward Bellamy – Looking Backward(1887) – novel about correcting the ills of an industrial society.
What was the Progressive Movement? • Around the turn of the century, the Progressive Movement was a response to the challenges of industrialization, urbanization and immigration. • • Progressives turned away from the dominant laissez-faire doctrine. They believed in private initiative, but also that government should positively shape the economy and society and reform politics according to scientific principles. • • Progressives tended to see structural rather than individual causes behind problems. Hard work and thrift were obviously not enough to escape poverty.
The Philosophy of Progressivism • Government should: • Be more accountable to its citizens • Curb the power and influence of wealthy interests. • Be given expanded powers so it could become more active in improving the lives of its citizens. • More efficient and less corrupt so that they could competently handle an expanded role. • What do you think?
Goals of the Progressive Movement • Protecting social welfare • Promoting moral improvement • Creating economic reform • Fostering efficiency
Opposition to the Progressives • Conservative politicians and business leaders argued that government regulation would undermine free enterprise and prosperity. • Federal courts tended to limit government power to regulate. But never a complete blockade of reform. • Socialists wanted a complete change of the system, not merely reform. Even so, Socialism and Progressivism overlapped on some issues.
Tools of Progressivism • Most Progressives DID NOT support sweeping economic or political change • Socialist Party did begun to gain support during this era but Progressivism and Socialism are NOT the same. The socialist wanted more structural change; felt that the Prog. were not going far enough with the reforms. • Progressives did not want to give up their standard of living and personal liberties. • Unions were one way that reformers tried to change working society. • Industrialists often used injunctions to stop strikes. • Legislation – Progressives used the power of state and federal legislatures to create and enforce reforms.
Labor Reform • Problems: Exploitation of the weak (children, women, recent immigrants) and unsafe working conditions • National Labor Union – est. in 1866 by ironworkers, later Knights of Labor – membership open to all • Use of strikes or work slow downs • Results of reform efforts: • Ban child labor • 10 hour work day for women and men • Workers’ Compensation – if hurt or killed on the job
Suffrage Movement • 19th Amendment – long time in coming • 1848 – Seneca Falls and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who wrote “Declaration of Rights and Sentiments” • Stanton and Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association – focus on voting rights and other women’s issues • The passage of the 14th and 15th Amendment further fueled the efforts of the suffragettes. Believed that these amendments gave ALL U.S. citizens the right to vote. • Some western territories allowed women to vote in local elections – WHY? • Wyoming – women could vote, hold office and sit on juries • Utah too – and both keep suffrage when they became states
Suffrage Movement • Who were the suffragettes? White women (and men), well-educated, native-born and Protestants. Often also championed other social reforms • Other groups: Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) which was also opposed to alcohol; African-American believed that with the vote they could improve their lives • Some white suffragettes only wanted white women to vote! • Felt that white men might be more willingly to grant vote to women if blacks were not included. • Other suffragettes try to block female immigrants (nativism).
National Amendment • From 1910 – 1920, 23 states granted women suffrage – now the movement began focusing on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee women the right to vote throughout the nation • Carrie Chapman Catt – head of NAWSA • Harriet Stanton Blatch – WPU – called for women to be more “vocal” in demanding their rights. Parades, protests and rallies. • Alice Paul – encouraged women to vote “against” those opposing the national amendment (ie Woodrow Wilson) – escalation of movement • Later arrested by Wilson after a protest in front of White House • Civil disobedience • Called militants • By Sept 1918, Wilson supported amendment – WHY?
The Suffrage Argument • Why extend the right to vote to women? • Opposing arguments? (Still argued by some today!)
19th Amendment – the Process • Reminder: under the U.S. Constitution, 2/3 of the members of each house of Congress must approve a constitutional amendment AND then the amendment must be approved by ¾ of the states before it goes into effect. • Why so difficult? • Spring 1919, amendment passes both houses and then went to states for approval. ¾ of the 48 states at the time had to ratify – by 1920 it was done.
Prohibition • Argument for Prohibition (the Drys) • Argument against Prohibition (the Wets)
Prohibition – Road from Temperance to Amendment • 1851, Maine was first state to prohibit residents to manufacture and sell alcohol. • 1869, Prohibition Party formed – called for a constitution amendment • Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1874) and the Anti-Saloon League (1893) • Greatest pockets of support: rural areas, Protestant, serious church goers, identified alcohol with big cities and immigrants. • ASL worked to get local communities to go “dry” and build support on the state level.
Prohibition – 18th Amendment • 1914 – first proposal of Prohibition amendment introduced to Congress but failed to have enough votes. • After beginning of WWI, support for amendment increased – WHY? • December 1917, both houses of Congress passed the amendment and within a year 36 of the 48 states had approved the 18th Amendment – now illegal to make, sell or import alcohol. • Amendment went into effect Jan 1920 • Enforcement of amendment – Volstead Act • Problems with the law? Why exceptions? • By 1933 Congress passed the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment (special situation!)
Prohibition – Unintended Consequences • Volstead Act was very weak and difficult to enforce • Home-made brew and bootleggers • Canada Dry • Rum Runners • Real McCoy • Increase of power and economic muscle of organized crime • Downfall of saloons and birth of nightclubs (and jazz) • Women?? • Cocktails • Impact of average American citizen as law breaker/criminal
State Government Reforms • Direct Primary: election in which citizens select nominees for upcoming elections. Often based on political party affiliations. • Led to 17th Amendment – Direct Election of Senators (1913) • Initiative: process in which citizens can put a proposed new law directly on the ballot in the next election. • Referendum: process that citizens use to reject or approve a law passed by the legislature. • Recall: procedure that permits voters to remove public officials from office before the next election and before their term expires.
Race Issues • What happened to all the abolitionists? Wouldn’t they continue their work and fight against segregation? • Overall the progressive reformers were not particularly interested in the rights/issues of African-Americans. • Deepening of segregation in the south – continuing separation of public areas. • Prominent African-American leaders: Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois. • 1909 – formation of NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Progressivism and Roosevelt • Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy!) – vice-president to Pres McKinley who was assassinated in 1901. • 26th President – 1901 – 1909 - Republican • New York politician from a wealthy family • Rough Riders – Cuba • Youngest president ever – 42 years old, bold and decisive • Saw the presidency as a “bully pulpit” from which to influence media and shape policy/legislation • Promised “Square Deal” – progressive reforms designed to protect the common people against big business. • Felt that America needed a strong federal government • Areas of reform: • Business • Health and the Environment • Civil Rights
Roosevelt’s Reforms - Business • Used the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to halt those trusts that he felt were harmful to the public interest. • Trustbusting • 1902 Coal Strike – Roosevelt intervened and set a precedent that the federal gov’t should get involved labor strikes if they threaten the public welfare • Elkins Act 1903 (forbade rebates) and Hepburn Act 1906(strengthened the powers of the ICC) • Department of Labor – federal agency that supports laws that benefit workers
Health and the Environment • Meat Inspection Act (1906) – federal meat inspection program (used until 1990) and established cleanliness standards for processing plants • Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) – forbid the manufacture, sale or transportation of food or drugs with harmful ingredients, also called for truth in labeling • Conservation Efforts – before Roosevelt’s presidency the federal government paid little attention to the nation’s natural resources. • His philosophy was to preserve some areas while developing others for the common good. • National Reclamation Act (1902) – used money from the sale of public lands to build irrigation systems in arid states. • Roosevelt Dam in Arizona and Shoshone Dam in Wyoming.
Progressivism Under Taft • William H. Taft – 27th President – 1909 – 1913 (Rep.) • Continued Roosevelt’s trustbusting efforts. • Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909) – compromise agreements about tariffs which made neither the progressives nor the business leaders happy. • Mann-Elkins Act (1910) – gave ICC power to regulate telephone and telegraph rates • Taft was stuck between the progressives and the conservatives (ie business leaders) within the Republican Party. • Roosevelt was unhappy with Taft and entered the 1912 Presidential Election as a third party candidate (Bull Moose Party). • He splits the Republican vote and the Democratic candidate wins. • Also have a Socialist Candidate – Eugene V. Debs (pg 537).
Progressivism under Wilson • Woodrow Wilson – 28th President – 1913 – 1921 (Democrat). • His program was called “New Freedom” – called for stronger antitrust legislation, banking reform and reduced tariffs. • Two Constitutional Amendments were ratified in his term: • 16th (passed Congress in July 1909/ratified 1913) – Income Tax • Previously majority of govt funds came from liquor taxes and tariffs • Chart pg 540 • 17th (passed Congress in May 1912/ratified 1913) – Direct Election of Senators • Two additional amendments were passed by Congress and ratified during his administration: • 18th – Prohibition • 19th – Woman’s Suffrage
Reforms • Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914) – limited the poser of monopolies and clarified the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. • Labor unions and farm organizations could strike and not be subject to anti-trust laws. • Strikes and protests became legal – injunctions could only be used against strikers if physical damage was threatened. • Federal Trade Commission Act (1914) – created the agency (FTC) that investigates fraudulent or unfair business practices, and used the courts to enforce its policies. • Federal Reserve Act (1913) – created a three level banking system that controlled the nation’s money supply and regulated member banks. • 12 districts each with a regional central bank. • By 1923, 70% of nation’s banks were part of the Fed Reserve
More Reforms • Federal Farm Loan Act – low interest loans to farmers • Adamson Act – reduced railroad workday from 10 to 8 hours with no cut in pay • Federal Workmen’s Compensation Act – benefits paid to federal employees injured on the job • Federal gov’t acting as the “role model” in labor issues • Keating-Owen Child Labor Act (1916) – outlawed products sold interstate produced by child labor.
The End of the Progressive Movement • Wilson began his first term as president with the outbreak of World War I in Europe • “There’s no chance of progress and reform in an administration in which war plays the principal part.” • By the beginning of his second term in 1917, the Progressive Era had come to an end. • Focus had shifted to winning the war in Europe. • New regulations continued during the war – usually in support of the war effort: • War Industries Board • National War Labor Board • Food Administration • Committee on Public Information