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Progressive Agendas. Political, economic and social. Political reform. Most progressives agreed with the need to break the power of political machines

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progressive agendas

Progressive Agendas

Political, economic and social

political reform
Political reform
  • Most progressives agreed with the need to break the power of political machines
  • The most corrupt cities had systems with officials who controlled hiring/budget/police of specific precincts – so if the party controlled that person they controlled that area of the city
  • One alternative to machine politics was the city commission system instituted in Galveston, Texas, after a hurricane destroyed the city. By centering power in the hands of a few business-oriented , at-large managers, Galveston developed an efficient city government.
growth of the commissioner system
Growth of the commissioner system
  • Within 20 years, more than 500 other cities adopted a commissioner system. Another 158 cities adopted a city-manager system in which the city council hired a professional to manage the daily affairs of the city.
  • Other reforms to city government included a reduction in the number of padded contracts that ward bosses could hand out, tightening of bloated government payrolls, and changes in election procedures that allowed for nonpartisan elections.
wisconsin more than the cheese
Wisconsin – more than the cheese
  • In Wisconsin, Governor “Fighting Bob” La Follette and his supporters attacked the power of bosses and instituted reforms that made government more responsive to the people. Reforms included the direct primary, initiative, referendum, and recall. Other states under progressive leadership instituted similar reforms.
in oregon
In Oregon
  • In 1902 the Oregon Constitution was amended to allow for the initiative, referendum, referral and recall
    • Initiative – a matter is placed before the voters after a petition gathers 6 percent of recent voters(for statute) or 8 percent (for Constitution)
    • Referendum – voters may undo any legislative action after a petition of 4 percent of recent voters
    • referral – the legislature may refer a question to the voters (must do so for Constitutional Amendments)
    • Recall (allowed in 1908) –voters can remove an elected official before their term ends – requires a petition of 15 percent of recent voters to get on the ballot
17 th amendment
17th amendment
  • To counter Senate corruption, the progressives won passage of the Seventeenth Amendment, which called for the direct election of senators.
  • Prior to that, Senators were selected by the state legislatures
women s right to vote
Women’s Right to Vote
  • The women’s suffrage movement gained momentum, with 9 states west of the Mississippi River granting women the right to vote in all elections by 1912. Women nationwide, however, did not win that right until passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
  • The Progressives believed that giving women the right to vote would lead to more Progressive power
utility commissions
Utility Commissions
  • Again following the lead of Wisconsin, the progressives sought to curb the power of big business by establishing commissions to regulate railroads, electric power companies, and gas companies. Some cities went beyond mere regulation, setting up and running utilities as part of city government.
  • In Oregon, electricity and natural gas are regulated by the People’s Utility Commission, while water services are run by local governments
economic reforms worker s compensation
Economic reforms – worker’s Compensation
  • Articles by muckrakers and protests by unions roused public support for worker compensation laws, first passed at the state level and then at the national level with enactment of the Workmen’s Compensation Law of 1916.
  • Worker’s Compensation requires that employers pay into an insurance pool to cover workers injured on the job
    • The riskier the job the more the employers pay
liberty of contract
Liberty of Contract
  • 1905 – Lochner v New York – a law regulating the number of hours that bakers could work was ruled a violation of “liberty of contract” a right not explicitly found in the US Constitution
  • The court found that the due process clause that protects “life, liberty, and property” meant that the government could not “unreasonably” interfere between the employment agreements between workers and employers
  • So minimum-wage laws, worker safety laws, child labor laws were all struck down – to the frustration of the progressives
muller v oregon
Muller v Oregon
  • Progressives, who believed women were weaker than men and more deserving of protection, championed efforts to win shorter work days (10 hours) for women. In Muller v. Oregon, lawyer Louis Brandeis convinced the Supreme Court that a state government, to protect the public interest, had a right to regulate the work of women.
  • He argued that such regulations were “reasonable” and thus consistent with Lochner
brandeis brief
Brandeis brief
  • In arguing the case, Brandeis revolutionized legal thought by supporting his case with detailed statistical data collected by Josephine Goldmark of the National Consumers League. Beginning with the Muller decision, courts considered a law’s impact on people’s lives, rather than simply evaluating laws on narrow legal grounds.
  • The Supreme Court will still strike down plenty of Progressive reform legislation
legal reforms children
Legal reforms - children
  • The progressives worked to protect children by
  • establishing separate juvenile courts, which places an emphasis on rehabilitation and reform and not punishment
  • backing laws that provided financial assistance to children in homes with no father present, this will eventually become the modern welfare system
  • expanding public education, the will eventually result in mandatory education for all children
lots o book learnin
Lots o’ book learnin’
  • During the late 1800s, not only did the number of public schools increase sharply, the method of education changed as well. Reformer John Dewey criticized rote learning and called for instruction that centered on the child’s social needs and citizenship.
social reform
Social reform
  • Other reforms focused on the well-being of women.
  • Margaret Sanger fought laws that made the use and possession of birth control illegal
  • Francis Willard established the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
  • Under Willard’s leadership, the WCTU attacked a wide range of social ills other than the abuse of alcohol. The organization advocated women’s suffrage, prison reform, world peace, and health reform