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Chapter 8. The Progressive Presidents 1900 - 1920. REFORMING GOVERNMENT. Political Machines demanded bribes from anyone wanting to do business with city government Political Machines were favorable to business interests tax breaks, favorable legislation, etc.

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chapter 8

Chapter 8

The Progressive Presidents

1900 - 1920

reforming government


  • Political Machines demanded bribes from anyone wanting to do business with city government
  • Political Machines were favorable to business intereststax breaks, favorable legislation, etc.
  • They demanded campaign contributions

Problems: Political corruption at all levels of govt.

election reforms

Election Reforms

Give power to the people to solve the problems of American life.


17th Amendment

  • passed in 1912, provided for the direct election of US senators by the people instead of the statelegislatureswho were too easily controlled by machines

Direct Primary

A nominating election in which voters choose the candidates who will later run in a general election. Wisconsin started in 1903, most other states by 1916.

  • Secret Ballot
  • Developed in Australia, all candidates were listed on a single sheet instead of separate distinctly colored ballots. Most states had switched by 1910.
reforms to give people ways to influence public policy

Reforms to give people ways to influence public policy


Gives voters the power to introduce legislation. If enough voters petition their legislature to enact a measure, the legislature must consider it.



  • Enables voters to remove an elected official from office by calling for a new, special election.
  • Power to the people


Companion to initiative, voters can force the legislature to place a measure on the ballot.

Allows citizens to vote on recently proposed or existing law


Reforming City Government

“Those skilled in business management & social service should run municipal affairs on a business basis.”

Corruption had become too costly

Most cities had been ruled by mayor & city council made up of aldermans who were elected from wards. Political machines prospered under this because it was easily corrupted.

led to good government campaigns

Led to “Good Government Campaigns”

Ex. Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones served as mayor of Toledo 1897- 1904.

Overhauled the municipal system.- Police, Fire, water, trash, etc.

Believed in the Biblical Golden Rule- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

Ex. Tom Johnson, was a businessman, mayor of Cleveland, worked to cut ties with political machines.


Event: Galveston hurricane 1900, killed approx 6000. - traditional city government were unable to cope with disaster

Citycommissionwas formed by Texas Legislature, was composed of experts in their field to improve efficiency and honesty

reforming state government

Reforming State Government

  • Wisconsin Idea
  • - Use of the Direct primary
  • - Increased taxes on RR’s & public utilities and created commissions to regulate them
  • - Curbed public lobbying and campaign contributions; increased conservation

In 1900, Wisconsin Gov. Robert LaFollette’s reforms to government

- Wisconsin was then called the “laboratory of democracy.”


VP Teddy Roosevelt becomes [youngest] president.

    • Forceful, dynamic personality- “a roaring tornado of a man”
    • Believed in using the office of presidency as a
    • “Bully Pulpit”
  • - exerting his beliefs to influence policies
1902 pa coal strike

1902 PA Coal Strike

Miners wanted higher wages & recognition of the United Mine Workers union.

Owners (RR co’s.) did not negotiate

TR proposed arbitration(letting a 3rd party settle the dispute)

Mine owners refused; TR threatened federal take over mines. Mine owners backed down.

Compromise was reached.

- LANDMARK settlement

for the first time the fed government got involved to protect the interests of

FOR THE FIRST TIME the fed government got involved to protect the interests of

the public

the workers


square deal


TR’s campaign slogan 1904

Every man has a square deal, no less, no more


Balancing the interests of labor, business, and consumers.

Limit the power of trusts, promote public health & safety, improving working conditions.

regulating business



1902 US government sued Northern Securities Co. (J.P. Morgan) for monopolizing RR shipping in the northwest.

1904 Supreme Court ruled (using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act) in US government’s favor & ordered the corporation to be dissolved.

TR went on to file 44 suits against “BAD” trusts.

- not the size of the trust, but whether the trust was bad for the public as a whole.

r r regulation

R.R. regulation

-Interstate Commerce Commission gained great power with the passage of:

-Elkins Act 1903 which forbade shippers from accepting rebates. (money given back to shippers in return for business)

-Hepburn Act 1906 authorized the ICC to set RR rates & to regulate other companies engaged in interstate commerce.

protecting the consumer

Protecting the Consumer

-Food and Drug industries were producing dangerous products

Enacting of Consumer Protection Laws

Meat Inspection Act 1906 required govt inspection of meat shipped from one state to another

Pure Food & Drug Act 1906 forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of food and patent medicine containing harmful ingredients. Also required content labels on bottles.

protecting the environment

Protecting the Environment

-Business always more important than environment

-Newlands Reclamation Act 1902 allowed money from the sales of public land to be used for irrigation and reclamation (making damaged land productive again).

environment cont

Environment (cont.)

-Withdrew sale of millions of acres of public land

-Creation of National Parks and animal sanctuaries

-Created the National Conservation Commission to study natural resource issues and to the establishment of conservation agencies in 41 states.

election 1908

Election 1908

William Howard Taft

TR chooses not to run

He names/supports his friend and Secretary of War as successor

Wins by huge margin


- Stressed the limitations of the president

Worked to secure Roosevelt’s reforms rather than build upon them

Chief Executive

(later Chief Justice)

trust buster

Trust Buster??

90 vs. 44

Taft vs. TR

mann elkins act 1910

Mann – Elkins Act1910

Extends regulatory powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission to telephone and telegraph companies


Supported Conservation programs

Dept. of Labor established

Mine safety laws passed

8 hr workday for companies doing business with the federal gov’t.

Hilda L. Solis

16 th amendment

16th Amendment

Proposed in 1909; Ratified 1913

Graduated Income Tax

(based on individual income)

Funded needed gov’t programs in fair manner

taft loses support of progressives

Taft loses support of Progressives

  • Pinchot – Ballinger Affair
  • Taft fired Gifford Pinchot, head of the U.S. Forest Service, for speaking out against Taft’s pro-business Sect. of the Interior, Richard Ballinger, who approved the sale of Alaskan timberland to the Coal Industry.

He supports Payne-Aldrich Tariff 1909 over Progressive protests

tr sided with his friend pinchot

TR sided with his friend, Pinchot

He campaigned for Progressive Republicans who were running against Conservative (Taft) Republicans

new nationalism

New Nationalism

Bold program of social legislation calling for tough laws to

protect workers

ensure public health

regulate business

Government must become the “steward of the public welfare.”

New Nationalism is a revival of the progressive spirit.



  • TR won almost all primaries, including Ohio
  • Conservatives controlled the Convention
  • Taft received Republican nomination

Conservatives vs. Progressives

TR and supporters formed Progressive Party

“Bull Moose Party”

election 1912

Election 1912

  • New Freedom
  • Wilson’s Reform Program
  • Revival of small business
  • Free from the control of big business and government
  • Rid the “system” of corruption so free competition could flourish

Woodrow Wilson

Progressive Democrat

underwood tariff act 1913

Underwood Tariff Act1913

Clayton Anti-Trust Act 1914

Clarified and extended the Sherman Antitrust Act

Reduced tariffs to lowest levels in 50 years

federal trade commission

Federal Trade Commission

Authorized to investigate corporations

“Police Action”

Used courts to enforce rulings

federal reserve act

1. Federal Reserve Board

    • Appointed by the president
    • Runs the system

Federal Reserve Act

  • 12 Federal Reserve banks
  • Mixed public and private control
  • “bankers’ banks”

Creates 3 Level Banking System

  • Private banks
  • Borrow from the Federal Reserve Banks at interest rates set by the board
federal farm loan act adamson act federal workmen s compensation act

Keating-Owen Child Labor Act 1916

  • Outlawed interstate sale of products produced by child labor
  • Declared unconstitutional because it restricted commerce

Federal Farm Loan Act

Adamson Act

Federal Workmen’s Compensation Act

national am erican women suffrage association

National AmericanWomen Suffrage Association

Founded in 1890

Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Non-partisan local approach

Later led by Carrie Chapman Catt

national women s party

National Women’s Party

Broke from NAWSA in 1913

Alice Paul

Involved in National Politics

Attention-getting protests/arrests

19 th amendment

19th Amendment

Women suffrage