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The Progressive Era (Part 2). The Search for Order and Efficiency. Impose order on a chaotic society Search for greater efficiency in business Drive for honest, efficient, non-partisan government. The “Gospel of Efficiency”. Frederick W. Taylor – the first efficiency expert

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The Progressive Era (Part 2)


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the search for order and efficiency
The Search for Order and Efficiency

Impose order on a chaotic society

Search for greater efficiency in business

Drive for honest, efficient, non-partisan government

the gospel of efficiency
The “Gospel of Efficiency”

Frederick W. Taylor – the first efficiency expert

Hoped to reduce waste by scientifically studying jobs

  • “Time-motion” studies

Efficient layout of workplace could reduce

  • Lost time
  • Errors
  • Injuries

Hoped pay incentives tied to productivity would encourage workers to exceed “average”

Very effective in rigid, standardized jobs

Workers hated it

efficiency in government
Efficiency in Government
  • The “Good Government” Movement
  • Goals:
    • End political corruption
    • Bring efficient, business-like methods to government
    • Create a more compassionate legislative response to the excesses of industrialism
the good government movement local level
The “Good Government” MovementLocal Level

Blamed most of the urban problems on the “machine”

Sought to make city management:

  • Non-partisan, even non-political
  • Wanted to introduce administrative techniques developed by big business

Different organizational plans

  • Strong mayor
  • Board of Commissioners style
  • City manager style

Another approach was to reform the policies, not the political structure

  • Usually emphasized efficiency and social welfare
  • Typically pushed for municipal ownership of utilities
  • Typically set work rules for government jobs
  • Typically pushed for public works (parks, etc)
the democratization of government state level
The Democratization of Government(State Level)

Initiative -

Voters can place items on ballot

Referendum -

Allows voters, rather than legislature, to decide issues

Recall -

Allows removal of elected reps. w/o waiting for next election

Direct primaries –

Allows voters to select candidates (as opposed to convention system)

pendleton civil service reform act 1883
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act (1883)

President to create a 3 person commission

Commission to establish standards for federal jobs

Instituted competitive examinations for candidates

Barred political candidates from soliciting contributions from government employees

  • Didn’t get rid of patronage, but public service did improve
munn v illinois 1876
Munn v. Illinois (1876)

Established theory that private property can become “clothed in the public interest”

Established three key principles

  • Right of government to regulate any business w/ a “public interest”
  • Right of legislature to decide what is “fair and reasonable”
  • Right of states to act when Congress won’t
wabash v illinois 1886
Wabash v. Illinois(1886)

Limited the states’ right to regulate that had been granted in Munn

A state could only regulate traffic within its boundaries

Could not regulate traffic that crossed state lines

  • 75% of traffic crossed state lines

Public outrage led to creation of ICC in 1887

  • Its power limited, the ICC was far less powerful than the big railroads
  • Railroads could manipulate the system and set rates at will, the ICC was irrelevant
the progressive presidents
The Progressive Presidents

Theodore Roosevelt

  • 1901-1908
  • Republican

William H. Taft

  • 1908-1912
  • Republican

Woodrow Wilson

  • 1912-1920
  • Democrat
roosevelt as president the quintessential progressive politician
Roosevelt as President “the quintessential progressive politician”

Viewed the presidency as the “Bully Pulpit”

  • A platform to exhort Americans to reform their society

Believed educated & wealthy Americans had a duty to serve, guide, and inspire the less fortunate

Openly acknowledged economic and social inequalities

Believed government agencies, led by experts, could find solutions to society’s problems

the 1912 presidential election
The 1912 Presidential Election

Evincing the strength of the progressive ideals, all four candidates ran as “progressives”

  • Republican Party – Taft
  • Democratic Party – Wilson
  • Progressive Party – Roosevelt
  • Socialist Party - Debs
the presidential election of 1912
The Presidential Election of 1912
  • Republican Party
  • William Howard Taft
  • (Incumbent)

Graduated income tax

Safety codes for

    • Mines
    • Railroads

Restrictions on child labor

the presidential election of 19121
The Presidential Election of 1912
  • Democratic Party
  • Woodrow Wilson
    • Saw Roosevelt as main challenge
    • Claimed they were the “true’ progressives
    • State’s rights
    • Small government
    • Ambiguous reform proposals (equality of economic oppprtunity)
the presidential election of 19122
The Presidential Election of 1912
  • Progressive Party(a.k.a. “Bull Moose” party)
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    • Women's suffrage
    • Eight hour day
    • End child labor
    • Min. wage for women
    • Stricter regulation of large corporations
the presidential election of 19123
The Presidential Election of 1912
  • Socialist Party
  • Eugene V. Debs

A radical choice

    • Abolish the system that oppresses workers
    • Tear up privilege by the roots
    • Took credit for pushing Roosevelt & Wilson to the left
wilson s progressive reforms
Wilson’s Progressive Reforms

Underwood-Simmons Act (1913)

Federal Reserve Act (1913)

Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)

Federal Trade Act (1914)

Federal Highways Act (1916)

the progressive movement a summary
The Progressive Movement -A Summary

Traces its roots to the 1820s-30s

Became a major political force after the WBTS

Reached its peak under Wilson

Greatly expanded the power and presence of the Federal Government

Firmly established the public service concept of government