The Progressive Era • As the 1800s ended, only a handful of people were wealthy, while immigrants and poor laborers continued to live and work under harsh conditions. • Many citizens and government officials began to demand reforms in government, business, and society. • The turn of the 20th century marked the beginning of the Progressive Era and was a time of political, social, and economic change in the U.S. • The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the muckrakers both helped to inspire the movement.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, March 25, 1911
The Progressives • Progressives (those who supported Progressive reforms), believed that things could be made better though government regulation of society. • They called for more regulation of business, improved wages for workers, regulations over work conditions, laws governing morality, and defined standards for education. • Progressives raged against the upper class as being exploiters of the poor.
The goals of the Populists could be summed up into four beliefs: • Government should be more accountable to its citizens • Government should curb the power and influence of wealthy interests • Government should be given expanded powers so that it could become more active in improving the lives of its citizens • Government should become more efficient and less corrupt so that they could competently handle an expanded role
The Muckrakers • The Muckrakers had a strong influence on the Progressive Movement. • A muckrake is a rake or pitchfork used to clean poo and hay out of stables. • Teddy Roosevelt used the term muckraker to refer to journalists who raked filth into the public eye. • Many of these writers wrote stories exposing abuse in government and big business.
The Muckrakers • Lincoln Steffens exposed corruption in St. Louis and other cities. • Ida Tarbell revealed the abuses of the Standard Oil Trust. She called for reforms in US business and campaigns against monopolies. • The most famous muckraker was Upton Sinclair who published a novel called The Jungle in 1906. It uncovered the truth about the US meat packing industry. It led to the creation of a federal meat inspection program.
Told about how how meat was processed and the accidents, illnesses, and painful deaths that occurred within the meat packing industry. • Now you read it…
The Settlement Movement • In addition to the muckrakers, there were other notable reformers in the Progressive Movement- many Progressive reformers were women. • Jane Addams (nicknamed the “mother of social work”) opened Hull House as a settlement house in Chicago. • Settlement houses were houses established in poor neighborhoods where social activists would offer assistance to immigrants and the urban poor (things the govt wasn’t providing). • By 1910, there were more than 400 settlement houses in the U.S. Hull House served as a launching pad for investigations into economic, political, and social conditions in the city. • It also provided help and education to the poor and immigrants, and eventually helped fight for and win new child labor laws.
Other Movements Contd. • The Temperance Movement had a revival in the Progressive Era. The 2nd wave of the movement accomplished the original goal of banning alcohol. • Ratified in 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, transportation, or consumption of alcohol in the U.S. • This Amendment was the result of reformers like Carrie Nation, who would go into saloons and smash bottle of liquor. • Although Prohibition was eventually repealed, another Progressive Reform had a more lasting impact: the 19th Amendment. • Ever since the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, women had demanded suffrage. • Susan B. Anthony carried the women’s suffrage movement into the 20th century. She established the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). • In 1920, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Labor Laws & Living Conditions • One area where progressives called for reform was in living conditions for poor urban workers and immigrants. • One of the key figures in this reform movement was Jacob Riis, who wrote the book How the Other Half Lives that exposed the horrible conditions under which immigrants worked and lived. • His writings revealed the cramped space, filthy conditions, and often dangerous hazards that existed in inner-city tenements. • Riis’ efforts contributed to New York passing its 1st laws to improve urban tenements.
Labor Laws • Since worker’s wages were low, men, women, & children had to work long hours for little pay. • Workdays tended to run from sunrise to sundown and usually involved dangerous conditions. • Many progressives called for shorter work days, higher wages, and safer work environments for employees. • Progressive reformers succeeded in convincing a number of states to pass minimum age laws. • Legislatures also passed laws restricting work hours and requiring safer working conditions after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Political Reforms • The govt became notorious for political scandal in the late 1800s- corruption at city, state, & federal level. • Progressives wanted to make govt officials more accountable to the general public. • This resulted in political reforms such as: • The 17th Amendment: established that US senators would be elected directly by the people, rather than by state legislatures. Meant that senate seats would have to be won in open elections rather than awarded as part of a closed political deal. • Initiative: allowed citizens of a state to force a vote on a certain issue without having to wait for public officials to bring it up. If enough citizens signed a petition and/or made their voices heard, then the legislature could be compelled to address a particular concern. • Recall: gave citizens the power to hold special elections to remove corrupt officials from office before their terms were up. • Referendum: meant that public officials would be elected by popular vote, rather than by party bosses or state legislatures.
Progressive Era Amendments • 16th Amendment (1913): Gave Congress the power to collect income taxes on businesses & individuals. Increased the fed govt’s revenue & elminated the need to tax according to the proportions of state populations. Prevented corrupt business practices that kept tons of profits in the hands of big business owners while paying very little to laborers. More money to the govt means more resources to regulate society. • 17th Amendment (1913): Direct primary.This law established the US senators would be elected directly by the people of a state, rather than by state legislatures. • 18th Amendment (1919): Prohibition.Thegovt prohibited the making, selling, or transporting of alcoholic beverages. Later repealed by 21st. • 19th Amendment (1920): Women’s suffrage. Gave women the right to vote.
OtherReforms: • Pure Food and Drug Act – Forbid the manufacture, sale, or transportation of food or drugs containing harmful ingredients • Meat Inspection Act – Government inspection of meat shipped from one state to another • Department of Labor – A federal agency that supports laws that benefit workers
Progressivism Under Taft and Wilson • Theodore Roosevelt did not run again for President in 1908; his Republican successor William Howard Taft won over Democrat William Jennings Bryant • Progressives were furious. Roosevelt decided to come out of retirement to run again as a Progressive, this time under banner of the Bull Moose Party (Roosevelt did not get the Republican nomination for president – Taft did)
Progressivism Under Taft and Wilson • The Democrats nominated the eventual winner of the election, Woodrow Wilson. • Taft’s record as a Progressive was quite notable: • He reserved more public lands and brought more anti-trust lawsuits than Roosevelt had.
Woodrow Wilson believed that his duty as President was to offer major legislationto Congress, to promote it publicly, and to guide it to passage. Reforms During Wilson’s Administration: