History of the progressive movement in the United States study guide




History of the progressive movement in the United States study guide


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History of the progressive movement in the United States study guide



7.01 – Explain the conditions that led to the rise of Progressivism

How did the political, economic, and social conditions of the Gilded Age lead to the Progressive Era?
How did scientific and technological advances create a mass consumer culture?
To what extent did an emerging mass consumer culture define what it means to be an American?
• What tactics were most effective in bringing about the social, economic, and political reforms of the Progressive Era?

How did conditions of the Gilded Age lead to the Progressive Era?
Political Conditions

  • Many new reform movements were an outgrowth of earlier reform movements, such as the Populists.
  • Political corruption and grafts kept public services (pure water, schools, health care) inadequate.

Social Conditions

  • Many new reform movements sprung up in the Northeast and Midwest. They had their roots in movements such as nativism, prohibition, purity, charity, social gospel, and settlement houses.
  • Reformers were reacting to rapid industrialization, immigration, and urbanization.

Economic Conditions

  • Industrial workers were over-worked yet underpaid.
  • Many progressives argued that charity would not be enough to improve the lives of industrial  


Four Goals of Progressivism
Reformers never completely agreed on problems or solutions, though their progressive efforts shared at least one of the following goals:

1.  Protecting Social Welfare - to soften some of the harsh conditions of industrialization.

  • Florence Kelley- advocate for improving the lives of women and children.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire – 146 young girls were killed when a fire broke out in the building they were working in. The disaster pushed people to demand reform of working conditions.
  • Pure Food and Drug Act- 1906 halted the sale of contaminated foods and medicines and called for truth in labeling.

2.  Promoting Moral Improvement - some reformers felt morality, not the workplace, held the key to   
     improving   the lives of poor people.

  • Prohibition - banning alcoholic beverages to cure society's problems (temperance movement).
  • Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) led the crusade for Prohibition, members advanced their cause by entering saloons, singing, praying, and urging saloonkeepers to stop selling alcohol. Carrie Nation played a large role in this movement.

3.  Creating Economic Reforms

  • Muckrakers- journalist who wrote about the corrupt side of business and public life in mass circulation magazines during the 20th century.
    • Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle exposing the harsh treatment of workers in the meatpacking industry.
    • Jacob Riis wrote How the Other Half Lives hoping to gain support in the reform of tenement houses.
    • Lincoln Steffens uncovered political corruption in St. Louis and other cities.
    • Ida Tarbell wrote the book The History of the Standard Oil Company in which she investigated and revealed the abuses committed by the Standard oil trust.

4.  Fostering Efficiency- many progressive leaders put their faith in experts and scientific principles to      
     make society and the workplace more efficient. (Focused on research)

  • Scientific Management- studies to see just how quick each task could be performed.
  • Introduction of the assembly line caused a high worker turnover rate, often due to injuries by fatigue workers.

7.02 – Economic and political gains in the Progressive Period.

How effective was the Progressive Movement in addressing the political, economic, and social needs of all Americans?
To what extent did progressive reforms successfully combat the social and economic ills created by a rapidly industrializing society?
How successful were the Progressive Era Presidents in leading reform efforts?

Progressives thought that government should increase their responsibility for the well-being of people, which would require more social welfare programs.

Reform at the Municipal (City)Level

  • Settlement houses such as Jane Addam’s Hull House were built to improve urban slums/ghettos.
  • Some mayors led movements for city-supported welfare services which provided things like public baths, parks, work-relief programs, playgrounds, free kindergartens, lodging for homeless.

Reform at the State Level

  • Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin led the way in regulating big business.  He made the railroad industry, a major target. He also instituted a direct primary in which people voted on nominees for upcoming elections.
  • Initiatives, a process in which citizens can propose a new law to go directly on the ballot, referendums, which allowed citizens to approve or reject a law passed by the legislature, and recall procedures, which permitted voters to remove public officials from office, were also instituted in many states. 

Reform at the Federal Level

  • The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) was enforced strongly by the Roosevelt administration
  • The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) banned interstate shipping of impure food and mislabeling food
  • 16th Amendment (1913) Allowed the federal government to collect income taxes.
  • 17th Amendment (1913) Direct election of senators. Before this, each states’ legislature chose its own US Senator.
  • Federal Reserve Act (1913) Created the Federal Reserve System of banks to supervise private banks and ensure a flexible money supply.
  • 18th Amendment (Volstead Act)  (1919) Banned the production, sale, or import of alcohol (prohibition)
  • 19th Amendment (1920) Granted women full suffrage (the right to vote)

Theodore Roosevelt

  • After the Spanish-American War he became the Governor of NY, then vice president, and then after the assassination of McKinley, he became the youngest president at the age of 42.
  • He saw presidency as a "bully pulpit”=he could influence the news and media and shape legislation.
  • If big business victimized workers, then he would make sure that the common people received a Square Deal - his program of progressive reforms designed to protect people from big businesses.
  • Roosevelt's real goal was federal regulation of railroads
  • Congress passed Elkins Act (1903), Made it illegal for railroad officials to give, and shippers to receive, rebates for using particular railroads.


Progressivism as Taft Becomes 27th President

  • Progressive Movement- in early 20th-century reform movement seeking to return control of 

     the  government to the people, to restore economic opportunities, and to correct the injustices 
of American life.

  • William Howard Taft- handpicked by Roosevelt ran for president in 1908 against William Jennings Bryan. Taft had campaigned on a platform of lowering tariffs.
  • Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909) passed by Taft=a set of tax regulations. It failed to significantly reduce tariffs on manufactured goods-increasing many rates.  This angered progressives who believed Taft had abandoned progressivism.

The Republican Party Splits

  • Taft's actions made it impossible to hold together the two wings of the Republican Party. (Progressives want change and Conservatives did not)
  • Problems within the Republican Party = mass defeat in 1912 & helped Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 18 years.
  • Bull Moose Party AKA Progressive party (another 3rd-party) led by Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Platform: direct election of senators and adoption in all states of the initiative, referendum, and recall.  Advocated  women's suffrage, workmen's comp, 8 hour workday,  minimum wage for  women, federal law against child labor, and the federal trade commission to regulate businesses.

Democrats Win in 1912

  • Woodrow Wilson- Democrat reformer and NJ governor.
  • Wilson only captured 42% of popular vote, he won overwhelming electoral victory and a Democratic majority in Congress.
  • He endorsed a progressive platform, called the New Freedom, which demanded even stronger antitrust legislation, banking reform, and reduced tariffs.

Wilson Financial Reformsè Antitrust Measures

  • Trust - a corporation made up of many companies that receive certificates entitling them to dividends on profits earned.
  • Clayton Antitrust Act (1914) - strengthened Sherman Antitrust Act 1890.
    • It intended to prevent the creation of monopolies by making it illegal to establish trusts that interfered with free trade.
    • It prohibited corporations from acquiring the stock of another if doing so would create a monopoly.
  • Federal Trade Commission Act (1914) - set up the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    • This “watchdog” agency was given the power to investigate possible violations of regulatory statutes, to require periodic reports from corporations, and to put an end to a number of unfair business practices.

7.03 - Effects of racial segregation on United States’ society.

To what extent were the social, political, and economic standing of African Americans positively affected by progressive efforts?
What did it mean to be black in America at the turn of the century?
Why did multiple perspectives develop for addressing racial injustice during the Progressive Era?

De jure segregation  - racial separation (segregation) created by the law
De facto segregation  - when segregation is a result of custom and culture, it is a fact, but not a law

Roosevelt and Civil Rights

  • Roosevelt failed to support civil rights of African-Americans, although, he did support of few individual African-Americans.
  • Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to White House (symbolic gesture)
  • Washington respected by powerful whites, but faced opposition from African-Americans like W.E.B. DuBois, for his accommodation of segregationists and for blaming black poverty on blacks - urging them to accept discrimination.
  • At a Niagara Falls convention in 1909, Du Bois and others founded the NAACP- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Restrictions on Civil Rights

    • Plessy v Ferguson(1896)Supreme Court case saying segregation was permissible if facilities were equal. (Separate but equal)
    • Wilmington race riot (1898)
    • Jim Crow Laws – laws requiring segregation.
    • Disenfranchisement – Keeping African Americans from voting.
    • Literacy Tests – reading tests designed to keep African Americans from voting.
    • Poll Taxes – a fee that people must pay before being permitted to vote.
    • Grandfather Clauses – Laws exempting men from certain voting restrictions if they had already voted or if they had ancestors who had voted prior to blacks being granted suffrage.
    • Great Migration – Many African Americans moved north after Reconstruction, when civil rights became restricted.

7.04 - Impact of technological changes on economic, social, and cultural life

What was the economic and social impact of the technological changes of the Progressive Era?
How was American culture redefined during the Progressive Era?
Does society cause government to change or does government cause society to change?

  • Electricity – General Electric Company was formed in 1892 to take over Thomas Edison’s electric light business. Electricity became available to consumers to power household appliances.
  • Mail order catalogs  - A rise in goods being purchased through the mail
  • Kodak camera  - took still pictures
  • Movie Camera  - took moving pictures
  • Wright Brothers – Had the first successful airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • Henry Ford’s Innovations:
    • $5 day  - Ford paid his workers more than the average manufacturer, but foreign workers had to enroll in English and civics classes and let investigators inspect their homes. Graduation ceremonies occurred in which workers shed their ethnic identities and became “Americans.”
    • Assembly line – a manufacturing process in which each worker does one specialized task in the construction of the final product. Ford did not invent the assembly line, but he made it more efficient.
    • Model T - Ford’s first successfully marketable lightweight, gas-powered car.
  • Skyscrapers  - the Bessemer Process (steel production) and the invention of the elevator allowed for the building of high-rises in cities



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