The Progressive Era

Progressive movement
What: The era of reform-political, economic and social. When: 1901- Roosevelt became president and US steel became the 1st billion dollar "big business". Through the Taft and Wilson presidencies.
Who: Complicated... though often generalized as the middle class.
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
Owners found "not guilty" because can't prove they knew about the locked doors. It established factory investigation bureau to look into conditions and make suggestions for reform. Women and socialist organizers appointed to it. A huge wave of new legislation. "Fair trade" type movement. Upper/middle-class women only buy products made under fair conditions.
Term coined by TR in a speech, investigative journalism to expose "truths". To push people into action, had to educate them about corruption and "dirty realities". Newspaper and magazine publishers knew the power of these "exposé" stories to sell more copies (McClure's, Collier's and Cosmopolitan). Strategy declined after 1910: hard to "top" previous sensational story. Pressure by advertisers to tone down critism of business ("PR").
A bill originated by the people rather than lawmakers on the ballot.
Voters (not legislatures) accept or reject the initiative (by voting).
Enabled voters (if enough people asked for it) to remove public officials from elected positions by forcing them to face another election before the end of the term.
Square Deal
Teddy Roosevelt was clear he neither favored big business nor labor, but wanted a "square deal" for both. Big business is here to stay and is a good thing. But felt laissez-faire as a philosophy was outdated. The President must act as a "steward of public welfare". Sacrifice economic freedom for the sake of the general welfare.
Bully Pulpit
The way TR made a stand in his presidency - making reforms/threatening (positive)/making changes.
1902 Coal Strike
TR intervened - in a strike with 140,000 coal miners demanding 20% raise and 9hr work day - brought them to the White House for a 3rd party to come up with a compromise --> 10% raise and 9hr work day --> gave up rights to strike and be a part of a union. From then on, the fed. gov't was expected to step in on a strike. Progressive belief --> disputes could be settled in orderly ways with experts --> arbitration commission.
Elkins & Hepburn Acts
Elkins Act (1903) --> made rebates illegal, also railroads can't change rates without telling public. Hepburn Act of 1906 --> limited bribery in the form of free railroad passes and gave ICC power to set maximum railroad rates --> increase gov't power to regulate railroads.
Meat Inspection Act
Passed in 1906 --> cleanliness requirements for meatpackers and created program of federal meat inspection.
Pure Food & Drug Act
Congress passed in 1906--> stopped the sale of contaminated foods and medicines, and truth in labeling.
Forests not necessarily protected out of a love of the wilderness (save the trees!) but to protect the economics of the west (save the water supply! Grazing grounds!). The Forest Reserve Act (1891) already existed, but TR made use of it - 150 million acres of fed. land could not be sold. Newlands Reclamation Act (1902) - $ from the sale of public land to be used for irrigation projects. Costs of conservation - Forests managed like tree farms - want to produce more trees/prevent them from dying. Eliminated key insects from the ecosystem that actually killed more trees. Forest fire prevention - sometimes a natural forest fire is good! Forest service was too preoccupied by this. Hunters exterminated natural predators to protect game animals. Further restrictions on Native Americans.
Payne-Aldrich Tariff
1809 - Taft had promised to lower tariffs in campaign, but this raised it on most imports (defended the bill publically).
Bull Moose Party
Progressive party, Teddy Roosevelt's attempt at 3rd term. The platform called for the direct election of senators and the adoption in all states of the initiative, referendum and recall.
Election of 1912
Taft was the incumbent. Democratic Party - Woodrow Wilson (Governor of NJ). Socialist Party - Eugene Debs (running for the 4th time). Republican Party - Taft (for re-election. Progressive "Bull Moose" Party - Teddy Roosevelt (attempt at 3rd term). Wilson wins.
New Freedom
Wilson - Lowering the protective tariffs. Creating a better banking system. Strengthening antitrust laws. No social justice reforms. Restore competition vs. the people (**gov't is NOT "steward of the public welfare" like Teddy said).
Clayton Antitrust Act
Strengthened Sherman Antitrust Act for breaking up monopolies and exempted unions from being considered "trusts".
Federal Reserve Act/System
National banking system with 12 district banks, supervised by a federal reserve board and the Federal Reserve Act passed in 1914. This divided the nation into 12 districts and established a regional central bank in each. The system is still the basis of national banking system. They can issue new paper money in emergencies and member banks use new currency to make loans. They could transfer funds to member banks in trouble, saving banks from closing and protecting customer savings.
16th, 17th, & 19th Amendments
16th- 1913, authorized a federal income tax. Now the gov't has more money to create agencies for regulating business practices.
17th- Direct election of senators. Senate is composed for 2 sentors from each state, elected by the people.
19th- women's right to vote. Final ratification, August 1920.
William McKinley
Modest, disciplined, formal (reassuring in economic depression). Relied on his campaign manager (Mark Hanna), sold him through mass media and targeted political interest groups (women, immigrants etc). Economy improved with gold discovered in Alaska. Made the US a world power with Spanish American War. Began rebuilding power of the presidency. 1st US president with a press briefing. Formed commissions of experts to fix problems. Dispatched troops without Congress' consent. Increased White House staff. September 1901- Pan-American Exposision in Buffalo, NY. He was shot by Leon Czolgosz (arachist). Teddy became the youngest president at age 42. "There's just one life in between that damned cowboy and the White House".
Theodore Roosevelt
1897- appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by McKinely. Summer 1898 - Lieutenant Colonel of the "Rough Riders" in the Spanish-American War. November 1898 - elected governor of NY. November 1900 - elected VP of the US. 1st Pres. to ride in a car, travel in a plane and a submarine. 1st Pres to travel outside the US (being in office). 1st to be recognized as a true "world leader" (Nobel Prize winner - Negotiated the Russia vs Japan Treaty). He was an author and historian (35 books) and the father of the modern American Navy. 3 tactics - counter-organization, fragmentation, and regulation.
William Howard Taft
He got stuck in the bath tub (330 lbs). 1st Pres. to own a car. Last Pres. to own a cow. Only Pres. to also serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Continued Teddy's progressive agenda. Busted twice as many trusts as Roosevelt (90 in 4yrs). Established the Bureau of Mines. Added large tracts of lands in the Appalachians to the forest reserves. Set aside federal oil lands. Mann-Elkins Act ICC can suspend railroad rates and oversee telephone, telegraph and cable companies). Progressive Republicans thought that he was too cautious and too conservative on reform.
Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party - "new freedom"- brand name for progressive reforms. Bring back conditions of free and fair competition in the economy. Attacked the "triple wall of privilege": tariffs, banks and trusts. 2nd democrat elected after the Civil War. 1st Southerner elected after Civil War. President of Princeton University. Won a Nobel Peace Prize.
Eugene Debs
The leader of the Socialist Party policies and called for an end to capitalism. Running for Pres. 4th time. He supported equal rights for African Americans and worker rights. Was the Industrial Workers of the World union leader.
Florence Kelley
An advocate for improving the lives of women and children. After winning the passage of the Illinois Factory Act in 1893, she was appointed chief inspector of factories for Illinois. This act prohibited child labor and limited women's working hours, and it soon became a model for other states.
Robert La Follette
Progressive Republican governor of Wisconsin, led the way in regulating big business. "Fighting Bob" La Follette served 3 terms before entering the US Senate in 1906. His major target was the railroad industry. He taxed railroad property at the same rate as other business property, set up a commission to regulate rates, and forbade railroads to issue free passes to state officials.
Jacob Riis
A photographer that took unposed photos, with surprised subjects. He sought the "true exposure" of working class life. He typically paired these with photos of "uplift" (reform movements saving them). A lot were taken at night. Paternalistic and moral response to progressivism.
Lewis Hine
A photographer who focused especially on child labor. "humanitarian espionage" - snuck into work places. Staged the photos and collaborated with his subjects. He wanted to reveal strength of the working class and their own agency. Solidarity through collectives.
Upton Sinclair
A muckraking journalist who began research for his novel in 1904 focusing on the human condition in the stockyards of Chicago. His book The Jungle revealed the "sickening conditions of the meatpacking industry". He was invited by TR to visit him at the White House and help eradicate the "specific evils" that he pointed out.
Gifford Pinchot
Preserving natural resources. Formerly the first dictator of the forest service. TR created the National Conservation Commission under him. He was a professional conservationist and had administrative skill as well as the latest scientific and technical information. Advised Roosevelt to conserve forest and grazing lands by keeping large tracts of federal land exempt from private sale.
John Muir
Preserving wilderness. TR's good friend and 1st promoter of preserving the wilderness (for beauty and national treasures). He was a naturalist and writer and camped with TR in CA's Yosemite National Park 1903. He persuaded TR to set aside 148 million acres of forest reserves. 1.5 million acres of water-power sites and another 80 million acres of land that experts would explore for mineral and water resources. TR est. more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries and several national parks.
Carrie Chapman Catt
Susan B. Anthony's successor as pres. of NAWSA. She served 1900-1904 and again in 1915. Her five tactics were 1) Painstaking organization 2) Close ties between local state and national workers 3) Establish a wide base of support 4) cautious lobbying 5) gracious ladylike behavior.
Alice Paul
With Lucy Burns formed a radical organization, the Congressional Union, and its successor, the National Woman's Party. They pressured the fed gov't to pass a suffrage amendment and by 1917 Paul organized her followers to mount a round-the-clock picket line around the White House.
What were the major common characteristics and main goals of the Progressive movement? Why is it hard to generalize this movement?
Protecting social welfare, promoting moral improvement, creating economic reform, and fostering efficiency. The areas of focus were to clean up the corruption of urban politics. To rein in corporate power. Progressive presidents work to increase presidential power over big business. (*Did not aim at revolutionary change). They sought gradual change through the existing system. There was a lot of experimentation/testing the limits. Common belief that human society is perfectible through collectivization (working together). Popular movements were prohibition (Carry Nation), settlement houses (Jane Addams), anti-child labor (Mother Jones/Florence Kelley). It is hard to generalize this movement because many people were fighting for many different things. It was a time of taking chances and letting your voice be heard.
How did the government change during the Progressive Era? Why were these changes important?
Political reform, introduction of the Australian "secret" ballot. Direct primaries for political candidates. Direct election of senators (17th amendment). Initiative, referendum and recall, people are more directly involved in political process - involvement from the "bosses". These changes were important because people had part of a say in the government (keeps people more involved).
Evaluate the successes and/or failures of each of the following interest groups to secure their rights during the Progressive Era: industrial workers, women, African Americans, conservationists, socialists.
In TR's tactic #1, a goal was to aid labor organizations and consumer groups in pressuring big business. The Anthracite Coal Miners Strike (1902) was the first time that the President (let alone federal gov't) sided with labor over the owners. This strategy is not as effective until FDR's presidency 30 yrs later. Women were successful during the Progressive era and got the 19th amendment to the Constitution ratified in August 1920. African Americans though were not so successful, none of the presidents at this time made any effort to help them advance in society. Wilson even won NAACP's support by promising to treat blacks equally and to speak out against lynching, but once he became president, he opposed fed antilynching leg. saying that these crimes fell under state jurisdiction and capital and federal offices became segregated again. For the conservationists, the Forest Reserve Act was put into use - 150 million acres of fed. land couldn't be sold, the Newlands Reclamation Act - $ from the sale of public land to be used for irrigation projects. National Conservation Commission was created. Labor organizations were aided, trusts were regulated and big businesses investigated.
Compare & contrast the progressive presidencies of Roosevelt, Taft & Wilson. What reforms did each pass and what was their record? How did each president view the role of the presidency and work to increase the power of the office?
Roosevelt - In TR's tactic #1, a goal was to aid labor organizations and consumer groups in pressuring big business. The Anthracite Coal Miners Strike (1902) was the first time that the President (let alone federal gov't) sided with labor over the owners. This strategy is not as effective until FDR's presidency 30 yrs later. Tactic 2: Fragmentation, try to restore a system of perfect competition where no one corporation can dominate an industry. Inherits the ineffective Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). Threatens anti-trust prosecution to force corporations to change. Broke up "bad trusts" and regulated "good trusts" ex. Northern Securities case. Tactic 3: Regulation (favorite and most effective). Continuous supervision of business by the government. Piecemeal reform to control behavior. Only agency that TR inherits is the Interstate Commerce Commission (weak). Proposes a new bureau to investigate big business - goal for fed. gov't to take over the granting of corporate characters. Elkins Act, Hepburn Act, Meat Inspection Act, Pure Food and Drug Act, 16th Amendment. Conservation of the West!
Taft - Continued Teddy's progressive agenda. Busted twice as many trusts as Roosevelt (90 trusts in 4 yrs). Established the Bureau of Mines. Added large tracts of lands in the Appalachians to the forest reserves. Set aside federal oil lands. Mann- Elkins Act (ICC can suspend railroad rates and oversee telephone, telegraph and cable companies. Progressive Republicans thought he was too cautious and too conservative on reform.
Wilson - Spoke directly to Congress in a special session. Need to lower tariff rates to bring consumer prices down. Passed the Underwood Tariff - 1st lowering of the tariff in 50 yrs. To make up for the lost gov't revenue, passed 16th amendment (graduated income tax). Rejected Republican proposal for a private national bank. Created the Federal Reserve System. Clayton Antitrust Act, Federal Trade Commission - regulating agency to take action against unfair business practices (excluding transportation and banks).
Why did the Republican Party split during the Taft administration? How did the split affect the Election of 1912?
Payne-Aldrich Tariff. Pinchot - Ballinger controversy - Ballinger (Secretary of the interior) opened up lands in Alaska for private development; Pinchot (forest service) criticized him and Taft fired Pinchot for insubordination. House speaker Joe Cannon (conservative Republican) had "dictatorial powers" that Taft did not try to limit. Midterm Elections - Taft openly supported conservative candidates for Congress in 1910 - progressivism was so popular that those candidates won. These events further divided/split the Republican parties into 2 distinct camps. The 1912 election then had 4 parties. Democratic, Socialist, Republican, and Progressive
Why did the Progressive Era come to an end?
WWI 1914; US involvement - 1917. Transition of national concerns from domestic to foreign. Progressives approached WWI with a "moralizing impulse". Wilson promoted American democracy and ideals beyond US borders. By end, tired of war deflates the moral reform spirit of the age.
Women's suffrage
Women organized their movements with local and state campaigns, involvement in referendums and convincing politicians to support their cause. The first states to grant women rights to vote were Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Utah because out west women played a pivotal role in the settlement of the West and deserved more recognition. British women were able to achieve suffrage with acts of militancy and civil disobedience. There was a lot of communication between the British and the American Suffragists. Suffragists were mostly white and middle class (arguments reflected class position. These movements mostly fought for privileged women to have the right to vote and sometimes they would even oppose (or ignore) suffrage for working-class and colonized women. WWI helped women in the US achieve suffrage because they contributed to the war effort and deserved recognition (also because they showed that they were patriotic). There was also a need for general peace within the state and it was thought that giving women rights would perpetuate rest throughout the society which was good for the country before going into war.