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Chapter 9: The Progressive Era

Terms in this set (78)

Uneducated laborers started efforts to reform workplace health and safety. The participation of educated women often strengthed existing reform groups and provided leadership for new ones. Because women were allowed to vote or run for office, women reformers made an effort to improve conditions at work and home. Their "social housekeeping" targeted workplace reform, housing reform, educational improvement, and food and drug laws.
In 1896, African-American women founded the National Association of Colored Women, or NACW, by merging two earlier organizations. Josephine Ruffin identified the mission of the African-American women's club movement as "the moral education of the race with which we are identified." The NACW managed nurseries, reading rooms, and kindergartens.
After the Seneca Falls convention of 1848, women split over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which granted equal rights including the right to vote to African American men but excluded women. Susan B. Anthony, a leading proponent of woman suffrage, the right to vote, said: "I would sooner cut off my right hand than ask the ballot for the black man and not for women." In 1869 Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had founded the National Women Suffrage Association (NWSA), which united with another group in 1890 to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association or NAWSA. Other prominent leaders included Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Woman suffrage faced constant opposition. The liquor industry feared that women would vote in support of prohibition, while the textile industry worried that women would vote for restrictions on child labor. Many men simply feared the changing role of women in society.
Theodore Roosevelt was not supposed to be president. In 1900, the young governor from NY was urged to run as McKinley's vice-president by the state's political bosses, who found Roosevelt impossible to control. The plot to nominate Roosevelt worked, taking him out of state office. However, as vice-president, Roosevelt stood a heartbeat away from becoming president. Indeed, President McKinley had served barely six months of his second term before he was assassinated, making Roosevelt the most powerful person in the government.
Theodore Roosevelt was born into a wealthy NY family in 1858. An asthma sufferer during his childhood, young Teddy drove himself to accomplish demanding physical feats. As a teenager, he mastered marksmanship and horseback riding. At Harvard College, Roosevelt boxed and wrestled.
At an early age, the ambitious Roosevelt became a leader in NY politics. After serving three terms in the NY State Assembly, he became NYC's police commissioner and then assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy. The aspiring politician grabbed national attention, advocating war against Spain in 1898. His volunteer cavalry brigade, the Rough Riders, won public acclaim for its role in the battle at San Juan Hill in Cuba. Roosevelt returned a hero and was soon elected governor of NY and then later won the vice-presidency.
He hated Robber Barrons, spent most of his time alone, reading, favorite(=history, gov't, politics), wrote 30 books, and was naturalist, his mother and wife died at the same house on the same day(nervous breakdown): left to Dakota nature heated him determined we should protect nature, set "modern presidency": presidents speak out, white out(=Bully pulpit, stand up in front of press/speech), president(1901-1908, Wilson NJ governor)
Under Governor Woodrow Wilson's leadership, the previously conservative NJ legislature had passed a host of reform measures. Now, as the Democratic presidential nominee, Wilson endorsed a progressive platform called the New Freedom. It demanded even stronger antitrust legislation, banking reform, and reduced tariffs.
The split between Taft and Roosevelt, former Republican allies, turned nasty during the fall campaign. Taft labeled Roosevelt a "dangerous egotist," while Roosevelt branded Taft a "fathead" with the brain of a "guinea pig." Wilson distanced himself, quietly gloating, "Don't interfere when your enemy is destroying himself."
The election offered voters several choices: Wilson's New Freedom, Taft's conservatism, Roosevelt's progressivism, or the Socialist Party policies of Eugene V. Debs. Both Roosevelt and Wilson supported a stronger government role in economic affairs but differed over strategies. Roosevelt supported government action to supervise big business but did not oppose all business monopolies, while Debs called for an end to capitalism. Wilson supported small business and free-market competition and characterized all business monopolies as evil. In a speech, Wilson explained why he felt that all business monopolies were a threat.
Although Wilson captured only 42% of the popular vote, he won an overwhelming electoral victory and a Democratic majority in Congress. As a third-party candidate, Roosevelt defeated Taft in both popular and electoral votes. But reform claimed the real victory, with more than 75 percent of the vote going to the reform candidates--Wilson, Roosevelt, and Debs. In victory, Wilson could claim a mandate to break trusts and to expand the gov't's role in a social reform.
Despite Wilson's economic political reforms, he disappointed Progressives who favored social reform. In particular, on racial matters, Wilson appeased conservative Southern Democratic voters but disappointed his Northern white and black supporters. He placed segregationists in charge of federal agencies, thereby expanding racial segregation in the federal government, the military, and Washington D.C.
Like Roosevelt and Taft, Wilson retreated on civil rights once in office. During the presidential campaign of 1912, he won the support of the NAACP's black intellectuals and white liberals by promising to treat black equally and to speak out against lynching(execute illegally).
As president, however, Wilson opposed the federal anti-lynching legislation, arguing that these crimes fell under state jurisdiction. In addition, the Capitol and the federal offices in Washington D.C., which had been desegregated during Reconstruction, resumed the practice of segregation shortly after Wilson's election.
Wilson appointed to his cabinet fellow white Southerners who extended segregation. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, for example, proposed at a cabinet meeting to do away with common drinking fountains and towels in his department. According to an entry in Daniel's diary, President Wilson agreed because he had "made no promises in particular to negroes, except to do them justice." Segregated facilities, in the president's mind, were just.
African Americans and their liberal white supporters in the NAACP felt betrayed. Oswald Garrison Villard, a grandson of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, wrote to Wilson in dismay, "The colored men who voted and worked for you in the belief that their status as American citizens was safe in your hands are deeply cast down." Wilson's response--that he had acted "in the interest of the negroes" and "with the approval of some of the most influential negroes I know"--only widened the rift between the president and some of his former supporters.