Former Mugwumps (reform-minded Republicans of the late-19th century) desired a return to pre-monopoly America.
1. Men of wealth and social standing lamented the changes in America's political and social climate due to the rise of industrialists: monopoly, plutocracy and oligarchy.
a. Protestant/Victorian ideals of hard work and morality leading to success were now threatened by the "nouveau riche," the super wealthy who seemed to thrive on conspicuous consumption
b. Earlier Mugwump leaders of local communities were now eclipsed by political machines catering to big business and immigrants
2. 1884, Mugwumps were Republican reformers who bolted from the party to support Democrat Grover Cleveland in the 1884 election.
B. The emerging middle class sympathized with Mugwump views and wanted a return to equality of opportunity and moral reform (seen by some historians today as a "3rd great awakening")
1. Consisted of political reformers, intellectuals, women, journalists, Social Gospelites, and professionals.
2. They felt unrepresented, while industrialists and immigrants wereprotected by bribery, labor unions, or political machines.
A. Robert La Follette and the "Wisconsin Experiment"
1. As governor of Wisconsin, he was the nation's first progressive
a. In 1901 he helped destroy a political machine in his state, take control away from the lumber & railroad trusts and establish a progressive gov't.
b. Worked closely with experts on the faculty of the state university at Madison including Richard Ely.
c. Regulated public utilities by instituting public utilities commissions that created legislation for workers' safety, railroads and regulation of public utilities.
d. Direct primary: In 1903, La Follette pressured the legislature to institute an election open to all voters within a party.
e. Introduced the initiative, referendum, and recall
• Initiative: allowed citizens to introduce a bill
• Referendum: voters cast ballots for or against proposed laws.
• Recall: gave citizens right to remove elected officials from office.
f. Direct election of Senators (a favorite goal of progressives)
• Enacted to counter senate corruption and control by trusts
• The people could now vote for their senator; before, the state legislature had selected state senators
• In 1913, approved as the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
g. Adopted a state income tax; first state to do so.
h. Replaced the existing spoils system with state civil service
2. Other states followed Wisconsin's lead
a. Republican governor of California, Hiram Johnson, broke the grip of the Southern Pacific Railroads on California.
• Like La Follette, set up a political machine of his own.
b. Charles Evans Hughes, Republican governor of NY, earlier gained fame as an investigator of malpractice by gas and insurance companies and by the coal trust.
c. Gov. Woodrow Wilson turned New Jersey into one of the nation's most liberal states.
3. La Follette became the first of the Republican "insurgents" to reach the Senate (where he stood against Republican "old guard" who favored laissez faire with gov't help).
B. Australian Ballot (secret ballot)
1. Introduced more widely in states to counteract machine politics.
2. Reduced bribery as voting was now done secretly and the machines were unable to effectively monitor voters.
3. Unfortunately, the secret ballot also eliminated illiterate voters as party workers could not help voters mark their ballots.
• Hundreds of thousands of black and white voters became disenfranchised.
C. Galveston, Texas and the Commission System
1. In 1900, a tidal wave devastated the city.
2. Commission system
a. The city placed power into the hands of 5 commissioners: 2 were elected and 3 were appointed
b. A full-time city manager was hired.
c. The commission system peaked in 1915 (later replaced by city manager system.)
c. Within 20 years, 400 cities adopted the commission system
d. Reduced the power of machine politics
• In some cases, these reforms valued efficiency more than democracy as civic control was further removed from the hands of the people.
• Businessmen often dominated the commissions while the working class was not represented (due to the decline in political machines).
a. Created in 1903 to settle disputes between capital and labor. (10 years later, agency was split in two)
b. Bureau of Corporations was created (as part of the Dept. of Commerce & Labor)
• Authorized to monitor businesses in interstate commerce.
• Helped break monopolies; paved the way for an era of "trust-busting."
3. 1902, Roosevelt attacked the Northern Securities Company
a. The holding company owned by J. P. Morgan & James G. Hill had achieved a monopoly of railroads in the northwest.
b. The Supreme Court upheld Roosevelt's antitrust suit to dissolve it in 1904.
c. Roosevelt was now seen by the public as a "trustbuster"
• 1905, the Court declared the beef trust as illegal; sugar, fertilizer, and harvester trusts also came to be regulated by anti-trust legislation.
• TR later went after Du Pont, Standard Oil, and the American Tobacco Co.
4. Elkins Act (1903)
a. Aimed primarily at reducing the abuse of rebates used by the railroads.
b. Heavy fines could now be imposed on both railroads and shippers for abusing rebates.
5. Hepburn Act (1906) (More effective than the Elkins Act)
a. Expanded the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission (which had been created in 1887)
• Severely restricted railroad's giving of free passes (bribery)
• ICC could nullify existing rates and stipulate maximum rates if necessary.
b. Stipulated that there were "good trusts" and "bad trusts" (which were seen as greedy).
• "Bad Trusts" should be prosecuted but good trusts were healthy for the economy.
6. Roosevelt as a "trustbuster"
a. His reputation was inflated as TR exaggerated his anti-trust activities to gain political popularity.
• His actions were more symbolic to prove gov't, not private business, was in control.
• The threat of dissolution might make business more open to government regulation.
b. TR did not consider wholesale trust-busting economically sound policy.
• He realized that combination and integration was common practice in the business world
• He felt big business not necessarily bad; why punish success?
c. In essence, TR believed in regulating, not fragmenting trusts.
d. In reality, trusts were healthier at the end of TR's presidency than before.
• Perhaps, more tame due to regulation.
e. President Taft later busted up more trusts than TR did
• TR even gave his blessing in 1907 for J. P. Morgan's plan to have US Steel absorb the Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. without fear of antitrust reprisals.
• When Taft launched suit against Morgan's U.S. Steel Corporation in 1911, Roosevelt was furious
1. Overshadowed Taft's conservation successes.
2. Secretary of the Interior Ballinger opened public lands in Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska to development—but he did not share Gifford Pinchot's desire to reduce mining.
3. Ballinger was sharply criticized by Pinchot, chief of Agriculture Department's Division of Forestry and a strong TR supporter.
4. Taft dismissed Pinchot for insubordination.
5. Storm of protest arose from conservationists and Roosevelt's friends and a congressional committee exonerated Pinchot
6. The issue contributed to a growing split between Taft and TR.
C. Split in the Republican party became complete when Taft deserted progressives in their attack on "Old Guard" Speaker of the House, "Uncle Joe" Cannon.
D. Roosevelt's "New Nationalism", 1910
1. Roosevelt had been out of country during 1909 and much of 1910 but tariff and conservation issues galvanized him to become more active.
2. Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas (1910)
a. Introduced the "New Nationalism" doctrine which shocked "Old Guard" Republicans.
b. Urged the federal gov't to increase its power to remedy economic and social abuses.
c. Ideas included regulation of large corporations, tariff reform, graduated income and inheritance taxes; currency reform; sale of public lands only in small parcels to true settlers; labor reforms; strict accounting of campaign funds; and initiative, referendum & recall.
d. "The object of government is the welfare of the people. The material progress and prosperity of a nation are desirable
chiefly so far as they lead to the moral and material welfare of all good citizens."
3. Marked new era in politics where "Old Guard" Republican were now on the defensive.
E. Republicans lost badly in the congressional elections of 1910.
• For the first time in the 20th century, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives.
F. 1911, Taft pressed an anti-trust suit against U.S. Steel Corp.
• TR was infuriated as he had been involved in helping J. P. Morgan acquire the Tennessee Coal and Oil Co. in 1907.
1. The convention enthusiastically nominated Theodore Roosevelt
2. Party consisted largely of cultured, middle-class people: journalists, social workers, settlement house workers, young lawyers.
3. "New Nationalism": Sought continued consolidation of trusts and labor unions, paralleled by growth of powerful regulatory agencies in Washington; more efficient government
a. Became the quintessential Progressive platform: set the liberal agenda for the next 50 years.
b. As with Wilson, TR favored an active gov't role in economic affairs but favored both trusts and regulation.
c. In contrast to Wilson, TR believed the government should play a larger role in human affairs
d. TR was influenced by Herbert Croly's The Promise of American Life (1910)
• The book advocated women's suffrage, a graduated income tax, lower tariffs, campaign spending limits, currency reform, minimum-wage laws, abolition of child labor, and workers' compensation.
4. TR was shot in the chest in Milwaukee before giving a campaign speech
• Other candidates suspended campaigning until TR recovered.
C. Republicans nominated Taft who did no campaigning; dominated by the "Old Guard"
. Seneca Falls, NY, 1848, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott (movement later joined by Susan B. Anthony):
beginning of women's suffrage movement
B. By the late-19th century, the women's movement had split into two factions:
1. National Women's Suffrage Association led by Stanton & Anthony forbade men in the organization.
2. American Women's Suffrage Association led by Lucy Stone welcomed men.
3. The organizations merged in 1893: National American Women's Suffrage Association.
C. Gains for women in the late-nineteenth century.
1. By 1890, women had partial suffrage in 19 states.
2. The western states of Wyoming and Utah were the first to grant suffrage beginning in 1869; numerous states followed suit
D. National American Woman Suffrage Association grew from 13,000 in 1893 to 75,000 in 1910 led by Carrie Chapman Catt.
1. Most effective leader of the new generation of women suffrage proponents.
2. Deemphasized argument that women deserved the vote as a matter of right because they were in all respects the equals of
3. Stressed the desirability of suffrage so women could continue to discharge their traditional duties as homemakers and mothers in the increasingly public world of the city (e.g. boards of public health, police commissions, & school boards).
• As a result, more states passed prohibition laws
4. "Winning Plan" emphasized lobbying Congress, effective meetings & parades.
a. Publicized women's contributions to the war effort which
President Wilson used in urging Congress to approve suffrage.
-- Initially, he did not support female suffrage but Catt's efforts as well as those of Alice Paul forced his hand.
b. With prohibition imminent as a result of WWI, liquor lobby eased its opposition to female suffrage.
E. Alice Paul's Congressional Union used militant tactics to gain attention
1. Picketed the White House in 1916 and underwent hunger strikes.
2. Led the most militant women out of the NAWSA to form the Congressional Union.
3. Put forth Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) after 1920
a. The proposed amendment would have given women absolute equality with men
b. The amendment was readopted in 1960s and passed by Congress in 1972 but eventually killed in 1982 when three-
fourths of states did not ratify)
F. 19th Amendment passed in 1920 granting women full suffrage.
• Bill was put forth in the House by Jeannette Rankin: the first woman in Congress.
XVII. African Americans made few gains during the Progressive era
A. President Roosevelt was criticized by southerners for allowing Booker T. Washington to dine in the White House.
• TR never again publicly supported blacks.
B. The Great African-American migration northward during World War I resulted in violence
1. By 1920, 2 million blacks lived in the North (out of 11 million)
• Hoped to escape the poverty and discrimination of the South.
2. Race riots broke out, due largely to blacks moving into neighborhoods in predominantly white northern cities
• Chicago Race Riot of 1919 lasted 5 days as black workers and returning WWI veterans clashed; 23 blacks & 15 whites dead; 520 seriously injured; over 1,000 left homeless; federal troops called in.
C. Large numbers of lynchings continued between 1890 and 1920
1. Ida B. Wells-Barnett
a. Influential leader of the antilynching movement
b. Due in part to her efforts, a 25% decrease in lynchings occurred after 1892, the peak year for lynchings..
c. She helped found the NAACP.
1. W.E.B. Du Bois opposed Booker T. Washington's accommodation policies and demanded immediate social and
economic equality for blacks; was raised in Massachusetts in contrast with Booker T. Washington, an ex-slave from the South.
a. Called Washington an "Uncle Tom" for condemning blacks to manual labor and perpetual inferiority.
b. His opposition to Washington led to the formation of the Niagara Movement (1905-1909)
• Demanded immediate end to segregation and discrimination in labor unions, courts, and public accommodations.
• Demanded equality of economic & educational opportunity.
c. Du Bois demanded that the "talented tenth" of the black community be given full and immediate access to the
mainstream of American life.
• It would work to lift the entire African American community
2. NAACP formed (National Association for the Advancement of
a. After the Springfield Race Riots in 1909, a group of white progressives including Jane Addams, John Dewey, William
Dean Howells, and editor Oswald Garrison Villard formed the NAACP in 1910.
• W. E. B. Du Bois became the director of publicity and research, and editor of the NAACP, Crisis
b. NAACP adopted many of the goals of the Niagara movement
c. By 1914, the organization had 50 branches and 6,000 members.
d. By the 1930s it was a predominantly black organization
3. Activism of Washington, Du Bois and others led to some advances.
a. Black illiteracy rate was cut in half between 1900 and 1910.
b. Black ownership of land increased 10%.
E. Wilson and African Americans
1. He had white-supremacist tendencies from his upbringing in Virginia (his wife had even stronger tendencies)
a. His two-volume history of the U.S. is now notorious for its racist view of Reconstruction.
b. Wilson greatly admired D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation (who based some historical material on Wilson's two-volume history); the movie gloried the Ku Klux Klan
c. Congress would not pass several pieces of legislation that Wilson proposed to limit civil rights for African Americans.
2. Wilson presided over accelerated segregation in the federal bureaucracy
• African Americans remained segregated in the federal gov't until the 1960s.
3. African Americans were effectively left out of the Democratic party until the 1930s.
• Wilson appointed southern whites to offices traditionally reserved for blacks.