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1 The Progressive Reform Era: United States History Spring, 2015

2 What was the Progressive Era? The Progressive Era was a time of intense social, political, economic and moral reforms. Often, the goals overlapped Four basic beliefs Government should be more accountable to its citizens Government should curb the power and influence of the wealthy Government should be given expanded powers so that it could become more active in improving citizens lives Governments should be more efficient and less corrupt, so they could handle an expanded role

3 Upton Sinclair: The Jungle Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle about a Lithuanian immigrant who works in the meatpacking industry Novel was about the work immigrants did in the US Novel was taken to be a description of factory conditions Writers like Sinclair were called muckrakers Led to Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 Eventually led to Food and Drug Administration, 1930 (Dept. of Health and Human Services Other writers: Henry George, Edward Bellamy George Poverty and Progress, 1879 proposed a tax on landowners to cut back on speculation Bellamy Looking Backward, 1887 set in 2000, government has taken over companies with goal of meeting human needs

4 Progressive Organizations and Reformers Many Americans were inspired to take action by the writings of muckrakers Unions continued to fight for collective bargaining rights Socialism grew in popularity Socialist Party of America (1901) Wanted to end capitalist system, distribute wealth equally, have government own industries Women s groups: National Consumers League (1899) Investigated factory conditions, insisted on minimum wage Also pushed for right to vote

5 Florence Kelley and Mother Jones Since so many women and children worked in factories, women took a special interest in workplace reforms Florence Kelley investigated labour conditions in Chicago in 1893 Led to 1893 law in Illinois prohibiting child labour Earned a law degree to take legal action herself Mary Harris Jones ( Mother Jones ) organized unions for male and female workers Became national speaker of both unions and child labour laws Helped found International Workers of the World (IWW, 1905)

6 Mother Jones

7 Progressive Legislation During the Progressive Era, many labour leaders pushed for government regulation to protect workers rights and business competition Progressives believed government should increase its responsibility for its citizens Social welfare programs to ensure a minimum standard of living Unemployment benefits, social security system, accident/health insurance Reforms at municipal, or city level many settlement workers lived here Home rule allowed cities to escape power of political machines

8 Government reforms State level State-level reforms worked to give more power to voters and increase the role of government Four reforms: direct primary, referendum, initiative, recall Direct primary: voters choose who runs for office Referendum: citizens can approve or reject a law passed Initiative: citizens can put a law on the ballot Recall: citizens can remove officials before an election Robert LaFollette, Wisconsin governor: ousted party bosses Also had academic experts help draft legislation

9 Government reforms Federal level Federal Progressive-era reforms resulted in four (!) new amendments, plus several new laws to protect health and the environment President Theodore Roosevelt s Square Deal TR struck a deal with striking mine workers Believed government should regulate businesses Broke up or forced reorganisation of many businesses Interstate Commerce Commission now regulated railroads Pure Food and Drug Act, Meat Inspection Act (both 1906) Instituted Department of Labor (1913), set aside land for national parks

10 Government reforms Federal level, Part II: Amendments Federal Progressive-era reforms resulted in four (!) new amendments, plus several new laws to protect health and the environment 16th Amendment, 1913: Congress can levy an income tax 17th Amendment, 1913: Direct election of senators 18th Amendment, 1919: Prohibition 19th Amendment, 1920: Women s suffrage

11 Progressivism under William Howard Taft William Howard Taft won the 1908 election; Woodrow Wilson served Taft alienated Progressives early in his administration Payne-Aldrich Tariff upset Progressives Ballinger-Pinchot affair: Secretary of Interior vs. head of US Forest Service Turmoil in Republican Party led to Progressive control in Congress in 1910 TR returned to run in 1912 on Bull Moose Party ticket, but lost New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson won Taft went on to serve as Supreme Court Chief Justice

12 Progressivism under Woodrow Wilson William Howard Taft won the 1908 election; Woodrow Wilson served Wilson reduced tariffs and attacked trusts Clayton Antitrust Act spelled out specific activities businesses could not do Federal Trade Commission set up to enforce antitrust legislation Federal Reserve Act passed, giving government control of banking system Appointed Louis Brandeis to Supreme Court

13 The Progressive Era Winds Down Although Wilson won the 1916 election, the limits of the Progressive Era became apparent, and the United States soon found itself on the doorstep of World War I What did the Progressive Era fail to accomplish? Tenant and migrant farmers sharecropping still persisted in South Many farmers were still poor Progressivism had not dovetailed with farmers' alliances Nonunion workers Social justice segregation persisted in federal offices Also: race relations worsened widespread lynchings in South One significant reform remained, however

14 Women s Suffrage At Last As women pushed for the right to vote, opposition came from many groups in society. Would voting destabilize American society and government? Was it even necessary? The reformers: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony First demanded right to vote at Seneca Falls Convention in ; Anthony arrested for protesting for right to vote Two strategies: Constitutional amendment vs. state-by-state Amendment first introduced 1868, debated on-and-off until 1913 National American Women s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) New generation: Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt Paul called for an aggressive campaign

15 Women s Suffrage At Last, continued As women pushed for the right to vote, opposition came from many groups in society. Would voting destabilize American society and government? Was it even necessary? Alice Paul and the Congressional Union (CU) Paul called for an aggressive suffrage campaign Protested in front of White House, was arrested Catt and NAWSA Victory: NY granted women suffrage in 1917 Women's involvement in World War I helped change perception of suffrage debate Suffrage granted with 19th Amendment, ratified 1920

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