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Title: Progressivism

  • Test Notes
  • See questions at the end of this presentation

1912 Progressive Party Platformhttp//
  • Definition What is Progressivism?
  • It is a label for a wide range of economic,
    political, social, and moral reforms. These
  • 1) efforts to outlaw the sale of alcohol
  • 2) regulate child labor and sweatshops
  • 3) scientifically manage natural resources
  • 4) ensure pure and wholesome water and milk
  • 5) Americanize immigrants or restrict
    immigration altogether
  • 6) and bust or regulate trusts.

1912 Progressive Party Platformhttp//
  • Drawing support from the urban, college-educated
    middle class, Progressive reformers sought to
    eliminate corruption in government, regulate
    business practices, address health hazards,
    improve working conditions, and give the public
    more direct control over government through
    direct primaries to nominate candidates for
    public office, direct election of Senators, the
    initiative, referendum, and recall, and women's

The Progressive era was interested in social
betterment. So Congress created the Dillingham
Commission, a body that had a great influence on
immigration law for half a century. The large
influx of immigrants made many feel the need to
regulate the open immigration policy and to
restrict immigration in order to encourage better
assimilation. Section 39 of the Immigration Act
of 1937 created a commission with nine members.
It directed it to make
  • full inquiry, examination , and investigation
    into the subject of immigration.
  • Then asked it to report to Congress its finding
    and recommendations.
  • Among its legacies were the literacy requirement
    and the quota system.

  • Source Zeidel, p.3.

Muckraking (1890-1914)http//
  • By 1906 the combined sales of the ten magazines
    that concentrated on investigative journalism
    reached a total circulation of 3 million readers.
    Writers and publishers associated with this
    investigative journalism movement between 1890
    and 1914 included Henry D. Lloyd, Nellie Bly,
    Jacob Riis, Frank Norris, Ida Tarbell, Charles E.
    Russell, Lincoln Steffens, David G. Phillips,
    C.P. Connolly, Benjamin Hampton, Upton Sinclair,
    Rheta C. Dorr, Thomas Lawson, Alfred Lewis, Ray
    Stannard Baker.

Initial Success of Progressive Writers
  • President Theodore Roosevelt took investigative
    journalism seriously and initiated legislation
    that helped solve some of the problems covered by
    these journalists. He persuaded Congress to pass
    reforms such as the Pure Food and Drugs Act
    (1906) and the Meat Inspection Act (1906).

Origin of the word Muckraker
  • When David Graham Phillips David began a series
    of articles in Cosmopolitan titled The Treason in
    the Senate in which he attacked some of
    Roosevelt's political allies, President Roosevelt
    responded with a speech where he compared the
    investigative journalist with the muckraker in
    Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress "the man who could
    look no way but downward with the muck-rake in
    his hands who would neither look up nor regard
    the crown he was offered, but continued to rake
    to himself the filth on the floor."

Muckraking journalists of the Progressive Era
  • By the beginning of the twentieth century,
  • muckraking journalists were calling attention
  • to
  • the exploitation of child labor,
  • corruption in city governments,
  • the horror of lynching,
  • and ruthless business practices.

At the local level,
  • Many Progressives sought to
  • suppress red-light districts,
  • expand high schools,
  • construct playgrounds,
  • and replace corrupt urban political machines with
    more efficient system of municipal government.

At the state level,
  • Progressives enacted
  • minimum wage laws for women workers,
  • instituted industrial accident insurance,
  • restricted child labor,
  • and improved factory regulation.

At the national level,
  • Congress passed laws establishing federal
    regulation of the meat-packing, drug, and
    railroad industries, and strengthened anti-trust
    laws. It also lowered the tariff, established
    federal control over the banking system, and
    enacted legislation to improve working
  • Four constitutional amendments were adopted
    during the Progressive era,
  • which authorized an income tax,
  • provided for the direct election of senators,
  • extended the vote to women,
  • and prohibited the manufacture and sale of
    alcoholic beverages.

In his book, The Era of the Muckrakers (1933), C.
C. Regier argued that it is possible to tabulate
the achievements of investigative journalism
during this period
  • "The list of reforms accomplished between 1900
    and 1915 is an impressive one.
  • The convict and peonage systems were destroyed in
    some states
  • prison reforms were undertaken
  • a federal pure food act was passed in 1906


C.C. Regier
  • child labor laws were adopted by many states a
    federal employers' liability act was passed in
    1906, and a second one in 1908, which was amended
    in 1910
  • forest reserves were set aside the Newlands Act
    of 1902 made reclamation of millions of acres of
    land possible a policy of the conservation of
    natural resources was followed


  • C.C. Regier
  • eight-hour laws for women were passed in some
  • race-track gambling was prohibited
  • twenty states passed mothers' pension acts
    between 1908 and 1913
  • twenty-five states had workmen's compensation
    laws in 1915
  • an income tax amendment was added to the

  • the Standard Oil and the Tobacco companies were
  • Niagara Falls was saved from the greed of
  • Alaska was saved from the Guggenheims and other
  • and better insurance laws and packing-house laws
    were placed on the statute books.

  • C. C. Regier

(No Transcript)
Sources of Progressive Reform
A. Industrialization, with all its increase in
productivity and the number of consumer goods,
created    1) Unemployment and labor unrest   
2) Wasteful use of natural resources    3)
Abuses of corporate powerB. Growing cities
magnified problems of poverty, disease, crime,
and corruption C. Influx of immigrants and rise
of new managerial class upset traditional class
alignments D. Massive depression (1893-1897)
convinced many that equal opportunity was out of
reach for many Americans.
Who Were the Progressives?
  • A. New middle class composed of young
    professionals    1. Sought to apply principles
    of professions (medicine, law, business,
    teaching) to problems of society
  •     2. Had strong faith in progress and the
    ability of educated people to overcome problems
  •     3. Fostered a rise in volunteer organizations
    organized to address issues (American Bar
    Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National
    Association for the Advancement of Colored
    People, National Municipal League, e.g.)
  •     4. They were mainly urban in residence and

B. Muckraking journalists attacked corruption
and scandal with a sense of moral outrage
  •     1. Lincoln Steffens exposed city machines in
    The Shame of the Cities (1904)
  •     2. Ida Tarbell exposed Standard Oil Trust
  •     3. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906)
    attacked the meat- packing industry

  • C. They were political reformers (many opposed
    to traditional party politics).
  • D. Socialists--frustrated workers who promised
    to destroy capitalism. Led by Eugene Debs (who
    polled 900,000 votes for president in 1912),
    socialists were rejected by most Progressives as
    too extreme in their goals and methods

III. Teddy Roosevelt the Square Deal
  • A. Using the power of the presidency (a "bully
    pulpit") as no president since Lincoln, T.R.
    loved to lead and to fight those he felt were not
    acting in America's best interests.    1. Coal
    Strike--When coal mine owners refused to deal
    with the union in a 1902 strike, T.R. summoned
    them and the head of the mine workers to the
    White House and threatened to use army troops to
    keep the mines open. Owners backed down and T.R.
    was credited with ending the strike

    2. Northern Securities Case--T.R. used the
Sherman Antitrust Act to attack a railroad
monopoly. Supreme Court ordered the company to
dissolve.     3. Added Departments of Labor and
Commerce to the Cabinet     4. Pushed through
the Hepburn Act (1906), strengthening the
Interstate Commerce Commission     5. Urged
Congressional approval of the Pure Food and Drug
Act (1906), which forbade impure foods and
required labeling of ingredients of foods and
B. Conservation reform
  • Conservation reform added massive areas to the
    national forests (total of 190 million acres)
  •     1. Transferred forests to the U.S. Forest
    Service headed by Gifford Pinchot, who insisted
    that trees be planted as well as harvested
  •     2. Withdrew millions of acres of public land
    from sale to protect resources
  •     3. Used public land sale revenues to build
    dams and canal systems

IV. City and State Government Reform
  • A. City government system changed to prevent boss
    or "machine" rule    1. City commissions
    replaced mayors and city councils in some areas
  •     2. City managers (nonpolitical professional
    managers) were hired to run small cities

State-level reform
  • B. State-level reform efforts championed by
    Robert La Follette of Wisconsin    1. Direct
    primary to give voters control over
    candidates    2. Competitive civil service and
    restrictions on lobbying    3. Many states
    passed workmen's compensation laws   

Election reforms
  • 4. Election reforms to bring direct democracy to
    voters        a) Initiative--allowed 5 of
    voters to "initiate" laws in state
    legislatures        b) Referendum--in some
    states voters could then pass initiatives into
    laws        c) Recall--by petition voters could
    force an official to stand for re-election at any

V. Major Progressivism Programs
  • A .Education    1. Progressive education--John
    Dewey led movement that focused on personal
    growth, not mastery of body of knowledge and
    learning through experience.    2. Charles Eliot
    of Harvard pioneered elective courses and new
    teaching techniques (such as seminars) to make
    university learning more meaningful

  •     3. Women began attending colleges in large
    numbers (by 1920, 47 of total enrollment was
    female).    4. Believing that more education
    would help bring an enlightened population,
    Progressives pushed enrollments to record levels
    (86 of children in schools by 1920) without
    seriously assessing how schools were doing.

  • B. Lawjudges opinions needed to be based on
    factual information, not just oral arguments and
  •     1. Muller V. Oregon (1908)--limited women's
    working hours
  •     2. Not all Progressive legal principles
    prevailed. In Lochner v. New York (1905), the
    Supreme Court overturned a New York law limiting
    bakers' working hours.

. Law
  • C. Settlement houses--Jane Addams and others
    established group homes in city slums to aid poor
    urban residents.    1. Promoted public health
    reform in cities, chlorinating water and
    tightening sanitary regulations
  •     2. Developed education and craft programs
    for residents
  •     3. Created neighborhood health clinics and

D. Racial anti-discrimination efforts
  •     1. Booker T. Washington argued for self-help
    and accommodation on the part of blacks to white
  •     2. W.E.B. DuBois (Niagara Movement--1905)
    urged blacks to assert themselves and agitate for
    political and economic rights. Formed NAACP
    (National Association for the Advancement of
    Colored People) to use legal means to end racial

Source NYT, 24 Feb, 2005
  • Ellen Swallow was the first woman admitted to
    M.I.T., though "as an experiment," in January
  • In June 1873, she became America's first female
    bachelor of chemistry.
  • Although she was the first to complete the
    course, in May 1875, M.I.T. rescinded the prize
    because the faculty did not want a woman to take
    M.I.T.'s first doctoral degree. This fact has
    been suppressed and denied for 130 years, laying
    a foundation for gender discrimination that has
    become a tradition at M.I.T., as well as at

E. Women's rights
  •     1. While the number of employed women stayed
    constant from 1900-1920 (20), the type of work
    switched from domestic labor (servants, cooks,
    laundresses) to clerical work (clerks, typists,
    bookkeepers), factory work, and professionals.
  •     2. Most women still held the lowest paying
  •     3. Significant Progressive feminists called
    for greater reform       

.Birth control, Voting
  • a) Charlotte Perkins Gilman attacked the male
    monopoly on opportunity and declared that
    domesticity was an obsolete value for American
  •         b) Margaret Sanger led the movement to
    provide birth control to prevent unwanted
    pregnancies among poor women
  •         c) Suffragists urged that women be given
    the franchise, which came on the national level
    with the 19th Amendment (1919).

F. Child labor laws-
  • -most states passed minimum working age laws and
    prohibited children from working more than 10
    hours per day, but enforcement was difficult to
  • G. Temperance--Anti-Saloon League and Women's
    Christian Temperance Union fought alcoholism on
    the state level through blue laws and on the
    national level with the 18th Amendment which
    prohibited the manufacture, sale, and
    transportation of liquor.

  • Investigative journalists objected to being
    described as muckrakers. They felt betrayed
    because they helped President Theodore Roosevelt
    get elected. Lincoln Steffens was furious with
    Roosevelt and the day after the speech told him
    "Well, you have put an end to all these
    journalistic investigations that have made you."
    After Roosevelt's speech these investigative
    journalists became known as muckrakers and that
    hurt their reputations. David Graham Phillips
    believed that Roosevelt's speech marked the end
    of the movement "The greatest single definite
    force against muckraking was President Roosevelt
    A tag like that running through the papers was
    an easy phrase of repeated attack upon what was
    in general a good journalistic movement."

Test questions
  • 1. Define progressivism
  • 2. What does progressivism include?
  • (list six items). Be very specific.
  • 3. Where did progressives draw their support
  • 4. What did progressives seek to accomplish?

  • 5. What are the code words for Progressives?
  • Why did Progressives seek to limit immigration?
  • What is the name of the body Congress created to
    deal with immigration and other issues?
  • List two items considered to be the legacy of the
    Dillingham Commission.

  • 9. What is the origin of the word muckraker?
  • 10. What did President Roosevelt feel about
  • 11. Muckrakers tackled important issues in
    society, list those issues.
  • 12. When did muckraking flourish? (dates).

  • 13. List four sources of progressive reform
    (slide 18).
  • 14. Who were the progressives? (slides 19-21)