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Political Reform and the Progressive Era


Objectives: Describe reforms designed to end corruption in big business. Explain the contributions of Presidents T. Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Reform and the Progressive Era

Political Reform and the Progressive Era
  • Objectives
  • Describe reforms designed to end corruption in
    big business.
  • Explain the contributions of Presidents T.
    Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson.
  • Expound upon the gains of the Womens Movement.
  • Illustrate the struggles of various ethnic groups
    in the United States.

Taming the Spoils System
  • Spoils System the practice of rewarding
  • supporters with government jobs
  • (Ex. Ambassadorships)
  • This happened at both the federal and state
  • As soon as a new executive (president or
    governor) was elected, a whole new set of
    advisors and government employees would be hired.
  • This results in what is known as a fat
  • Some have connected the assassination of
    President Garfield with this practice.

Founding of the Civil Service
  • The Pendleton Act which stated that the Federal
    government would base employment offers on the
    existence of skills necessary to successfully
    fulfill the duties of a position.
  • This was accomplished through a series of exams
    and interviews.
  • Passed on January 16, 1883 under President
    Chester Arthur. Authored by Senator George
    Pendleton, a Democrat from Ohio.

Controlling Big Business
  • The Interstate Commerce Act (1887) founded the
    Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
  • This was the first Federal regulatory commission.
  • The original purpose was to regulate the movement
    of goods around the country by railroad, but it
    eventually was extended to the trucking industry
    as well.
  • The Commission was allowed to set standard rates
    for any commercial good that had to travel across
    state lines to be delivered.
  • Examples shipping services, agricultural goods,
  • telephone services, oil, timber, etc.

Controlling Big Business
  • The Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted on July 2,
  • The Act provides
  • Every contract, combination in the form of
    trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint
    of trade or commerce among the several States, or
    with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal".
    The Act also provides "Every person who shall
    monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine
    or conspire with any other person or persons, to
    monopolize any part of the trade or commerce
    among the several States, or with foreign
    nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony.

Controlling Big Business
  • Many judges sided with big business making the
    Sherman Antitrust Act more of a paper tiger
    than anything else.
  • The Act was successful in reigning in unions,
    however because the federal government could now
    order workers that produced necessary goods and
    services back to work.
  • This phrase was interpreted broadly to include
    almost any industry.

Whats a Progressive?
  • Progressives strongly opposed waste and
    corruption, seeking change in regard to worker's
    rights and protection of the ordinary citizen in
  • Initially the movement was successful at local
    level, and then it progressed to state and
    gradually national.
  • The Progressives pushed for social justice,
    general equality and public safety, but there
    were contradictions within the movement,
    especially regarding race.

Robert M. La Follette
  • Republican Senator from Wisconsin and a
    progressive reformer.
  • He ran for President of the United States as the
    nominee of his own Progressive Party in 1924,
    carrying Wisconsin and 17 of the national
    popular vote.
  • La Follette has been called arguably the most
    important and recognized leader of the opposition
    to the growing dominance of corporations over the

The Wisconsin Idea
  • La Follette championed numerous progressive
    reforms, including the first workers'
    compensation system, railroad rate reform, direct
    legislation, municipal home rule, open
    government, the minimum wage, non-partisan
    elections, the open primary system, direct
    election of U.S. Senators, women's suffrage, and
    progressive taxation.
  • Many of these issues were brought to forefront of
    national politics during his campaign for U.S.
  • Muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens began
    covering his campaign and attempted to spread
    vicious rumors about La Follette.
  • This only gave him a bigger platform upon which
    to discuss his ideas. His later presidential
    campaign would not have been possible without
    this publicity.

The Primary System
  • Prior to 1903 party leaders were the people
    responsible for choosing candidates.
  • Wisconsin developed a system in which people
    would vote to choose electors that would relay
    their choice for a particular candidate.
  • By 1917 all but 4 states followed suit.

Other Election Reforms
  • Some states gave their voters even more power by
    adding more ways for them to impact legislation.
  • Recall people may vote to remove an elected
    official after they have taken office
  • Referendum a proposed legislative act goes to
    the people for final approval, rather than to a
    vote in the legislature.
  • Initiative people sign a petition to propose a
    law and then it is either put on the ballot or
    sent to the legislature for ratification.

Passage of the 16th Amendment
  • The government was trying to find a way to
    finance the growth of infrastructure. Congress
    passed a federal income tax into law, but it was
    deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. So
    they wrote an amendment to change the
  • Ratified by Congress on February 3, 1913, this
    Amendment allows the Federal Government to levy
    an income tax. The money collected may be
    distributed however the legislature sees fit and
    does not need to be spent proportionally.
  • The courts later interpreted the Sixteenth
    Amendment to allow a direct tax on "wages,
    salaries, commissions, etc. without

Passage of the 17th Amendment
  • It was ratified on April 8, 1913 and was first
    put into effect for the election of 1914.
  • It amends Article I, Section 3 of the
    Constitution to provide for the direct election
    of Senators by the people of a state rather than
    their election or appointment by a state
  • It also allows the governor of each state, if
    authorized by that state's legislature, to
    appoint a senator in the event of an opening,
    until an election occurs.

  • The term muckraker most associated with a group
    of American investigative reporters, novelists
    and critics from the late 1800s to early 1900s,
    who investigated and exposed societal issues such
    as conditions in slums and prisons, sweatshops,
    mines and unsanitary conditions in food
    processing plants.
  • Muckrakers were often accused of being socialists
    or communists.
  • In the early 1900s, muckrakers shed light on such
    issues by writing books and articles for popular
    magazines and newspapers such as Cosmopolitan,
    The Independent, and McClure's.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt is credited with
    originating the term 'muckraker.' During a speech
    in 1906 he likened the muckrakers to the Man with
    the Muckrake, a character in John Bunyan's
    Pilgrim's Progress (1678).

Theodore Roosevelt
  • Was born in 1831 to a wealthy merchant family. He
    was the second of five children.
  • His younger brother Elliot is the father of
    Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • His father had supported Abraham Lincoln his
    mother was a former southern belle with two
    brothers who were officers in the Confederate
  • As a child he was severely asthmatic, but was
    also said to be hyperactive and mischievous.
  • Because of his illness he was home schooled. He
    did very well but was horrible at math.
  • In 1876 he graduated from Harvard and then went
    on to Columbia Law School.

Theodore Roosevelt
  • When offered a chance to run for New York
    Assemblyman in 1881, he dropped out of law school
    to pursue his new goal of entering public life.
  • He became good friends with fellow Progressive
    Henry Cabot Lodge (they will later become bitter
  • Later he would become head of the Civil Service
    Commission under both Benjamin Harrison and
    Grover Cleveland.
  • He was named Assistant Secretary of the Navy by
    William McKinley in 1897.
  • Later he would accept the post of Vice President
    after his success in the Spanish-American War.

The Assassination of McKinley
  • While greeting a crowd of supporters during the
    Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York
    President William McKinley was shot on September
    6, 1901.
  • Leon Frank Czolgosz waited in line with a pistol
    in his right hand concealed by a handkerchief. At
    407 P.M. Czolgosz fired twice at the president.
  • The first bullet grazed the president's shoulder.
    The second, however, went through McKinley's
    stomach, colon, and kidney, and finally lodged in
    the muscles of his back.
  • At 215 A.M. on September 14, 1901, eight days
    after he was shot, he died from gangrene
    surrounding his wounds. His last words were "It
    is God's way His will be done, not ours. and he
    was buried in Canton, Ohio.
  • This left Roosevelt at 42 as the youngest
    President in American history up until this
  • Czolgosz was later found guilty of murder, and
    was executed by electric chair at Auburn Prison
    on October 29, 1901.

TR and Big Business
  • His 20,000-word address to the Congress in
    December 1901, asked Congress to curb the power
    of trusts "within reasonable limits." They did
    not act but Roosevelt did, issuing 44 lawsuits
    against major corporations he was called the
  • The first suit he brought (on behalf of the
    federal government) was against the Northern
    Securities Company in 1902.
  • This large railroad trust had been formed earlier
    that year by E. H. Harriman, James J. Hill, J.P.
    Morgan, J. D. Rockefeller, and their associates.
  • The company controlled the Northern Pacific
    Railway, Great Northern Railway, Chicago,
    Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and other
    associated lines through a merger.
  • After vigorous federal prosecution, the company
    was dissolved according to the 1904 Supreme Court
    ruling in the Northern Securities case, five to
  • The companies were convicted under the Sherman
    Antitrust Act, overturning the previous decision
    of United States v. E. C. Knight Co.
  • In that case, the Court ruled that the Sherman
    Antitrust Act was insufficient in regulating that

TR Organized Labor
  • In 1902 the United Mine Workers of America went
    on strike in Pennsylvania.
  • Resulting in a shut down of anthracite mines for
    163 days.
  • To avoid a national emergency Roosevelt called
    the mine owners and the labor leaders to the
    White House and negotiated a compromise.
  • The miners were granted a 10 pay increase and a
    9-hour day (from the previous 10 hours), but the
    union was not officially recognized and the price
    of coal went up to offset the cost of the pay
  • In later comments, Roosevelt acknowledged the
    noble intent of labor unions and suggested the
    courts were biased against them.

TR and Consumers
  • Upton Sinclairs novel The Jungle shocked and
    sickened readers with its description of a meat
    packaging plant
  • Led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act in

The meat would be shoveled into carts, and the
man who did the shoveling would not trouble to
lift out a rat even when he saw onethere were
things that went into the sausage in comparison
with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was
no place for the men to wash their hands before
they ate their dinner, and so they made a
practice of washing them in the water that was to
be ladled into the sausage. There were the
butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of
corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the
waste of the plants, that would be dumped into
old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under
the system of rigid economy which the packers
enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid
to do once in a long time, and among these was
the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every
spring they did it and in the barrels would be
dirt and rust and old nails and stale waterand
cartload after cartload of it would be taken up
and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and
sent out to the publics breakfast.
Upton Sinclair
TR and Consumers (2)
  • Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry, Dr. Harvey
    Wiley discovered the unhealthy ingredients people
    were taking as medicine
  • Congress passes Pure Food and Drug Act
  • Law requires manufacturers to list all
    ingredients on a label

TR and Conservation
  • TR made conservation a matter of public policy
  • TR wanted to protect environment from lumber and
    mining companies
  • TR was a great outdoorsman loved to fish and
    hunt and appreciated beauty of the land
  • With TRs help, Congress creates U.S. Forest
    Service and sets aside land to be used as a
    national park
  • First national park Yellowstone National Park

William Howard Taft
  • TR decided not to run for president in 1908.
  • TR chose Taft to be his successor Taft was
    Secretary of War
  • Taft was governor of Philippines did a very
    good job
  • Problem Taft was not as energetic or as liberal
    as TR

Taft The Good and the Bad
  • Good
  • Broke up more trusts than TR
  • Created agency to control child labor
  • Gave government workers 8-hour work day
  • Bad
  • Tariff increase (Payne-Aldrich Tariff)
  • Gave conserved lands to business for development

Uncle Joe Cannon
Nelson Aldrich
Sereno Payne
Gifford Pinchot
  • He was a progressive who strongly believed in the
    efficiency movement.
  • The most economically efficient use of natural
    resources was his goal.
  • Pinchot developed a plan by which the forests
    could be developed by private interests, under
    set terms, in exchange for a fee.
  • Pinchot made the standards at the Forestry
    Service very high and quickly set off to
    professionalize the forestry industry.
  • He was fired from the Forestry Service by Howard
    Taft for speaking out against policies of the
    Department of the Interior that were
    environmentally unsound

Governor Pinchot
  • Governor William Sproul appointed him
    Pennsylvania State Commissioner of Forestry in
  • Pinchot's aim, however, was to become governor.
    His 1922 campaign for the office concentrated on
    popular reforms government economy, enforcement
    of Prohibition and regulation of public
    utilities. He won and became Pennsylvanias 29th
  • Pinchot retired at the end of his term in 1927.
    But won a second term in 1930, battling for
    regulation of public utilities, relief for the
    unemployed, and construction of paved roads to
    "get the farmers out of the mud."
  • This was the achievement he was most proud of.

Election of 1912
  • Roosevelt endorsed William Howard Taft as the
    Republican candidate in 1908 because he claimed
    to be a genuine "progressive.
  • In that election Taft easily defeated three-time
    candidate William Jennings Bryan.
  • Many claim that the Progressive movement lost
    steam under Taft because he was not as
    charismatic a leader as Roosevelt. This lead many
    to leave the party to support the newly liberal
  • In 1910, Roosevelt and Taft broke off their
    friendship. Roosevelt lost the Republican
    nomination to Taft and ran in the 1912 election
    on his own one-time Bull Moose ticket.
  • He beat Taft in the popular vote.
  • This split caused Democrat Woodrow Wilson to
    pull ahead because neither could gain enough
    electoral votes to win.

Wilson and New Freedom
  • Wilson continued the work begun by Roosevelt in
  • He spoke to Congress urging them to revive the
    free enterprise system and to wake up the
  • In 1914, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was
  • This agency investigates reports of fraud by
  • Later, Wilson signed the Clayton Antitrust Act
    which reiterated the legislative intent of the
    Sherman Act while limiting the use of that act to
    regulation of unions.

Library of Congress (111-SC-4984)
The Womens Movement
  • In July 1848 more than 300 men and women
    assembled in Seneca Falls, New York, for the
    nation's first women's rights convention.
  • On the first day, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    presented the organizers' Declaration of
    Sentiments and Resolutions (patterned after the
    Declaration of Independence).
  • The Seneca Falls declaration held that "all men
    and women" are created equal and are endowed with
    inalienable rights including life, liberty, and
    the pursuit of happiness.
  • The 12 resolutions of the Declaration of
    Sentiments called for the repeal of laws that
    enforced unequal treatment of women, the
    recognition of women as the equals of men, the
    granting of the right to vote, the right for
    women to speak in churches, and the equal
    participation of women with men in "the various
    trades, professions, and commerce."

  • Connections made at the convention eventually
    lead to the creation of the National Womens
    Suffrage Association.
  • Suffrage was granted in the new western states
    in the late 1800s mainly because of the low
    population and the need for registered voters for
    the rights of incorporation.
  • As the need for more income grew so too did the
    number of women in the workforce, nearly 5
    million by 1900.
  • This only added fuel to the suffrage fire because
    now women were subjected to direct taxation and
    were still not allowed to vote.
  • They therefore had TAXATION WITHOUT

Leaders of the Suffrage Movement
  • Susan B. Anthony arrested for illegal voting
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton one of the first women
    to become a lawyer
  • They were the first generation leaders of the
    National Womens Suffrage Association (NWSA)

Next Generation of Womans Suffrage Leaders
  • Carrie Chapman Catt strategy to win state by
    state approval met with leaders in Washington
    many times
  • Alice Paul grass roots support through protest
    and civil disobedience

New Opportunities for Women
  • Prior to the emergence of a solidified womens
    movement, the entrance of women into certain
    professions was limited.
  • While women could study to become professionals,
    many states refused to license them.
  • Around the same time, womens organizations which
    had once been only social in nature (The
    Daughters of the American Revolution, The
    Womens Auxiliary, etc.) began to take on
    political stances.

Womens Clubs
  • Women joined clubs to read books and share ideas
  • Clubs raised money for libraries, schools and
  • African American women formed own clubs to battle
    against segregation
  • Florence Kelley investigates sweatshop
    conditions and organized boycotts of goods
    produced by factories that employed children

  • In 1874 a group of women, lead by Frances
    Willard, formed the Womens Christian Temperance
    Union (WCTU).
  • They held meetings with officials which revealed
    the evils of alcohol. According to this group
    alcohol was a direct CAUSE of each of the
    following societal ills
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse
  • Unemployment
  • Murder
  • Theft
  • Vagrancy
  • After hearing this convincing argument, and being
    pressured by their constituents, Congress passed
    the 18th Amendment.

The 18th Amendment
  • The "Volstead Act," was passed by Congress over
    President Wilson's veto on October 28, 1918 and
    established the legal definition of intoxicating
    liquor and established the prohibition of alcohol
    in the United States.
  • Section 1. the manufacture, sale, or
    transportation of intoxicating liquors within,
    the importation thereof into, or the exportation
    thereof from the United States for beverage
    purposes is hereby prohibited.
  • It is the only amendment to the United States
    Constitution to ever be repealed (by the
    Twenty-first Amendment).

Carrie Nation
  • Carrie Nation led a radical response to sale of
  • First marriage ended because her husband became
  • She was generous to needy and poor visited
    prisoners in jail
  • Came to public attention when she used bricks and
    hatchets to close down bars in Kansas
  • Her actions led to several beatings and jail time
  • She collapsed during a lecture on the evils of
    alcohol and died several months later
  • She was also a supporter of womens suffrage

Unexpected Consequence
  • The passage of the 18th Amendment did little to
    stop the flow of alcohol
  • Made alcohol more attractive (fun doing bad
  • Speakeasies Hidden bars in cities operating
    against the law
  • Bootleggers - those who smuggled alcohol across
    state lines
  • Organized Crime large scale criminal operations
  • Al Capone famous gangster who made millions off
    of illegal booze jailed for tax evasion
  • FBI in charge of enforcing prohibition

FBI agent Elliot Ness
Challenges Facing African Americans
  • Jim Crow laws allowed for an increased period of
    discrimination against African Americans to exist
    following the Civil War Amendments.
  • Discrimination in housing, lending, education and
    employment were particularly unfair in both the
    North and South.
  • Redlining, or the informal segregation of where
    certain groups are allowed to live, started in
    this period and some say that it still exists

Booker T. Washington
  • Became most prominent African American of his
  • Taught himself to read
  • Founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
  • Wanted blacks to learn a trade and move up
    gradually (economic power social equality)
  • View popular among white leaders

Tuskegee Institute today
W.E.B. Du Bois
  • First African American to receive PhD from
    Harvard University
  • Criticized Washingtons approach to equality
  • Believed blacks had to fight for their rights in
    the courts
  • In 1909, helped found the NAACP an organization
    to help blacks obtain equal rights in the courts

Other Famous African Americans
  • George Washington Carver made great strides in
    the field of genetics. His successful cross
    breeding of peanut plants in the South saved the
    industry from ruin.
  • Sarah Walker created a line of hair care products
    for African American women and became the first
    American woman to earn more than 1 million.
  • Ida B. Wells was a civil rights advocate and an
    early women's rights advocate active in the Woman
    Suffrage Movement. She lead the crusade to have
    the practice of lynching outlawed. ,

Challenges Facing Mexican Americans
  • In the Southwest Mexican migrant farmers had been
    crossing the border for work for decades.
  • It was not until around 1900 that things got so
    bad in Mexico that they were compelled to stay.
  • They were often paid very little and, like
    African Americans, were denied housing and
  • Many Mexican Americans settled in Texas and
    southern California.
  • The population of Los Angeles tripled between
    1910 and 1920 as a result.

Response by Mexican Americans
  • Sought to preserve language and culture
  • Barrios ethnic neighborhoods
  • Mutualistas mutual aid societies
  • Paid for insurance
  • Paid for legal advice
  • Raised money for sick and needy

Challenges Facing Asian Americans
  • Following the passage of the Chinese Exclusion
    Act of 1882 many West Coast companies started to
    recruit workers from other Asian countries like
    Japan and the Philippines.
  • They too were forced to endure discrimination in
    housing, lending and education.
  • Many in the western states did not dissociate
    these new immigrants from the Chinese who had
    taken their jobs on the railroad and they
    engaged in anti-Asian protests.

Gentlemens Agreement
  • In 1906, San Francisco forced Asian children to
    attend separate schools from whites
  • Japan protested the move and created an
    international crisis
  • Unions pressured TR to limit Japanese immigration
  • Gentlemens Agreement reached in 1907
  • Japan would stop sending workers to U.S.
  • U.S. stop the segregated schools

Religious Minorities
  • As the number of immigrants from southern and
    eastern Europe increased, so too did the number
    of Roman Catholics in the United States.
  • Groups like the Anti-Catholic American Protective
    Association lobbied Congress for quotas on
    Catholic immigrants.
  • People of the Jewish faith faced stereotypes of
    being greedy and untrustworthy.
  • Many formed small communities within larger
    cities so they could provide for themselves and
    not have to be degraded by other prejudiced
    business owners.
  • Examples Little Italy, Greenwich Village, etc.

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