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Chapter 29: The Progressive Era

The Course of Progressivism was the widespread effort after 1900 to reform society Reform: The Progressive Believed that anything was possible if the facts were known, and greatly trusted academics and experts Mind: Scientific management, as established by Frederick W. Taylor, sought to eliminate waste and inefficiency in human activity Resisted ideologies that discouraged action, such as Social Darwinism Opposed laissez-faire economics because believed the strong would overpower the weak without regulation and unions Wanted legal rights to be based in social reality, not eternal principle (legal realism) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Opposed the 1905 Supreme Court case Lochner v. New York in which a state law restricting the working hours of bakers was defeated because violated the liberty of contract of the bakers and their employers William James advocated the philosophy of pragmatism in which ideas are judged by their consequences, and whose purpose was to solve problems, not contemplate ultimate ends Sources of Progressive Idealism Progressives were idealistic in thought and tough-minded in action 1879 Henry Georges Progress and Poverty said that the cause of widespread American poverty in the midst of wealth was private control of land by landlords, and proposed that a single land tax be enacted 1888 Edward Bellamys Looking Backward envisioned a future of affluence and order under socialism 1894 Henry Demarest Lloyds Wealth Against Commonwealth criticized the Standard Oil Company Many progressives had gone through socialism on the way to progressivism (the Socialist Party was led by Eugene V. Debs) Protestants, ex. Walter Rauschenbush, preached the Social Gospel in which churches should strive for social justice, as God had willed 1890s, new magazines, ex. Colliers and McClures arose that found an audience for lively, fact-filled reporting and exposs of problems in society October 1902 Lincoln Steffens article Tweed Days in St. Louis talked of the corrupt relationship of business and political machines; started the trend of writing about social problems; Ida M. Tarbell, David Graham Phillips, and William Hard exposed problems in the Standard Oil Company, the Senate, and industrial accidents and child labor Roosevelt criticized these journalists and called them muckrakers The muckrakers work succeeded in persuading the public to act For a while now, women had been the main humanitarian workers But 1890 Josephine Shaw Lowell declared that it would be better to prevent neediness than to treat it, so founded the New York Consumers League to improve female store clerks wages and conditions by circulating a white list of participating shops 1899 the New York League became the National Consumers League and became a powerful lobby for legislation to protect women and children 1908 Supreme Court case Muller v. Oregon, lawyer Louis D. Brandeis defended an Oregon law limiting womens workdays to 10 hours by citing data on the health toll of long work hours; would be the first of many protective laws

The Muckrakers

Women Progressives:

The progressivists made the welfare system maternalist; laws included 1911 Illinois welfare provided to mothers, 1912 MA minimum female wage, more effective child labor laws, and 1912 and 1920 Childrens and Womens bureaus established in the Labor Department Settlement Houses 1889 Chicago Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr established Hull House, the first settlement house Settlement houses not only helped the slum dwellers by providing a community centers and education, but also helped educated women by giving them an option for occupation other than ornamental wife or spinster Such activists as Addams and Florence Kelley argued that women who are capable of running settlement homes or lobbying bills should be given the right to vote Working-class women became interested in suffrage because they were encouraged by other progressivists to help themselves 1903 the National Womens Trade Union League was founded, financed, and led by wealthy supporters that organized womans workers, helped them strike, and trained working-class leaders, ex. New York garment worker Rose Schneiderman and Illinois glove worker Agnes Nestor 1916 Alice Paul founded the National Womans Party that sought to use confrontational tactics (such as those used in Britain at the time) to pressure for a constitutional amendment to grant suffrage to all US women in one fell swoop 1915 Carrie Chapman Catt took over the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and organized a broad campaign for a constitutional amendment The first generation of feminists, ex. Marie Jenny Howe and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, were college-educated and self-supporting, and desired freedom for full personal development Wanted suffrage because considered themselves equal to men Feminists were more radical and socially progressive, ex. NYC nurse Margaret Sanger who raised awareness about birth control and opened the first American birth control clinic despite police opposition and public disapproval Older female social reformers wanted protective legislature for women because women were the weaker sex, but the younger feminists opposed such legislature in favor of gender equality

Revival of the Suffrage Movement

The Birth of Feminism

Reforming Politics: La Follete: Political Reformer

Republican La Follette started out as a conventional Congressman, but 1891 a Republican boss tried to bribe him to fix a judge in a railroad case So La Follette began advocating political reform and a restoration of American democratic ideals 1900 became governor of Wisconsin with a platform of higher taxes for corporations, more strict industry regulation, and political reform 1903 in Wisconsin enacted new system in which the people, not the bosses, chose party candidates in order to allow for reform; La Follette himself was a talented campaigner Other successful progressive politicians had a similar rise to power, ex. Albert B. Cummings of Iowa, Harold URen of Oregon, and Hiram Johnson of California The progressives wanted initiative (the ability for citizens to have issues voted upon) and recall (the ability for citizens to remove officeholders); but well-financed interests still had power because initiative and recall campaigns required money

Municipal Reform

Many city-dwellers, esp. businessmen and manufacturers, demanded more efficient government Some reformed by gaining power and attacking the corrupt patronage system The precedent of running cities like businesses was set by 1901 a hurricane in Galveston, Texas prompted business leaders to replace the mayor and board of aldermen with a nonpartisan five-member commission, and Dayton, OH was run by an elected commission and an appointed manager 1910s California governor Hiram Johnson supported political reform, railroad control, and social and labor legislation; started out as the middle class's candidate, then became the champion of the working class Urban liberalism was the new variety of progressivism that had spread to the working class March 1911, 150 workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire because the doors of the factory had been locked In response, Tammany Hall members Robert F. Wagner and Alfred E. Smith established the New York State Factory Commission that enacted dozens laws regarding working conditions, hours, and wages The changing nature of Tammany Hall and other political machines was caused by: The Hall's realization that social problems were so big that they had to be handled by the state, not by informal political machines A new breed of middle-class progressives, ex. Toledo, OH Mayor Brand Whitlock, attacked political corruption The Socialist Party was gaining power, ex. 1910 first socialist congressman Victor Berger 1900s nativism revived among Protestants as another form of progressivism: The Anti-Saloon League advocated prohibition because liquor caused dirty politics, poverty, and bad labor conditions Many, including academics, believed that America's Anglo-Saxon population would be contaminated by the immigration of inferior Mediterranean and Slavic peoples The Immigration Restriction League sought to enact immigration restriction Urban liberals, mostly Democrats and Catholics, opposed prohibition and immigration restriction, so received most of the votes of the city-dwelling immigrants, so the Republican party began to lose power At first, organized labor did not adopt urban liberalism, ex. Gompers of the AFL said that workers should not seek from the government what they could accomplish themselves, because: 1908 in the Supreme Court case Danbury Hatters, the Court declared that the Hatters' Union's boycott of the antiunion D. E. Loewe and Company was a conspiracy under the Sherman Act, and awarded triple damages to the Company Judges often granted injunctions (court orders) prohibiting unions from continuing to strike or boycott, as a temporary measure to prevent damage to an employer In response, 1906 the AFL wrote the Bill of Grievances that demanded that Congress grant unions immunity from antitrust suits and injunctions, but Congress refused So organized labor became more politically active and more progressive, and tended to align

Urban Liberalism

Cultural Pluralism Embattled

Organized Labor

with the Democratic Party Toward Social Insurance Workplaces were extremely hazardous, and liability rules heavily favored employer, and American working conditions were much worse than those in Europe, so first American workers and then organized labor demanded better compensation; 1910s all industrial states enacted insurance laws for workplace accidents However, health insurance and unemployment compensation, already in place in Europe, were not on the agenda; only old-age pensions were seriously considered, but were rejected because already had a lax pension system for Civil War veterans, and people feared stateinduced dependency La Follette had his direct primaries, but in the South, they were white primaries in which no black could vote

Racism and Reform:

White 1902 Professor John W. Burgess opposed the Fifteenth Amendment because blacks had less Supremacy in political capacity than whites the Progressive President Taft supported white primaries because they prevented ignorant blacks from Vein gaining power, and because believed the federal government should not deal with social equality 1900s many blacks migrated from the South to the North, so northern white resentment, ex. the 1908 Springfield, IL race riot and 1915 D. W. Griffith's film Birth of a Nation that depicted the chivalrous KKK and the rampaging blacks in a moral struggle in Reconstruction Wilson's Democratic administration nearly segregated the civil service by race The Civil Black Boston Guardian editor William Monroe Trotter and black Harvard graduate W. E. B. Rights Struggle Du Bois opposed Booker T. Washington's method of social change through compromise Revived 1906 Trotter and Du Bois started the Niagara Movement that encouraged of black pride, demanded full political and civil equality, and denied the inferiority of the black race Some whites supported the black cause, ex. 1909 Mary White Ovington and other white progressives founded the Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) The Niagara Movement broke apart, and many Niagrists joined the NAACP, ex. Du Bois became editor of the NAACP journal The Crisis 1911 in the North, both whites and blacks, ex. William Lewis Bulkley, founded the National Urban League to help black migrants In the South, black women furthered social welfare in churches and schools and through the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (founded 1896), and had much support from white women because were not perceived as a threat to white supremacy Progressivism and Before 1910, when a progressive bloc had been formed in Congress, progressive issues did not reach the national level National Politics: The Making of a Roosevelt came from an upper-class family, graduated from Harvard, and was motivated by his high-minded, Christian upbringing Progressive 1898 became governor of New York; enacted civil service reform and a tax of corporate President franchises and discharged the corrupt superintendent of insurance despite Republican protest

(Theodore Roosevelt)

1900 the Republican party made him McKinley's vice president in order to rid Roosevelt of power, but September 1901 McKinley was assassinated by Leon F. Czolgosz, so Roosevelt became president Supported conservation of natural resources and wanted commercial development with the public interest in mind; supported the 1902 Newlands Reclamation Act that sent money from public land sales towards irrigation of arid regions, expanded the national forests, improved land management, and, against Republican opposition, prosecuted those who violated federal land laws 1902 settled a miner's strike by theatening government takeover of the mines, using J. P. Morgan's influence, and appointing an arbitration commission, because the coal operators refused to meet with the United Mine Workers (under John Mitchell), who wanted arbitration Roosevelt opposed big business and the threat they posed to competitive markets After the depression of the 1890s, rival companies were forming trusts that decreased competition and increased business concentration The 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act formally established the common-law right that anyone injured by monopoly or illegal restraint of trade could sue for damages 1903 Roosevelt established the Bureau of Corporations to investigate business practices and empower the Justice Department to mount antitrust suits, ex. 1904 the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Northwest Securities Company (made up of the Northwest railroad systems) In the 1904 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated Democrat Judge Alton B. Parker 1897 Supreme Court case the Trans-Missouri ruled that all actions that restrained or monopolized trade, regardless of public impact as was taken into account previously, were in violation of the Sherman Act So Roosevelt could no longer trust the courts to distinguish between good and bad trusts, so took on the power of deciding when to not prosecute a trust November 1904, the United States Steel Corporation was facing an antitrust suit, so its chairman Elbert H. Gary struck a gentleman's deal with Roosevelt in which the company would open itself up for investigation, and would be given a private warning and a second chance if evidence of wrongdoing was found; Roosevelt agreed because preserved his trustbusting image while accommodating the modern industrial order 1903 Roosevelt pushed the Elkins Act that prohibited discriminatory rail rates 1906 he got Congress to pass the Hepburn Railway Act that allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to set maximum shipping rates and standardize methods of recordkeeping, but as a concession to the Republicans the courts kept the power to review the ICC's decisions Consumer protection was stimulated by ex. muckraker Samuel Hopkins Adams's articles exposing the fraudulent practices of the patent-medicine business and 1906 Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle that depicted filthy conditions in meatpacking plants So 1906 Roosevelt ordered a federal investigation of the meat stockyards, and the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act were passed, and the Food and Drug Administration was established

Regulating the Marketplace:


Railroad Regulation

Consumer Protection

The Square Deal

The practice of naming a political program was new and was accompanied by dramatized issues, mobilized public opinion, and asserted leadership In his 1904 presidential campaign, Roosevelt called his program the Square Deal, in which the government would punish companies who abused their corporate powers Roosevelt felt that it was better for the federal government to regulate big business than to try to break it up The election of 1908: Democrat William Jennings Bryan was strongly progressive and brought the Democratic Party into mainstream progressivism Republican Taft was conservative, not progressive, distrusted power, and favored the process of law, and was secretary of war under Roosevelt; won the election

The Fracturing of Republican Progressivism:

Taft's Troubles The Republican Party was split into the conservatives under Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and the progressives under La Follette Progressives thought that protective tariffs helped cause the decline of competition, but Taft still approved the 1909 protectionist Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act In the Pinchot-Ballinger Affair, conservationist Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot accused Secretary of the Interior Richard A. Ballinger of planning to give public Alaskan land to a private syndicate, so Raft fired Pinchot, so the progressives considered Taft a friend of the special interests 1910 the progressive Republicans broke off to form the Progressives, or the Insurgents, after Speaker of the House and ally of Taft Uncle Joe Cannon lost power The Taft 1911 the Progressives formed the National Progressive Republican League to try to take over the Republican party with the help of Roosevelt Roosevelt Split But Roosevelt would not turn against his own party unless a true conflict of principles occurred But a conflict of principle did occur in the form of prosecuting trusts: Taft wanted to strictly follow the Sherman Act and let the courts decide which trusts were good or bad, while Roosevelt thought that decision should go to the president 1911 Supreme Court case Standard Oil reasserted that the courts would decide good or bad trusts Under Taft, a suit was made against the United States Steel Corporation, whose formation Roosevelt had approved because believed it necessary to prevent economic collapse, so Roosevelt felt that it was an attack on himself The New Nationalism Roosevelt came up with the New Nationalism in which the federal government oversaw industry and control property to protect the public welfare Roosevelt then went on to support federal child labor laws, regulation of labor relations, a federal minimum wage law for women, and the curbing of the courts powers, and possibly recall of court decisions 1912 Roosevelt ran for Republican presidential candidate and had the support of the Progressives, but still lost to Taft, so formed a new Progressive Party nicknamed the Bull Moose party

Woodrow Wilson By 1910 under Bryan, the Democrats had gotten over the silver dispute and had gained political power, including the House majority and the New


After 1910, the Democratic Party would come under the leadership of politically inexperienced Woodrow Wilson Wilson, like many progressive politicians, was certain of his morality and righteousness In response to Roosevelt's New Nationalism, Wilson's New Freedom wanted free enterprise and no welfare because did not want to be paternalistic, though agreed with Roosevelt that a strong federal government was needed to prevent abuse of economic power In the election of 1912, Wilson won because the Republicans had split into the Progressives (Roosevelt) and the conservatives (Taft), though he did not receive a majority vote

Forging the New Freedom

The First 1913 the Democrat-supported Underwood Tariff Act reduced average rages from 40% to 25% Phase: Tariff in order to increase competition and reduce prices for consumers Reform and the Strengthening the banking system and restraining Wall Street: Federal Reserve Before, central banks' purpose was to regulate and back up commercial banks This responsibility was assumed by the great New York banks, but 1907 the system nearly collapsed when the Knickerbocker Trust Company failed So it was clear that a publicly controlled central bank was needed, but Wall Street wanted a banker-run, unified system, while rural Democrats wanted decentralized reserve banks So 1913 Wilson passed the Federal Reserve Act that made twelve district reserve banks controlled by their member banks and regulated by the Federal Reserve Board Settling the Trust Question Wilsons advisor Louis D. Brandeis believed that trusts were wasteful and that their power should be curbed The 1914 Clayton Antitrust Act amended the Sherman Act and less flexibly defined illegal practices as those which substantially decreased competition or created monopoly 1914 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was created to back up the less definitive antitrust policy, despite Wilsons hesitation The new antitrust policy was a middle way between conservatism and radicalism The economic environment was much different in Europe, ex. no need for antitrust legislation in England, and trade-restraining cartels in Germany

Wilson's Social At first, Wilson was unresponsive to labor and farm demands Program But then numerous textile strikes, ex. 1912 Lawrence, MA, 1913 Paterson, NJ, and the deadly 1914 coal strike in Ludlow, CO So 1915 and 1916 supported laws for child labor, the Adamson 8-hour workday law for rail workers, the Seamens Act that ended abuses of sailors on ship, and the Federal Farm Loan Act that granted farmers the low-interest rural credit system they had been demanding Wilsons bureaucracy was always expanding