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US History - 17.1 - The Origins of Progressivism

USH 17.1


on 11 October 2013

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Transcript of US History - 17.1 - The Origins of Progressivism

Chapter 17
The Progressive Era

Section 1: Origins of Progressivism

Political, economic, and social change in late 19th-century America led to broad progressive reforms.
Four Goals of Progressivism
The reform efforts of the early 20th century formed the Progressive Movement which aimed to restore the economic opportunities and correct the injustices in American life.
Even though reformers never completely agreed on the problems or the solutions, each of their progressive efforts shared at least one of the following goals:
1. Protecting Social Welfare - to soften some of the harsh conditions of industrialization.

People Involved:
Florence Kelley - became an advocate for improving the lives of women and children.

Groups Involved:
The YMCA; the Salvation Army; many settlement houses.

a variety of public services; the Illinois Factory Act
2. Promoting Moral Improvement - other reformers felt that morality, not the workplace, held the key to improving the lives of poor people.

These reformers wanted immigrants and poor city dwellers to uplift themselves by improving their personal behavior.
Prohibition - the banning of alcoholic beverages to cure society's problems.

Members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) spearheaded the crusade for Prohibition.

Members advance their cause by entering saloons, singing, praying, and urging saloon keepers to stop selling alcohol.
3. Creating Economic Reforms - reformers who embraced socialism.

Labor leader Eugène V. Debs (not a court case) organized the American Socialist Party in 1901.

Muckrakers - journalist who wrote about the corrupt side of business and public life in mass circulation magazines during the 20th century.
4. Fostering Efficiency - many progressive leaders put their faith in experts and scientific principles to make society and the workplace more efficient. (Focused on research)

Scientific Management - studies to see just how quick each task could be performed.

Introduction of the assembly line caused a high worker turnover rate, often due to injuries by fatigue workers.
Cleaning Up Government
Reforming Local Government
Some obvious social problems in cities:
Political bosses rewarded supporters with jobs and kickbacks
Openly bought votes with bribes and favors
Natural disasters prompt reform of city governments
In 1900, a hurricane virtually demolished Galveston, Texas

Politicians on city council did such a poor job at rebuilding that Texas legislature appointed a commission to take over

The commission soon rebuilt Galveston

City adopted the commission idea as a form of government
A flood in Dayton, Ohio in 1913, led to the widespread adoption of the council-manager forn of government.

People elect a city council to make laws

City council appoints a manager, usually someone trained, to run the city's departments
Reform Mayors
Some mayor instituted reform without changing how government was organized.

Hazen Pingree, Detroit, concentrated on economic issues.
fairer tax structure
lowered fares for public transportation
rooted out corruption
Built schools, parks, and lighting plant
lowered gas rates
set up work relief for unemployed
Tom Johnson, Cleveland , believed that citizens should play a more active role in city government.
invited people to question city officials
appointed competent and honest people
reassessed property values to achieve a fairer tax structure
Reform at the State Level
Reform Governors - under the progressive Republican leadership of Robert M. La Follette

Wisconsin led the way in regulating big business. He made the railroad industry, a major target.
Protecting Workers
As the number of children workers rose dramatically, reformers worked to protect workers and to end child labor.
Businesses hired children because they performed unskilled jobs for lower wages and because children's small hands made them more adapt to handling small parts and tools.
Formed in 1904, the National Child Labor Committee, sent investigators to gather evidence of children working in harsh conditions. They then organized exhibitions with photographs and statistics to dramatize the children's plight.
The Keating-Owen Act in 1916 prohibited the transportation across state lines of goods produced with children labor.
Reforming Elections
Efforts to Limit Working Hours
The courts sometimes took more interest in the plight of workers than a child labor law.
Muller v. Oregon - 1908 ruling that a state could limit working hours of women
Louis D Brandeis, assisted by Florence Kelley & Josephine Goldmark, argued that poor working women were much more insecure than large corporations and required protection against powerful employer
Progressives also succeeded in winning workers' compensation to aid the families of workers who were hurt or killed on the job.
Initiative - a bill originated by the people rather than lawmakers -- on the ballot. Then voters, instead of the legislature, accepted or rejected the initiative by Referendum - a vote on the initiative.

Recall - enabled voters to remove public officials from elected positions by forcing them to face another election before the end of their term if enough voters asked for it.

By 1920, 20 states had adopted at least one of these procedures.
17th Amendment - 1913, direct election of senators.

Before this, each state's legislature chose its own US Senator.
Direct Election of Senators
Bunting v. Oregon - 1917- court upheld 10 hr. work day for men
Florence Kelley was a woman of great bravery and commitment to justice who inspired others to follow similar paths. Her long fight to ban child labor finally resulted in Congress passing the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.
The consequences of Kelley and Goldmark’s victory in Muller v. Oregon were long-lasting and broad-reaching. The ruling started an avalanche of different state laws that regulated labor in America. Many of her ideas were later incorporated into the New Deal program.
New Journalism: Muckraking

A new breed of investigative journalist began exposing the public to the plight of slum life.

Muckrakers published accounts of urban poverty, unsafe labor conditions, as well as corruption in government and business.

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle exposed the unsanitary conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking industry.

Muckraking mobilized national opinion.
LEARN ABOUT political, economic, and moral roots of progressivism
TO UNDERSTAND how progressive reforms changed modern America
Described as the urban counterpart to Populism

Important differences:
support among small businessmen, professionals, and middle-class urban reformers
disgruntled farmers
Some questions to keep in mind:
What were the political, social, and intellectual roots of progressive reform?

What tensions existed between social justice and social control?

What was the urban scene and the impact of new immigration?

How were the working class, women, and African Americans politically active?

How was progressivism manifested in national politics?
Taylorism (Fredrick Winslow Taylor)
Production efficiency methodology that breaks every action, job, or task into small and simple segments which can be easily analyzed and taught.
“Men are nicotine-soaked, beer-besmirched, whiskey-greased, red-eyed devils.”
“I want all hellions to quit puffing that hell fume in God's clean air.”
“I felt invincible. My strength was that of a giant. God was certainly standing by me. I smashed five saloons with rocks before I ever took a hatchet.”
Born in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1846 to a delusional mother (she believed she was Queen Victoria).

A very unpleasant woman
Obviously the "no lips that touch liquor" strategy did not work, so Carry Nation developed another...
Some memorable quotes from Carry:
The decade of the 1890s as filled with tensions and problems that cried out for resolution.

In the last section we discussed the exploitation of people and resources and suggested that if actions had not been taken to alleviate the more glaring injustices in American society, the nation might have been headed for rebellion.

· described as “the war between capital and labor” was filled with bloody violence and extensive property damage, a situation that continued well into the 20th century.
By 1900 America was a tinderbox.
· Cities were crowded with millions of poor laborers, working conditions were appalling.
· corruption darkened politics
· progressive movement was the nation’s response

Although the progressive reformers did not fix everything, little escaped their attention. Since the political powers were unwilling or unable to address the rapid economic and social changes brought about by the industrial revolution in America, the progressive movement grew outside government and eventually forced government to take stands and deal with the growing problems.
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