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The Gilded Age vs. The Progressive Era

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Olivia Williams

on 5 May 2015

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Transcript of The Gilded Age vs. The Progressive Era

The Gilded Age vs. The Progressive Era
Theodore Roosevelt and Progressivism
Federal Reforms to Regulate Trust
The Progressive Era allowed the United States to develop greater on a social, political, and constitutional level, while the Gilded Age increased the economy. Problems created by industrialization were solved during the Progressive Era, under Theodore Roosevelt. Groups of people, such as African Americans and women, took large steps towards achieving equality. Today, there are remnants of the Progressive Era in government laws. It is debatable to question that if the Progressive Era never occurred, the United States today would remain a segregated, industrial powerhouse, that was globally recognized but failed to recognized African Americans or women as citizens in their own country.
Supreme Court Cases
Plessy v. Ferguson
Dawes Act
Urban Poor
Square Deal
Whether social, economic, political, or constitutional, The Gilded Age and Progressive Era both offered major developments in the United States that continue to have long-term ramifications.
The Gilded Age, from 1870-1900, offered the United States massive growth in industrialization and economic wealth. Prosperity in the Gilded Age was limited to a certain group of people; wealthy white man. While immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, and women were suppressed under harsh and unsafe working conditions, and unjust wages.
The Progressive Era, from the 1890s-1920s, provided growth socially and maximized the welfare
for the common worker. President Theodore Roosevelt attempted to distribute the concentration of wealth and abolish industrial monopolies. Numerous movements to support equality between citizens led to job opportunities and work safety for all groups of people.

Although the Gilded Age and Progressive Era developed the nation in two different ways, both offered social, political, economic, and constitutional implications.

Movements targeting the rights of women began in the Gilded Age and were pursued into the Progressive Era. Throughout this time, women challenged the barriers that excluded them from political participation, and fought against the working conditions they were
to. In the Gilded Age, the idea of 'maternal commonwealth' was established, where women took values from home and integrated them into the workplace. Figures such as Jane Addams founded settlement houses, meant to support poor immigrants. Jane Addams was considered the founder of a new profession — social work. By this time, it was more common for a women to receive a college education, where they worked in nursing and education.

Equal Rights during the Gilded Age
- Even after the Civil War, African Americans in the United States experienced severe racial discrimination and inequality
- In 1986, the supreme court ruled a Louisiana law segregating train cars based on the doctrine of “separate but equal”

- A number of Progressive era reforms supported the effort of African Americans to combat racism and achieve equality
- Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois (founder of the Niagara Movement and the NAACP) were major African American supporters and emerged to fight for the African American movement in the Progressive Era
- Great Migration: black people moved from rural South to Northern cities
- Migration was a way for the black people to express that they would not stand for Southern social rules

African Americans and the Progressive Movement
- This act parceled reserve lands into small family holdings while opening roughly 240,000 square kilometers of Indian treaty land to white settlement
- A way for the U.S. to ignore the problem facing the inequality of Native Americans
- Government believed they were doing Natives a favor by giving them land that was originally Native American before colonization
- Native Americans were being oppressed during the Gilded Age, forced to abandoned their way of life

- When Theodore Roosevelt emerged as President, he attempted to correct mistakes made during the Gilded Age
- Right after being elected, Roosevelt declared that he would enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act, which made trusts illegal
- Roosevelt also believed he should be fair when deciding labor disputes (not just agreeing with employers, voice for employees)
- Attacked monopolies to restore competition to the marketplace

- Richest 1% of the population held 45% of the national wealth
- The Concentration of Wealth established in the Gilded Age left millions of people with limited income and poor living conditions
- The economy at this time was based on the idea of "Survival of the Fittest" where poverty was explained because the poor did not have the adequate skills to become rich
- Fair wages and safe working conditions only began to surface when Roosevelt became president

- The Gilded Age was full of mistreatment of groups of people, the Progressive Era attempted reforms to end this mistreatment, which began with Supreme Court rulings
- The Supreme Court during the Progressive Era held court cases that determined the need for new laws
- Court cases emerged that dealt with the mistreatment of workers and the monopoly of corporations
- Laws were developed to limit working hours, protect worker safety, end child labor, and others
- These developments helped to limit the concentration of wealth and offer every citizen equal working opportunities

Similarities cont.
In the Progressive Era, woman sought to contribute to the effort in aiding with social problems created by industrialization. Female social workers then created spaces for themselves in government in a local and national level, even before they had the right to vote.

Similarly, both the Gilded Age and Progressive Era attempted to deal with corruption in government. The Pendleton Act of the Gilded Age took three steps to wipe out patronage and other forms of corruption, including discouraging nepotism.

During the Progressive Era, political reforms helped eliminated government corruption. Referendums were created, giving voters the right to petition to have government official stand for re-election at any time, which added to the power citizens of the United States had in government.

- "Roosevelt's program, which he called the Square Deal, attempted to confront the problems caused by economic consolidation by distinguishing between "good" and "bad" corporations."

The Sherman Antitrust Act
was passed in 1890, which declared "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 countries" to be illegal
- First attempt by US government to protect consumers from monopolies
- Sided with the general public against corporate interests
- High Tariffs and Populist Influence
- Believed that tariffs on foreign goods produced economic growth, high profits, and increased wages
- Tariffs benefited big businesses but harmed farmers, factory workers, and owners of small businesses
- Tariffs reached their highest ever

- The Sherman Antitrust act was first enforced in the Progressive Era (even though it was created during the Gilded Age), under Roosevelt
- In 1908, tariffs were significantly lowered, helping farmers, factory workers, and owners of small businesses
The Progressive Era was more transformational for the United States than the Gilded Age because of the steps to equality established for African Americans and women, the development for the common worker in regulating hours and ensuring fair wages, and the elimination of monopolies to distribute the concentration of wealth.
Monopolies vs. Labor Workers
Olivia Williams on May 5, 2015
"All that progressives ask or desire," wrote Woodrow Wilson, "is permission -- in an era when development, evolution, is a scientific word -- to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine."

West, Thomas G. "The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics." The Heritage Foundation. Heritage Foundation, 18 July 2007. Web. 04 May 2015.
Social Analysis
Plessy v. Ferguson demonstrated the biased supreme court opinion and corrupt government. The court ruling echoed the Dredd Scott affair, which demonstrates the lack of change in equal and just authority in the U.S. supreme court even after the Civil War. After this ruling, it was evident African Americans had little chance of sharing the prosperity of the Gilded Age. This ruling halted and diminished all previous steps taken towards equality after the Civil War, transforming the nation backwards while the government in the The Progressive Era sought to achieve equality for black people. These movements continued to abolish inequality in the U.S. for decades to come. While several attempts to limit mistreatment of black people emerged before the Progressive Era, it was really this time period that sparked a new understanding from all citizens about the situation. These developments helped to transform the United States socially in to a more integrated and nondiscriminatory place
Similar to African Americans, Natives were continuously mistreated during the Gilded Age. Solutions to problems created during the Gilded Age only began with the Progressive Movement, but the mistreatment of Natives continued for years and slowed down the transformation of the U.S. While the Dawes Act further oppressed Native Americans, the Progressive Era offered immigrants and other groups of people fair wages and working conditions. When the Supreme Court gave citizens an opportunity to be heard, social equality was continuing to be established. The government system today, which incorporates citizen decisions, can be attributed to some of the political reforms that occurred during this time.
Constitutional Analysis
In the Gilded Age, the government was focused solely on industrialization, forgetting about rights of citizens. When Theodore Roosevelt became President, he dealt with rights of workers and became a voice for employees. The reforms and laws passed during Progressive Era helped to correct the problems caused by massive industrialization in the Gilded Age. Governor Robert M. LaFollette of Wisconsin championed these reforms, and their implementation in his state became the model to transform the rest of the country . The democratic government today has many aspects created during the Progressive Era, such as the right for citizens to remove elected officials from office through petition and vote.
Economic Analysis
All the laws passed were either unenforced, or supported wealth factory owners. Bad corporations were made by greedy people interested in making money (Roosevelt believed they had no right to exist). The Progressive Era enforced helpful laws and abolished unfair laws created during the Gilded Age. Antitrust laws are still implemented in the U.S. today, and can be attributed to the Sherman Antitrust Act being enforced during the Progressive Era.
Political Analysis
Carter, Patrick. "Gilded Age & Progressive Era." American History. Toronto, Ont.: Emond Montgomery Publications, 2008. N. pag. Print.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.
Lears, T. Jackson. "The Gilded Age." The Gilded Age. Gilder Lehrman Institute of America, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.
Mintz, S., and S. McNeil. "Digital History." Digital History. Digital History, 2013. Web. 04 May 2015.
Unknown. "New Attitudes Toward Wealth." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.
West, Thomas G. "The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics." The Heritage Foundation. Heritage Foundation, 18 July 2007. Web. 04 May 2015.
Pix For Immigration Gilded Age Political Cartoon. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://pixgood.com/immigration-gilded-age-political-cartoon.html

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