Lecture 8: The Progressive Era, 1901-1917

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Writing, Journalism
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The Progressive Era, 1901-1917

The Progressive Movement: Definition and Character  Goals

– Political - Revitalize American Democracy • Make government responsive to people not special interests or bosses

– Economic - Restore equity and opportunity to American capitalism – Social - Provide social justice to the poor  Progressive Philosophy – Did not believe in radical change (socialism) – But wanted fair competition and worker regulation  Operated on all levels of government  Included both democrats and republicans.

Composition  Middle Class White Americans  Farmers and Small Businessmen

 Social Reformers  Professors & Lawyers  Not included: Racial Minorities, new

immigrants, Labor Unions

Middle Class White Americans  Wanted to restore honesty and integrity to

government – They wanted to end corruption at all levels. • Elimination of political machines • Institute civil service reforms

– End special interest lobbyist in legislative bodies

Farmers and Small Business  People who wanted to use the government to

regulate the abuses of corporations and trusts – Wanted trusts eliminated – Wanted government controlled railroads rates and banks – Currency reform

 Had some success – but not enforced – Republicans embraced laissez-faire economics – Interstate Commerce Act – Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Social Reformers  Government should alleviate social

problems – Slums and tenements

 Unsafe working conditions & child labor  Treatment of new immigrants  Some small scale success – Jane Addams (Hull House – Chicago)

Included Professors, Lawyers and Social Gospel Advocates  The industrial revolution brought on the need for

corporate lawyers – Law was once a respected profession – Paid well to defend the interests of their company – Lawyers felt they were losing there identity

 Intellectuals – Use University professors to make the society more efficient – Wealthy men – donate to Universities • in return - donor had expectations for curriculum

– Many intellectuals were concerned about this

What Really Got Progressivism Moving?  Teddy Roosevelt’s Assumption of the

Presidency in 1901 – William McKinley is assassinated in Sept. 1901 – Youngest president at 43 years old – Gradually provided a national focus on Progressivism

 Rise of the ‘ Muckrakers”

Muckrakers  “Investigative journalism”  Sensationalized Exposes on corporation corruption – Raised awareness  Magazines – McClure’s, Cosmopolitan  Ida Tarbell (1902) does and expose in McClure’s on Standard Oil – Illegal Monopoly  Novels – The Octopus by Frank Norris – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair – How the Other Half Lives - Jacob Riis  The Muckrakers formula is… – Uncover a scandal – Attack it using facts to back up arguments – Has a tremendous impact on readers

Achievements of Progressivism  Many political machines are overthrown – The Shame of the Cities – Lincoln Steffens – said political machines serve their own interests and that of corporations, not the people – Thomas Nast  Leader of Progressive reform is Wisconsin 1900-01 – Robert

LaFollette – Reduce gov’t corruption: Institutes the referendum, recall, primaries – Corrupt political practices acts passed – controls on campaign spending and lobbying – The universities must aid the state economists - come up with an effective tax system, highway system. – Child Labor Laws (one of the first states) – Building codes & controlled hours

Thomas Nast & Harper’s Weekly

Amendments to the Constitution  The 16th Amendment – 1913 – Constitutional for the government to impose a personal income tax.

 The 17th Amendment – 1913 – Senators must be directly elected in a popular election.

 The 18th Amendment – Jan 1919 – Prohibition – Illegal to buy, sell or distribute hard spirits in the US.

 The 19th Amendment – 1920 – Prohibited states from denying women the right to vote. • Women did vote in certain states prior to this (In NJ in the late 1700s for a short time. • Also, some western states allowed women to vote)

Contradictions of Progressivism  Generally oppose political and social equality for racial minorities and

recent immigrants  Many Progressives Oppose Women’s Suffrage – Woodrow Wilson was one of these guys. He felt it was a state, not a national issue.  Many Progressives Oppose National Labor Unions – Concerned about the plight of the working man, but at the same time opposed unions – Fear of Marxism – union leadership advocated changes that were too radical – Fear of radical uprisings  Many Progressives Support Tighter Immigration Restrictions

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