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Progressive Movement Overview

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  1. Progressive Movement Overview • Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century, the United States became a more industrialized and urbanized nation. • These changes brought many benefits to society, but they created problems as well.

  2. Progressive Movement Overview • In this unit, you will review how Americans responded to change, both at home and overseas, in the years from 1900 to 1920. • This period is called the Progressive Era. The term comes from the word "progress" and indicates that Americans were reacting to problems by working for reform.

  3. Reform in America • The process of industrialization and urbanization in the United States had both positive and negative effects. From the 1890s to 1920, a reform movement swept the nation as many people began focusing their energies on correcting those negative effects. • These reformers were known as Progressives, and their movement was so strong that this period has become known as the Progressive Era.

  4. Reform in America • Progressive reformers had a variety of motivations, used different methods, and had different degrees of success in achieving reform. • Progressives supported the use of government power to bring about reform. Two strong Progressive Presidents- Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson—implemented bold domestic programs to take Progressive reform to the national level.

  5. Progressive Reform • By 1900, the United States was a rich and powerful nation. • Industrialization, urbanization, and immigration had transformed the United States into a major world economy. • The changes in American life, however, also brought problems. • The negative effects of these changes led many Americans to call for reform.

  6. Effects of Business Practices • In technology-driven fields such as railroads, steel production, and electric utilities, powerful monopolies restricted competition, often by using unfair methods. • Without competition, monopolies could raise prices as much as they wished. • Abuse of the nation's natural resources, was accepted practice.

  7. Effects of Business Practices • The corporate world grew increasingly wealthy and more powerful. • Industrial leaders justified their actions by using the philosophy of Social Darwinism —the concept that in society as in nature, the strong would survive and the weak would not. • Those who succeeded earned their position, and those who failed deserved their failure. • Social Darwinists believed that the government should not intervene in this process.

  8. Industrial Workers • Working conditions for factory workers continued to be harsh. • Many laborers worked 60-hour weeks on machinery, often in unsafe, unhealthy conditions. • Getting hurt on the job often resulted in the worker being fired. Workers earned low wages, and women and children were paid even less than male workers. • Workers had little security, because their employers could fire them at any time.

  9. Industrial Workers • Soon, workers grew less tolerant of these terrible working conditions. • Some tried to organize labor unions, but employers often fired those who did. • Strikes were met with armed attacks from factory security guards and sometimes even federal troops.

  10. Urban Poor • The gap between living standards of the rich and the poor increased widely during this period. • This gap was most apparent in the cities. • As the rich grew richer, building lavish townhouses in relatively safe and clean neighborhoods, the poor grew even poorer. • They lived in urban slums characterized by poverty, crime, congestion, and poor sanitation. • Housing in the cities was segregated by social and economic status, by race, and often by ethnic background.

  11. Mixed Response of Government • Government at all levels remained relatively unresponsive to the impact of industrialization and urbanization. • Industries were unrestrained by federal and many state governments; the courts most often failed to support fair standards of business. • The laissez-faire philosophy prevailed, and so did political corruption at all levels of government. • The public received little help from its elected representatives.

  12. Mixed Response of Government • Several United States Supreme Court rulings provide examples of the mixed response of the federal government in the struggle for improved working conditions: • In Lochner v. New York (1905), the Supreme Court ruled that a New York law limiting bakers' hours was unconstitutional because it interfered with the contract between employer and employee.

  13. Mixed Response of Government • In Muller v. Oregon (1908), the Court let stand an Oregon law limiting women to a ten-hour work day, ruling that the law was justified because it protected women's health. • The effect of laws like this, however, was to keep women out of better paying jobs.

  14. The Progressives • The Progressives set out to tackle the problems of their era. They did not form one single group. • The Progressive movement was made up of many different movements, and the Progressives were many different kinds of Americans. • Their commitment and their success varied from person to person and from cause to cause.

  15. Characteristics • They did have some things in common, however. • The Progressives were influenced by the Populists but differed from them. • While the Populists lived in the country or in small towns, the Progressives were largely city dwellers. • Most of the Populists were farmers, who focused on farm problems.

  16. Characteristics • The Progressives tended to be educated professionals-doctors, lawyers, social workers, clergy, and teachers—with a wide range of concerns. • The Progressive movement demonstrated the rising power and influence of America's middle class.

  17. Beliefs and Goals • Like all reformers, the Progressives were optimists. They believed that abuses of power by government and business could be ended. • They believed that new developments in technology and science could be used to improve the basic institutions of American society—business, government, education, and family life.

  18. Beliefs and Goals • Progressives believed in capitalism and were concerned about the growth of socialism as a more radical reaction to the effects of industrialization. • Progressives wanted to bypass party politics, which they saw as corrupt, but they had faith that a strong government could and should correct abuses and protect rights.

  19. Beliefs and Goals • Not all Americans were Progressives or agreed with Progressive goals. • Many business and political leaders opposed business regulation.

  20. Beliefs and Goals • They accepted the Social Darwinists' view that the vast differences in wealth and power in American society were the result of scientific forces that could not be changed. • Many workers and farmers did not benefit from Progressive reform, nor did most African Americans, Asian immigrants, and Native Americans.

  21. Factors Aiding the Movement • Many Progressives worked with national voluntary organizations, which grew rapidly in the 1890s. • The movement was centered in cities at a time when more of the population was living in cities. • This helped communication among Progressives, as did the expanding telephone and telegraph systems. • The availability of inexpensive mass-circulation magazines and newspapers also helped spread Progressive ideas.

  22. Factors Aiding the Movement • Finally, the Progressives were aided by an improved economy. • The first decade of the twentieth century brought prosperity. • Industrial profits, wages, and employment all rose; farmers thrived. • The result was an optimistic climate and the financial resources to support reform.

  23. Social & Economic Reform and Consumer Protection • A wide variety of reform movements developed from the 1890s to the 1920s.

  24. Muckrakers • Muckrakers helped bring reform issues to the attention of the public. • Most were journalists and writers, but others were artists and photographers. • Muckrakers investigated and exposed corruption and injustice through articles in mass-circulation magazines. • They also wrote novels dramatizing situations that demanded reform.

  25. Muckrakers • In 1906, the work of the muckrakers resulted in the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act - the first two acts of consumer protection legislation. • The federal government passed these laws after it became clear that the unsanitary conditions exposed by Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle were based on fact.

  26. Muckrakers • As time passed, the muckrakers' influence declined, partly because readers tired of their sensationalism. • Nevertheless, their tradition has continued to the present day..

  27. Other Areas of Concern • Other people and groups also worked to bring Progressive reforms to American society. • Attempts to end the poverty, crowding, and disease in American cities began before 1900. • Once the germ theory of disease was accepted, cities put more effort into improving water and sewage systems. • A well-known urban reformer was Jacob Riis,

  28. Other Areas of Concern • A well-known urban reformer was Jacob Riis, who used writings and photographs to show the need for better housing, for the poor. • Some Protestant church leaders became part of the Social Gospel movement, which worked to help poor city dwellers. • One goal of urban reformers was building codes that would require safer, better-lighted, better-ventilated, and more sanitary tenements.

  29. Social Settlement • One early group of Progressive urban reformers was the settlement-house workers. • Settlement houses, located in working-class slums, offered people—especially immigrants—education, child care, social activities, and help in finding jobs. • Well-known settlement houses included Hull House in Chicago, founded by Jane Addams, and the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, founded by Lillian Wald.

  30. Peace Movement • Addams and Wald were among the Americans who led peace groups, such as the Woman's Peace Party, in the period before and during World War I. • Support of pacifism—the policy of opposition to war and fighting—weakened with America's entry into World War I in 1917 but was later revived.

  31. Peace Movement • Pacifist Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress (1916), voted against the United States entry into World War I (and World War II as well). • For her pacifist efforts, Jane Addams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

  32. Temperance and Prohibition • The temperance movement, which opposed the use of alcoholic beverages, began in the 1820s. • Over the years, its chief goal became prohibition—outlawing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. • Under the leadership of Frances Willard, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), founded in 1874, was a strong advocate of prohibition. Its members included many Populists and Progressives.

  33. Temperance and Prohibition • It joined with the Anti-Saloon League, and the two groups sought moral reform through prohibition. • They believed that through prohibition, problems of poverty and disease could be eased, family life improved, and the national economy made more productive. • The temperance crusade led to national prohibition with the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States as of 1920.

  34. Women’s Rights • Women were involved in all aspects of social reform, but suffrage for women continued to be the main goal of the women's rights movement in the Progressive Era. • Women who had experienced success in other reform activities wanted to be able to vote. • Furthermore, many suffragists thought that the women's vote would serve to correct various social problems.

  35. Women’s Suffrage Movement • The women's suffrage movement began as part of a larger drive for women's rights in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York. • The intellectual leader was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, author of the Declaration of Sentiments. • She was joined in the 1850s by Susan B. Anthony, who provided the driving leadership of the movement.

  36. Women’s Suffrage Movement • In the 1860s, the women's suffrage movement split over the best way to achieve its goals. • The more radical organization was led by Stanton and Anthony; the more moderate organization was headed by Lucy Stone and her husband Henry Blackwell. • In 1890, the groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

  37. Women’s Suffrage Movement • Stanton died in 1902, and Anthony died in 1906, without achieving the objective of their life work. • However, the Progressive spirit gave the movement a new surge. • In the early 1900s, leadership of NAWSA and the campaign passed to Carrie Chapman Catt, who devised the strategy that was to win women the vote.

  38. Women’s Suffrage Movement • She abandoned the state by state efforts for women's suffrage, which had given women the vote in only nine states by 1912. • Now, the movement would concentrate on achieving women's suffrage through a constitutional amendment. • NAWSA swelled to two million members.

  39. By the time the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) became law, many western states had already given women the right to vote.

  40. Women’s Suffrage Movement • Alice Paul led the more militant Congressional Union until she was expelled from NAWSA. • She then formed the National Woman's Party. • Paul alienated many women by her use of militant tactics and her campaigning against Woodrow Wilson for reelection in 1916. • In the end, it was the highly visible activity of women during World War I that brought them the final public support needed. • In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

  41. Education for Women • Another sign of women's progress was the growth of educational opportunities. • Among women's colleges founded in the late 1800s were Vassar (1861), Wellesley (1870), and Smith (1871). • State universities set up under the Morrill Act of 1862 were coeducational. • By the early 1900s, more than 100,000 women were attending college.

  42. Birth Control • The women's movement also included a campaign for family planning through birth control. • This campaign was led by Margaret Sanger, who began her work as a nurse caring for poor immigrant women in New York City.

  43. Birth Control • The American Birth Control League founded by Sanger later became the Planned Parenthood Federation. • Sanger's movement was very controversial. She was arrested several times for sending information about contraception through the mail.

  44. Rights of African Americans • The decades after the Civil War were a difficult time for African Americans. • Laws prevented them from exercising their right to vote. • In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court upheld the Jim Crow laws, which required segregated—"separate but equal“ public facilities for African Americans and whites.

  45. Rights of African Americans • Lynching by white mobs took the lives of hundreds of African Americans. Key African American leaders who worked to secure their people's rights are described below. • Booker T. Washington, a former slave and founder of Tuskegee Institute, urged African Americans to get vocational training in order to establish themselves economically. This strategy, he believed, would increase their own self-esteem and earn them respect from white society.

  46. Rights of African Americans • Washington's policy, called accommodation, was expressed in an 1895 speech known as the Atlanta Compromise.

  47. Rights of African Americans • W.E.B. Du Bois, a Harvard-educated professor, shared Washington's view of the importance of education but rejected accommodation. • He felt that African Americans should protest unfair treatment and receive a broad, liberal education, rather than a vocational one. • In 1905, Du Bois founded the Niagara Movement to work for equal rights.

  48. Rights of African Americans • More successful was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), started in 1909 by a group of reformers that included Du Bois and Jane Addams. • The NAACP successfully used lawsuits as a weapon on behalf of civil rights.

  49. Rights of African Americans • In 1914, Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, an African American nationalist and separatist group. • The group wanted a separate black economy and urged African Americans to emigrate to Africa. • Many of Garvey's ideas influenced the Black Power movement of the 1960s.