(AP)  The Progressives p. 551-582


                           Child Labor                                             NYC Tenement

AP Chapter 20 Study Guide

Convinced that rapid industrialization and urbanization had created serious problems and disorder, Progressives shared an optimistic vision that organized private and government action could improve society. Progressivism sought to control monopoly, build social cohesion, and promote efficiency. Muckrakers exposed social ills that Social Gospel reformers, settlement house workers, and other Progressives attacked. Meanwhile, increasing standards of training and expertise were creating a new middle class of educated professionals including some women. The Progressives tried to rationalize politics by reducing the influence of political parties in municipal and state affairs. Many of the nation's problems could be solved, some Progressives believed, if alcohol were banned, immigration were restricted, and women were allowed to vote. Educated blacks teamed with sympathetic whites to form the NAACP and began the movement that eventually wiped away Jim Crow. Other Progressives stressed the need for fundamental economic transformation through socialism or through milder forms of antitrust action and regulation.

Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill. 

The Progressive Era: 1900-1916

1889 Jane Addams founds Hull House.

1894 Immigration Restriction League founded.

1896 Henry Ford builds his first automobile.

1898 Charlotte Perkins Gilman publishes Women and Economics.

1900 Galveston, Texas, creates first city commission government. William McKinley wins reelection. Progressive Robert La Follette is elected governor of Wisconsin.

1901 Congress creates the National Bureau of Standards. McKinley is assassinated; Theodore Roosevelt becomes president.

1902 Theodore Roosevelt mediates anthracite coal strike. Congress passes the Newlands Reclamation Act.

1904 Supreme Court finds Northern Securities Company in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Creation of the Commerce Department. Roosevelt proclaims "Square Deal"; wins reelection.

1905 Albert Einstein publishes special theory of relativity. Industrial Workers of the World founded. Roosevelt creates the U.S. Forest Service.

1906 Passage of the Hepburn Act. Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle.
Passage of the Pure Food and Drug and Meat Inspection Acts.

1907 Immigration to the United States peaks at 1.2 million.

1908 Ford Motor Company introduces the Model T. In Muller v. Oregon, Supreme Court upholds restricted hours for female workers. William Howard Taft elected president.

1909 Ballinger-Pinchot controversy.

 1911 Frederick Winslow Taylor publishes The Principles of Scientific Management.

1912 IWW leads textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Woodrow Wilson elected president.

1913 Ford adopts the moving assembly line. Ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment (federal income tax). Ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment (direct election of senators). Federal Reserve Act passed. Underwood-Simmons Tariff passed.

1914 Clayton Anti-Trust Act passed.

1916 Madison Grant publishes The Passing of the Great Race. Wilson appoints Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. 1919 Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition).

1920 Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (women?s suffrage).

1924 National Origins Act drastically restricts immigration to the United States.

The rise of industrial capitalism and the corresponding growth of urban centers in the late nineteenth century forced Americans to come to terms with a host of new social, political, and economic issues. The existing structure of government was unsuited to deal with the challenges posed by modernization, leading to new efforts to impose a sense of order on the chaos of American society. These efforts came to be grouped under the banner of "progressivism," a wide-ranging term that can nonetheless be used to characterize those who shared a number of central assumptions, most notably the idea that the power of government could be used to transform society and that unregulated economic development produced harmful social, political, and economic results.

Politics and Citizenship: Progressive reformers first targeted the existing party system on the local and state level, which they saw as corrupt and unable to meet the challenges of the new industrial order. Many progressives felt that the complex issues of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries should be in the hands of nonpartisan experts and managers, who could avoid the problems faced by members of the traditional parties. They particularly sought to reduce the power of urban political machines, which they saw as mechanisms for taking advantage of new immigrants and enriching a small handful of professional politicians.

Economic Transformations: One of the central hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution was corporate consolidation. The emergence of trusts forced a response from both workers and reformers who sought ways to balance the power of business. Although mainstream unions such as the American Federation of Labor sought to avoid involvement in reform causes, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and other unions sought to challenge the capitalist system and its perceived injustices more directly. A number of progressives produced works on the problem of monopoly that had profound influence on public policy in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Demographic Changes: Economic changes in the late nineteenth century profoundly affected the structure of the American family, particularly the role of women. The increasingly sharp distinction between home and workplace, earlier schooling for children, and increasing levels of female education all helped to contribute to the emergence of the so called "new woman." Many of these women sought a greater social and political role outside the home and became active in a variety of causes, including the women's suffrage movement, consumer protection, and protective legislation for women and children in the workplace.

George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide.  McGraw Hill.

Digital History

The Twentieth Century

An overview of the far-reaching economic and social changes that transformed American society in the 20th century, including innovations in science and technology, economic productivity, mass communication and mass entertainment, health and living standards, the role of government, gender roles, and conceptions of freedom. 

The Progressive Era

Progressivism is an umbrella label for a wide range of economic, political, social, and moral reforms. These included efforts to outlaw the sale of alcohol; regulate child labor and sweatshops; scientifically manage natural resources; insure pure and wholesome water and milk; Americanize immigrants or restrict immigration altogether; and bust or regulate trusts. Drawing support from the urban, college-educated middle class, Progressive reformers sought to eliminate corruption in government, regulate business practices, address health hazards, improve working conditions, and give the public more direct control over government through direct primaries to nominate candidates for public office, direct election of Senators, the initiative, referendum, and recall, and women's suffrage.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, muckraking journalists were calling attention to the exploitation of child labor, corruption in city governments, the horror of lynching, and the ruthless business practices employed by businessmen like John D. Rockefeller. At the local level, many Progressives sought to suppress red-light districts, expand high schools, construct playgrounds, and replace corrupt urban political machines with more efficient system of municipal government. At the state level, Progressives enacted minimum wage laws for women workers, instituted industrial accident insurance, restricted child labor, and improved factory regulation. At the national level, Congress passed laws establishing federal regulation of the meat-packing, drug, and railroad industries, and strengthened anti-trust laws. It also lowered the tariff, established federal control over the banking system, and enacted legislation to improve working condition. Four constitutional amendments were adopted during the Progressive era, which authorized an income tax, provided for the direct election of senators, extended the vote to women, and prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. 

Along the Color Line

The period late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represented the nadir of American race relations. Nine-tenths of African Americans lived in the South, and most supported themselves as tenant farmers or sharecroppers. Most southern and border states instituted a legal system of segregation, relegating African Americans to separate schools and other public accommodations. Under the Mississippi Plan, involving the use of poll taxes and literacy tests, African Americans were deprived of the vote. The Supreme Court stripped the 14th and 15th Amendments of their meaning, especially in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which declared that ?separate but equal? facilities were permissible under the 14th Amendment. Each year approximately a hundred African Americans were lynched. Booker T. Washington, the most prominent black leader, argued that African Americans should make themselves economically indispensable to southern whites, cooperate with whites, and accommodate themselves to white supremacy. But other figures adopted a more activist stance, such as the anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, and W.E.B. DuBois, a founder of the NAACP, who demanded an end to caste distinctions based on race. A tight labor market during World War I triggered the ?Great Migration? of African Americans to the North, which continued into the 1920s. But the movement of blacks out of the South was met by racial violence in Chicago, East St. Louis, Houston, Tulsa, and other cities. The Great Migration was accompanied by new efforts at black political and economic organization and cultural expression, including Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, which emphasized racial pride and economic self-help, and the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and artistic movement.  

The Struggle for Women's Suffrage

Among the most radical of all struggles in American history is the on-going struggle of women for full equality. The ideals of the American Revolution raised women's expectations, inspired some of the first explicit demands for equality, and witnessed the establishment of female academies to improve women's education. By the early 19th century, American women had the highest female literacy rate in the world. But as American states widened suffrage to include virtually all white males, they began denying the vote to free blacks and, in New Jersey, to women, who had briefly won this privilege following the Revolution. In the 1820s and for decades to come married women could not own property, make contracts, bring suits, or sit on juries. They could be legally beaten by their husbands and were required to submit to their husbands' sexual demands. During the early 19th century, however, a growing number of women became convinced that they had a special mission and responsibility to purify and reform American society. Women were at the forefront of efforts to establish public schools, abolish slavery, and curb drinking. But faced with discrimination within the antislavery movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others organized the first Women's Rights Convention in history in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. The quest for full equality involved not only the struggle for the vote, but for divorce, access to higher education, the professions, and other occupations, as well as birth control and abortion. Women have had to overcome laws and customs that discriminated on the basis of sex in order to overcome the oldest form of exploitation and subordination.

Lecture Outlines

The Progressives 1901-1919

Chapter Notes

The Presidents 

Theodore Roosevelt

William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson


The Politics of Reform

Roosevelt and the Square Deal

PowerPoint Presentation

The Progressive Movement (1890-1917)