Vocabulary:
Progressive Movement: this was the push for the government to step in and help regulate the social, economic and political problems that developed as America industrialized and urbanized

Video Clip:

Roots of Progressivism

More Notes:
Remember all those problems in the cities? It was crowded, unsanitary, unsafe and racked with poverty while industries were loyal only to making a profit by taking advantage of the labor force and buying public!

Extra Links:
This is a synopsis of the Progressive Movement from the people at U.S. History.com.

More Notes:
This was a confusing age for America. We were abandoning our traditions and finding new ways to implement our ideologies in the modern world.

The poor Indians were still "in the way" during this age- the government finally came up with a permanent solution to "help them out" by using Congressional aid programs and establishing agencies to help run the reservation.
Laborers were repeatedly at odds with their employers as they sought better pay and benefits.
Coalitions who wanted various improvements banded together and pressured the government which yielded the Progressive Era.

Video Clip:

Populists to Progressives

Extra Links:
Many consider the "battle" of Wounded Knee the last stand of the Indians. Click here to learn more about the massacre.

Some people feel that the Populists actually started the ideas behind the Progressive Era. Click here to learn about them!

Lets take a closer look at each of these issues:

Income Disparity:

The rich were getting richer, the poor were getting taken advantage of! Many factories kept their workers as virtual "wage-slaves", paying barely enough for survival. Labor's predicament was the basic concept of supply and demand, there were simply more workers than jobs, so employers simply went with the people who would work the hardest for the least amount of money.

Because of the squalor conditions (that means they were poor), many social problems infested the cities: crime, violence, alcoholism, population density, etc.

Something needed to be done to give these poor people more economic leverage and more political power!

Robber Barons:

As we discussed in VUS8b, these wealthy entrepreneurs took full advantage of the economic system. They appreciated the laissez-faire (hands-off) policies of the Government, they took advantage of the workers, took advantage of the people who consumed their products, and engaged in corrupt activities to drive their competitors out of business in an attempt to establish a monopoly!

They thought of themselves as "captains of industry" - but the government and society began to see them as cheating the system, and they needed to follow some rules!

Corruption:

Political corruption was rampant - much at the local and state level with the "political machine".

These were groups of people who dominated the political scene by controlling the votes. Often taking advantage of the poor and immigrants, they would engage in vote fraud to get their "buddies" elected to office. Once these people were in office, money could flow in - local governing boards and state legislatures were responsible for awarding contracts for construction...

Here's an example of how it would work:
1) The board would approve a company to build a school for $100,000. (yay - we need schools)
2) The construction company would only need $70,000 to cover its costs and profit.
3) The remaining $30,000 would be returned to the political machine!

As long as these guys could control elections, they could make lots of money!!!

More Notes:
At the time, there were no rules about who could work and for what pay. The government believed that private enterprise could run without interference. Industry took advantage of the situation! With an abundance of workers (mostly due to immigration) they offered low wages. There were no safety precautions taken by factories to prevent accidents, there were no benefits and no compensation if a person was harmed on the job. Children became a growing part of the labor force and were usually paid less than adults and treated just as harsh. Many of the child laborers were sent to work by their families in order to help make ends meet at home. The picture above shows boys ranging from 9 to 12 years old working to sort coal. What else can you tell about their working conditions by looking at the picture?

Video Clip:

Labor Conditions and Temperance

Extra Links:
So you don't like school? Want to go out and get a job? Check out these images of child labor- you may think twice!

Vocabulary:
company town: this happens when an entire town is built and owned by a manufacturing company

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
When it came to company towns, a single company would own everything in the town. This included the factory, the stores, the housing, the schools and even the church. Strict rules for living there were established by the company, and entire families would move in to work. These families were given very little freedoms. Many times, these families were taken advantage of, as their rent and price of living barely matched their pay. Essentially, families were retained as "wage slaves", unable to break free.

Women were entering the workforce in far greater numbers. Most found work in the textile industry. Conditions for women were harsh, and they were usually paid even less than men. Look at the picture above, many of the factories had children working alongside grown women!
Extra Links:
Take a look at the History of Women at Work using this web site.

Vocabulary:
conservation: refers to policies that would help to save and manage our natural resources

Video Clip:

Politics and the Progressives

More Notes:
Theodore Roosevelt had been a war hero from the Spanish American War. He had worked his way up in politics by appealing to the "common man" (similar to President Andrew Jackson years earlier). Roosevelt attacked injustices and corruption of the government, which made him dangerous to some of the established members of his Republican Party. He was making such a fuss, they decided to hush him up by having him become the Vice-President (after all, the V.P. has no real power and no one seems to listen to him). Unfortunately for the Republican planners, President William McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt became president in 1901. We associate the beginnings of the Progressive movement with him!

We had other social movements before, but this one was different. Earlier, social movements relied on volunteer organizations to go out and deal directly with people. Now, they turned to the GOVERNMENT to make rules to help regulate industry and society.
An interesting side note would be the election of 1912. Roosevelt had been President for most of two terms. When he stepped aside in 1908, he named William H. Taft as the next best choice. As Taft's presidency did not go as well as many would like, Roosevelt returned in 1912 to run again. BUT, Taft was still the president up for re-election. Roosevelt then abandoned the Republican party to create his own Progressive Party (called the "Bull Moose" Party), and he ran for president also. Well, since the Republicans were divided between Taft and Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson was able to win the election!

Extra Links:
Click here to visit the History Channel's exhibit on Theodore Roosevelt!

Here is a link to Theodore Roosevelt's "Square Deal" speech. Click on the audio- is that what he really sounded like?


Here are the Presidential Bio Links:
Theodore Roosevelt

William Taft

Woodrow Wilson

More Notes:
These seem pretty straight and forward, but you may want to double-check that "elimination of social injustices". It seems that, if we consider the Progressive Movement to be a government phase, then they left out a big injustice - Civil Rights.

Video Clip:

Theodore Roosevelt as a Progressive

William Taft as a Progressive

Woodrow Wilson as a Progressive

Vocabulary:
graft: when an elected official uses his public office for personal gain

Political Machine: when one political party, usually dominated by one particular individual (the "boss") controls elections in a city or state and then controls the government

Video Clip:

Boss Tweed

More Notes:
There was a great deal of corruption going on at the turn of the century in local politics. As cities needed to build to accommodate the larger numbers of people, graft was everywhere. Companies who were awarded the contracts to build would give "kick-backs" to the members of the city council and the "boss". Great wealth was attained by the government officials and the contractors at the expense of the people. To keep in office, political machines worked to appeal to the immigrants, control the media, and engage in electoral fraud! The power to govern needed to be given back to the people!

Two innovations in local government: the commission form where the people would elect commissioners to run the various departments (like fire, police, transportation). The other was the council-manager form of government which allows people to elect a city council, who in turn hires a manager to run the city in a business fashion- this also gets rid of the mayor!

These two local government reforms are still in use in many areas today! Each is designed to give more power to the people!

Extra Links:
Here is a site that examines how political machines worked.

More Notes:
These three state level reforms make the state government more accountable to the will of the people. The election process, accountability and the law making process are now more in the hands of the people rather than the elite members of society and the dominant political party! Initiatives and referendums are the most common, but recently California actually RECALLED its governor and replaced him because he did not uphold his campaign promises!

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
One of the most progressive governors of the period was Robert La Follette of Wisconsin. Click here to learn more about "Fighting Bob".

Vocabulary:
primary election: an election before the general election in which a political party decides who will run for office

general election: when candidates actually run for office in the government

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
Primary elections went a long way to hurt the political machines. It used to be the party elites would sit around and decide who would run as the "democrat" or "republican" candidate. Then, the people were very limited on who they could choose. Primaries allowed the people to decide who should run- and the elites lost their control!

Each state has 2 senators in the U.S. Congress. Originally, they were to be elected to 6 year terms by the state governments. As it turned out, men who made large cash donations to state government officials were the ones who were "elected". This type of corruption was so widely used that the U.S. Senate was even called the "Millionaire's Club". The 17th Amendment changed that- today the people of a state choose their U.S. Senators in a popular election- whoever wins the most popular votes gets to be senator! More power to the people!
Secret ballots are something we take for granted today, but "back in the day", elections were very public. It was easy to find out who a person voted for- and this is more than just a "privacy" problem. Many employers would instruct their workers on how to vote (usually so the factory owner could get government help later)- and those who did not vote "properly" would be fired! The new secret ballots were all identical, both parties were named on the ballot, it was printed at the expense of the government (not the party), and these ballots were anonymous.
Extra Links:
So, what great contribution to democracy ever came from Australia? Check out this - but sorry, no "crocs".

Vocabulary:
muckrakers: these were reporters who wrote about the abuses and corruption of industry and government (This term was made popular by President Theodore Roosevelt - he took it from a character in Bunyan’s 1684 Pilgrim’s Progress. Which is an entirely insignificant piece of trivia, unless you are on a quiz-type of game show!)

Video Clip:

The Muckrakers

The Jungle

Public Health and Conservation

More Notes:
Newspapers were competing against each other for sales. Many engaged in "Yellow Journalism", which were often exaggerated or even fictitious stories designed to get people to buy a particular paper. While somewhat effective, the "truth is more fantastic than fiction." Muckrakers began to write about true life horrors, and they even published photographs that helped illustrate how awful conditions really were. As middle-class Americans learned how the "other half" was living, many were inspired to support the progressive cause!
Extra Links:
Here is some more background info on the muckrakers!

Vocabulary:
labor union: an organization of workers that negotiates with employers for better pay and conditions

Video Clip:

John Lewis and Labor Reform

More Notes:
The condition of workers was often front page news thanks to the muckrakers. Their plight was recognized, and unions formed. A single worker by himself could not make much of a difference when battling a large industry. But, if the workers combined and acted as one, then they had a chance to bring down "the man".
Extra Links:
This link provides a brief history of labor unions. It goes all the way back to the Colonial Era.

Vocabulary:
skilled labor: workers who need special training and higher skill to work (such as a mechanic)

unskilled labor: workers who complete basic tasks that do not require special training (such as operating a simple machine)

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
The Knights of Labor joined many different types of unskilled workers. The AFL was a coalition of only skilled workers. You can check out the extra links to find out more about these early unions!

Extra Links:

Here, you can check out more stuff on the Knights of Labor.

Click here to learn more about Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor.
Here is a link to a great speech given by Samuel Gompers in support of World War 1. You can read the transcript and listen to the audio!

More Notes:
Eugene Debs was an inspirational leader to the many unskilled workers along the railroad. In his union, he had not only the workers who built the railroads, he had those who worked on building the cars, running the cars (from baggage handlers to cooks), even those who worked in the coal mines! Later, Debs became more political and helped found the American Socialist Party, which advocated complete government control of the railroads.

The first large women's union was the Industrial Ladies' Garment Workers Union. Facing incredibly horrible conditions, these women struggled to get noticed. It was the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where many women were killed that brought their issues to the front page. The photograph above shows the true horrors of the fire (those women jumped to their deaths trying to escape the blaze).

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
Check out some of the violence associated with the American Railway Union at this site.

You can get the whole story of the Triangle Fire tragedy at this link.

Vocabulary:
anarchist: a person who wants there to be no government

Video Clip:

The Homestead Strike

More Notes:
The muckrakers made heroes of union members and those who sacrificed for the cause. But, when personal property and safety were compromised, unions were viewed as dangerous. Socialism, communism and anarchy all seemed to breed in these early unions, which also fueled people's fears.

Extra Links:
Click here to learn more about the Pullman Strike!

This link goes more into the Square Riot.

Vocabulary:
collective bargaining: the process of union members negotiating a contract with management

arbitration: if a union and management can not reach an agreement, an outside person listens to both arguments and decides what is "fair"

strike: when union members refuse to work

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
Gains by unions were made. There was a reduction of child labor and better conditions were created. As their pay and benefits improved, many unions faded (after all it was a vehicle for change). New government attitudes and a fear of communism (Red Scare) of the 1920's helped to shrink the significance of the unions.
Extra Links:
Click here to visit the History Channel's exhibit on the "History of Labor Day".

Vocabulary:
trust: this happens when different industrial leaders come together and work to enhance their company profits by restraining free trade

monopoly: when a company or individual controls the market of a particular product or service

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
The Sherman Anti-trust Act made trusts illegal. This law was very difficult to enforce because the law never even defined exactly what a trust was and which particular actions were illegal. These loopholes were closed with the Clayton Act, which defined what practices were illegal. In this way, Congress could help regulate the economy.

Check out the cartoon above. Uncle Sam (representing the U.S.) is being forced to "walk the plank". The artist shows trusts as the pirates. The caption is a plea for the GOVERNMENT to step in, regulate business, and save the U.S.

Extra Links:
If you want to learn more about the Sherman Act, click here.

If you want to learn more about the Clayton Act, click here.

Vocabulary:
suffrage: the right to vote

Video Clip:

Women Suffrage and Protest

More Notes:
The push for women to get the right to vote is traced back before the Civil War. Many women were very upset when the 15th Amendment (giving former slaves the right to vote) did not include them. As women entered the labor force and gained more economic independence, they expected full civil rights. Women were encouraged to support the war effort (World War 1) by working. Finally, the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920- giving women the right to vote 50 years after the freed male slaves.

Extra Links:
A complete look at women's quest for suffrage in America.

Vocabulary:
progressive tax: basically, the more a person makes the more that person pays

prohibition: refers to the period of time when alcohol was illegal in America

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
These 4 amendments are known as the "Progressive Amendments". We can match the goals of the progressives with the changes made to the Constitution. Greater power was given to the people, and a social evil (alcohol) was attacked. Of course, the country kind of changed its mind about prohibition in the 1930's, so the 18th Amendment was cancelled by the 21st Amendment.

More Notes:
In 1914, war broke out in Europe. Initially the U.S. was neutral, as we did not want to get involved. As reports from the events in Europe began to occupy our thoughts, less consideration was given to progressive reform. World War 1 brought an end to progressive reforms!

Video Clip:

Limits on Progressivism

Extra Links:
Click here to further understand why Theodore Roosevelt is considered a "hero" of the Progressive Movement!

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