Friday, March 7, 2008

Chapter 22 The Progressive Era (1890-1920)

Chapter 22: The Progressive Era, 1890-1920
Section 1: Roosevelt and Progressivism
Main Idea: Reformers tried to solve the problems of the cities. They gained a champion in Theodore Roosevelt. The growth of cities and industries in the United States caused poverty, the spread of slums, poor conditions in factories, and corruption. To attack these problems, citizens organized a number of reform movements. These movements came to be called progressivism.
About 1900, a new group of writers called muckrakers created a public demand for
reform. One muckraker accused Standard Oil of using unfair tactics against smaller
companies. Progressive reformers shared three basic goals. First, reform government and expand democracy; second, promote social welfare; third, bring about economic reform. In the late 1800s, elected officials often handed out government jobs and contracts, a practice called patronage. Congress passed the Pendleton Civil Service Act, which required people to take civil service exams for government jobs.
In the 1890s and 1900s, progressive leaders proposed a number of reforms: one: a direct primary, in which voters rather than conventions choose candidates for public office; two: the initiative, which allows voters to propose a law directly; three: the referendum, in which a proposed law is submitted to the vote of the people; and four: the recall, which allows people to vote an official out of office. In order to promote social welfare, it was necessary to address poverty, unemployment, and poor working conditions. The social gospel and settlement house movements promoted social-welfare reforms. Jane Addams and Florence Kelley worked at Hull House to provide social services for the poor. Prohibitionists also worked to improve
people’s lives. The third progressive goal, economic reform, involved limiting the power of big business. By the late 1800s, business leaders had formed trusts, or combinations of businesses, that cut prices to squeeze out competitors. Then the trust would raise prices and maker bigger profits. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 made it illegal for businesses to form trusts. In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt was elected vice president along with President McKinley. When an assassin shot and killed McKinley, Roosevelt became president. He provided the leadership to enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act. Roosevelt began by attacking corporate trusts. He saw government as an umpire whose purpose was to provide fairness, or a "square deal," for everybody. Roosevelt used the Sherman Antitrust Act to regulate trusts and to break up the railroad trusts. He also broke up the Standard Oil trust and a tobacco trust. Roosevelt opposed any trust that worked against the national interest. His administration filed suit against 44 corporations. In 1906, Roosevelt signed the Meat Inspection Act. This act created a government meat inspection program. The president also signed the Pure Food and Drug Act, which banned the sale of impure foods and medicines.
Roosevelt believed that discrimination against African Americans was wrong. But he did not take the political risk of leading a fight for civil rights. Roosevelt also supported conservation—the controlled use of natural resources. Roosevelt preserved more than 200 million acres of public lands. He also established the first wildlife refuge. Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to establish more national parks.
Section 2: Taft and Wilson as Progressives
Main Idea: Progressive reforms continued under William Howard Taft and Woodrow
Wilson. In 1908, Republican candidate William Howard Taft was elected president. Taft was Theodore Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor. During his four years in office, Taft pursued almost twice as many antitrust suits as Roosevelt had. Under Taft, the Sixteenth Amendment was passed in 1909. It gave Congress the power to create income taxes. The income tax soon became the government’s main way to raise money. The Seventeenth Amendment was ratified in 1913. It allowed for the direct election of U.S. senators by voters in each state. Formerly, state legislatures had chosen senators. In 1912, Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, was elected president. In 1914, Congress passed the Clayton Antitrust Act. The new law prevented business practices that lessened competition. The act gave the government more power to regulate trusts. It allowed labor unions to merge and expand. The act also legalized strikes and boycotts. President Wilson also pushed through financial reforms. In 1913, the Federal Reserve Act created a more flexible currency system by allowing banks to control the money supply. Unfortunately, like Roosevelt, Wilson did little to advance civil rights for African Americans. The Eighteenth Amendment also was passed during the Progressive Era. This amendment is known as the Prohibition Amendment. Supporters of prohibition believed that a ban on alcohol would reduce society’s ills, especially poverty, unemployment and violence. In 1917, Congress passed a constitutional amendment banning the manufacturing and sale of alcoholic beverages. The states ratified the amendment in 1919.
Section 3: Women Win New Rights
Main Idea: Women became leaders in social reform movements and won the right to
vote during the Progressive Era. By the turn of the twentieth century, life in many American homes was changing. Numerous homes now had indoor running water and electrical power. In addition, factories produced the goods, such as soap and clothing, that women once made in the home. Women began to work in factories, offices, and stores. Those who gained a college education could pursue a profession, although the choices often were limited to such fields as nursing and teaching. Furthermore, women who could afford to were expected to quit their jobs when they married. Women were among the leaders of the social reform movements of the Progressive Era. Jane Addams was a good example. After graduating from college, she visited a settlement house in London. Settlement houses are homes that provide services for people living in city slums. Addams opened a settlement house called Hull House in one of Chicago’s poor neighborhoods. Hull House served as an information center for new immigrants and also helped the unemployed find jobs. Another progressive leader, Carry Nation, campaigned for prohibition. Nation often used dramatic methods. In the 1890s, she smashed saloons with a hatchet. While some criticized her style, Nation helped bring about passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. Many women progressives worked for woman suffrage, or the right to vote. In 1890, two separate woman suffrage groups merged. They formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association, or NAWSA. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was its first president. In 1892, Susan B. Anthony became president. At first, the organization focused on state campaigns to win the right to vote. But by 1896, only four states allowed women to vote. These were Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. For the next 14 years, women did not gain the right to vote in a single state. Then, between 1910 and 1914, seven more states approved full suffrage for women. The state successes turned the tide in favor of woman suffrage. American participation in World War I also helped. During the war, membership in NAWSA reached 2 million. Carrie Chapman Catt, who served as president during this time, argued that many women were supporting the war effort. As a result, the nation no longer could deny them the right to vote.Under President Wilson, the House passed the Nineteenth Amendment in 1918, giving women full voting rights. The Senate approved the amendment in 1919. In 1920 the states
ratified the amendment.