Progressive Era, 1900‑1920
I. Progressivism in Action: Politics
1. Progressivism generally took two forms: Political and Social reform.
2. What most social justice reformers found, however, was that they could not rely upon "goodness" and voluntary organizations to change the cities. It was necessary to reform politics, too.
a. After all, if law is to be a tool for social reform, who makes the law? Politicians.
b. But from the Progressive perspective, politics and politicians were in their present condition part of the problem, not the solution.
3. Thus, the Progressive vision for a new America depended upon changing the definition of government and politics.
A. City Reform
1. Progressive reform generally began at the city/urban level, then moved to state, and finally to national level
2. Progressivism begins in the city because the rapid pace of urbanization between 1890 & 1910 made city life barely tolerable and extremely dangerous
a. city governments were not capable of providing necessary--basic--services to sustain huge populations
b. ex. Pittsburg--because of an impure water supply--city had one of the world's highest death rate from typhoid, dysentery, & cholera.
3. Yet, at this level, all Progressives could see were the urban bosses (as ward healers as well as mayors) lined their pockets with bribes and kick-backs from private contractors and other criminals.
a. At the same time, however, the urban bosses patronized the electorate (those who could vote for them), and who increasingly were the new immigrants crowding the industrial cities.
b. the ward healer of the city machines also provided citizens with their most important- and often only- connections with government
c. they offered constituents a variety of services
- municipal jobs: police & fire--generally dominated by the Irish machine (Democratic: dominated by 1st & 2nd generation Irish)
- work at city construction projects
- intervened with legal problems
- offered food and coal during hard times
3. Timothy D. Sullivan, known as "Big Tim", the boss of New York City's Lower East Side embodied the popular machine style.
4. Critics charge that Sullivan controlled the city's gambling and made money from prostitution.
5. But, Big Tim, who had risen from desperate poverty, remained enormously popular with his constituents until his death in 1913.
a. "I believe in liberality," he declared. "I am a through New Yorker and have no narrow prejudices. I never ask a hungry man about his past, I feed him, not because he is good, but because he needs food. Help your neighbor but keep your nose out of his affairs."
6. Sullivan, whose district included the largest number of immigrants and transients in the city, provided shoe giveaways and free Christmas dinners to thousands every winter.
a. to pay for these and other charitable activities, he informally taxed saloons, theaters, and restaurants in the district.
7. Sullivan also made a fortune through his investments in vaudeville and the early movie business.
8. Progressive critics of machine politics, however, often exaggerated its power and influence.
a. State legislatures, controlled by Republican rural and small-town elements, proved to be a formidable check on what city-based machines could accomplish.
9. Yet, in the early twentieth century, political machines in the Northeast began concentrating more on passing welfare legislation beneficial to working-class & immigrant constituencies.
a. in this way, machine politicians often allied themselves with progressive reformers in state legislatures.
10. In New York, for example, Tammany Hall figures such as "Big Tim," Robert Wagner, and Al Smith worked with middle-class progressive groups such as the National Consumers League to pass child labor laws, factory safety regulations, worker compensation plans, and other efforts to make government more responsive to social needs.
11. Despite this, the Progressives redesigned the election process to undermine the power of the urban machine (city bosses):
a. turned to city‑wide elections instead of ward‑based elections: now there might be ward participants but they would have to campaign throughout the city rather just promise favors within specific ward
b. supposed to make government more representative of all people
12. Another goal was to purify and democratize politics and make politics more efficient
a. In order to democratize politics, or, in other words, involve people in politics, progressive backed three measures to make officeholders responsive to popular will: the initiative, the referendum, and the recall--can read about them in your book
b. In addition, there was the direct election of senators and the direct primary‑‑ an attempt to remove special interests from the legislature
13. Progressives also campaigned against the corrupt politicians: begin to see reform mayors such as Robert LaFollette‑ "Battlin" Bob.
14. Others, such as Samuel "Golden Rule" Jones, of Toledo, Ohio, focused on the human problems of industrial areas and championed reform based on changing policies, rather than the political structure.
a. Jones was mayor from 1897 to 1904
b. he was a capitalist who had made a fortune manufacturing oil-well machinery
c. he created a strong base of working-class and ethnic voters around his reforms
15. Jones advocated municipal ownership of utilities; he built new city parks and schools; and he established an 8 hr. day and minimum wages for city workers
16. In Cleveland, Ohio, there was Thomas L. Johnson, who was mayor from 1901 - 1909
17. He emphasized both efficiency and social welfare and his program was very popular
a. his program included lower streetcar fares, public baths, milk & meat inspection, and an expanded park & playground system.
18. Cities begin to see reforms and their political systems are redesigned to prevent corruption: this is one of the places we see the idea of scientific methodology
19. In 1906, the New York Bureau of Municipal Research was founded.
a. it became a prototype for similar bureaus around the country
b. in these bureaus, blueprints could be found for model charters, ordinances, and zoning plans
- designed by experts trained in public administration.
20. Cities revised city charters in favor of stronger mayoral power and expanded the use of appointed administrations and career civil servants.
a. many cities move to city manager and commission forms of government
b. city managers: city councils appointed a non-partisan professional with experience in the business world
- they handled the day-to-day operations of the city
- remove city management from politics
- not responsible to the electorate‑‑ more fair, can be efficient, etc.
c. City commissions were composed again of non-partisan professionals, each of whom was elected at large and was responsible for a different city department
- this way, voters could more easily identify AND hold responsible individuals behind city services.
20. Result: more efficient use of resources. And money goes farther, also, so now the government can provide certain social services that they used to leave up to private charity
a. Reliance was on commissions, staffed by nonpartisan experts appointed
to investigate problems, diagnose their cause, and propose solutions.
- Provide the chief executive (mayor, governor, president) with the "facts" to make good social policy, to shape legislative proposals for approval by the legislature
- this crops of experts are each trained in specific areas of the city designed policies to address the problem
- for example: decide to reduce streetcar fares (popular reform); appoint commission to investigate the transit system and they decide that a fare of 3 cents would be better than 5 or 10 cents and still allow owners to make profit
- puts more pressure on the legislature to be more responsive to the needs of the people--if they reject proposals, it would make them look antidemocratic, or against the "People."
b. Among other items, reform mayors, city managers, etc. worked for public ownership of utilities: gas, electricity, water, and transportation‑‑ idea that caught on quickly
- 1896‑ less than half of American cities owned their own waterworks
- 1915 ‑ almost 2/3 did
B. State Reforms
1. Reformers soon realized that many problems lay beyond the cities boundaries and turn to
state governments for action.
2. From the 1890s to 1920, they worked to create and stiffen state laws regulating the labor of women and children
a. create and strengthen commissions to regulate railroads and utilities
b. impose corporate and inheritance taxes
c. improve mental and penal institutions
d. and allocate more funds for state universities: these were considered the training ground for the experts and educated citizens necessary for this new society
3. The primary example of a reform governor was Bob LaFollette
a. small town lawyer who struggled to the top of Wisconsin politics
b. In his three terms as governor after 1900 (1900-1906), he enacted reform legislation known as the “Wisconsin Idea” or the Wisconsin Plan, which inspired other states and influenced national level of government
c. After this he served as a US senator until his death in 1925
4. Lafollette was able to forge a coalition among farmers, ethnic and whiter laborers with his fiery attacks on RRs and other large corporations
5. At the center of his reform movement was the independent regulatory commission, staffed by experts from the University of Wisconsin, and given wide administrative latitude
a. he established the first industrial commission in the country to regulate factory safety and sanitation
- Improved education, worker’s compensation, public utility controls, and resource conservation.
- Lowered RR rates and raised RR taxes
- Wisconsin became first state to adopt a direct primary for all political nominations
- And first to adopt a state income tax and tougher corporate tax rates
6. After 1900, many states adopted factory inspection laws and by 1916 almost 2/3 of the states mandated insurance for the victims of factory accidents.
a. By 1914, 25 states had enacted employer’s liability laws
III. Social Settlement Movement
1. At the same time that some Progressives were agitating for political changes--also find some who were united by the need for change in the social condition, or the physical environment, of city dwellers.
2. These people are those were term "social justice reformers."
3. Again, they take various forms. There are the muckrakers, professional journalists who set out to uncover corrupt politicians, ruthless business methods of corporations, and show the nation the living and working conditions of industrial laborers.
4. These were people such as:
a. Ida Tarbell: Standard Oil Company (John D. Rockefeller company)
b. Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, dealt with how the poor lived
c. Marie Van Vorst, The Woman Who Toils: Being the Experience of Two
Gentlewomen as Factory Girls, written in 1903; wrote about the conditions of women in
d. John Spargo, The Bitter Cry of the Children, wrote of the child laborers: in 1900 at least 8000 girls under age of 12 in the textile industry & 25,000 boys under 16 years old worked in the mines and quarries of the U.S.
e. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, published in 1906: a fictional account of the meatpacking business, but actually was a comment on socialism
4. There is a change in attitude toward the poor by the late 1890s.
a. progressives discard the Social Darwinist argument that the poor are "inherently unfit," were simply "depraved classes" within society.
b. begin to recognize the influence of the environment on individual development.
c. ignorance, poverty, even criminality were the effects of an unhealthy environment.
5. Thus, the establishment of the settlement house workers: mostly women, who renovate, maintain, and live in houses buildings within ethnic neighborhoods to `improve' the lot of the inhabitants AND at the same time, `Americanize' them.
B. Settlement Houses
1. The settlement houses were also part of the outgrowth of a widening sphere for American middle-class women.
2. Keep in mind that:
a. for MC American women, their `proper' place was still married and in the home
b. in addition, because it still was not really feasible for women to have both a career and marriage, a increasing number of educated women were remaining single.
c. yet, these newly educated women began rebelling against this ideology and sought a ways to work in the public sphere that would still be considered `proper.'
4. These are the women who will form the core of the settlement house movement
5. It was an area that was considered `women's work.
a. Settlement houses maintained playgrounds, nurseries, club rooms, libraries, and kindergartens.
b. Also conducted classes in a variety of subjects, such as English for immigrants.
c. Women were still doing what they were supposed to--nurturing, teaching, administering to others' needs
6. Jane Addams, one of the more famous American women of her time. Established Hull House on Halstead Street in Chicago in 1889
a. by 1900: over 100 settlement houses in country; 1910: over 200; 1915, over 400
7. They pushed their boundaries much further, though. These young settlement workers investigated and visited sweatshops and tenements, establishing contact between middle-class and working-class--and they worked to ameliorate the ills they found.
8. The settlements also became a spawning ground for women reformers and for the development of social work as a distinct profession. This is when universities began offering courses in social work.
9. Women, many coming out of the settlement house movement, also took on leadership roles within progressive cities, states and on a national level
a. Albion Fellows Bacon--was a sanitation committee member of the Evansville
Civic Improvement Society in Indiana--married and mother of four
- campaigned for housing regulation which she achieved in 1913
b. Katherine Bement Davis--doctorate from Vassar in sociology, headed a
PA settlement house
- became superintendent of the Women's Reformatory in NY in 1901
Commission of Corrections in NYC
- in 1914 general secretary for the Bureau of Social Hygiene of
d. In 1904, Lillian Wald, one of the first public health nurses and Florence Kelley were instrumental in founding the National Child Labor Committee.
- Eight years later, 1912, they succeeded in getting a children's bureau established in the Department of Commerce and Labor
- Florence Kelley also became the first chief of factory inspection for the state of Illinois.
e. Julia Lanthrop, also out of settlement house movement, was the first director of the Children's Bureau--and the first women in federal government
10. By the early 1900s--28 states had laws regulating child labor.
a. in 1916, Pres. Woodrow Wilson backed the first federal child-labor law
- Keating-Owen Act prohibited products manufactured by children under the
age of 14 to be shipped between states (interstate commerce)
- 2 years later (1918) in Hammer v. Dagenhart, the Supreme Ct overturned
it, calling it an improper regulation of local labor conditions
- 1919, Congress tried again, in the Second Child Labor Law, but it was
struck down by the court in 1922
- not until the 1930s did Congress succeed in passing a Court-supported national child labor law
IV. African-American Social Justice Movement
A. African American Women
1. The African-American community also worked to better their living conditions, and, like white women, clubs were the way in which black women also became involved in social movement
a. most women's clubs did not allow Black women to join and the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), organized in 1892 as a sort of clearing house for clubs, would not allow Black women's clubs join.
b. perhaps a more compelling reason for separate clubs, however, was the difference in needs of both communities--many of the problems in the Black communities were because of racial discrimination.
2. Black women developed a strong club movement to deal with specific problems particular to their race, and especially those of Black women, which culminated in the organization of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896.
3. Even before organization of the National Association of Colored Women, however, the club movement was well established
4. Black women's clubs grew dramatically after one woman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, galvanized the black community with her crusade against lynching in 1892
a. Wells-Barnett, born a slave in 1862, was educated after the war in freedman's schools.
b. by the age of 16, she was studying at Shaw University in Mississippi, but when
both parents died in the yellow fever epidemic, she refused to let her siblings be divided
among relatives and supported them by working as a school teacher.
c. in 1883, she moved to Memphis, where a thriving black community seemed to offer more
opportunities--and became an outspoken critic of the inadequate "separate but equal" schools
d. in 1891, after criticizing inadequate black schools and segregated education in an
article for a black-owned Memphis newspaper, she was fried from her teaching job.
e. then a year later, after three friends, young businessmen, were lynched, Wells-Barnett, editor
of the Memphis Free Speech in Tennessee, began organizing a national anti-lynching
f. forced to move because of danger from her writing, Wells-Barnett moved to Chicago, married
Ferdinand Barnett and had four children.
g. for the rest of her life Well-Barnett worked for social justice for African Americans
h. among her Chicago activities were the organization of an activist women's club and the Negro
Fellowship League, a settlement house for migrant men.
i. she also worked for woman suffrage, founding the first black women's suffrage association in
Illinois and directly challenging white women's organizations to accept black women as
j. in addition, her outspoken stand against sexual abuse of black women by white men and call
to black women to defend their race from violence and abuse also led to the founding of the
Women's Loyal Union in New York in 1892.
5. Another woman, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, aided in establishing Black women's clubs on the east coast, and went on to organize the National Association of Colored Women.
a. unlike Wells-Barnett, Ruffin was born free in MA, in 1842, the daughter of an
Indian/Black/French father and an English mother.
b. she involved herself in recruiting soldiers for the Civil War and joined the Suffrage Movement
c. Ruffin founded the Women's New Era Club in Boston, the first club for
d. she was also a charter member of the Moral Education Society and founded
the Northeastern Federation of Women's Clubs.
e. because GFWC denied black women membership for many years, Ruffin finally organized the formation of the National Association of Colored Women.
- it united more than three dozen clubs in twelve states and Washington, D.C.
- by 1917, over 50,000 black women were members in 28 state federations and over 1000 clubs
6. Mary Church Terrell served as the NACW first president. Under her leadership:
a. black women's clubs established kindergartens, day-care centers, orphanages,
schools, and health-care programs, to name a few
b. the NACW also endorsed suffrage for black women, believing that this would be a
way of improving the life of African-Americans throughout the US
7. The creation of national organizations and networks extended ideas among black women leaders across regional boundaries.
a. for example, the Phillis Wheatley Home for the protection of single black urban
women, established by Jane Hunter in Cleveland in 1911, spurred the opening of similar homes
in Denver, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Greenville, Winston-Salem, Toledo, and
Minneapolis by 1934.
8. Two items are evident from the above examples:
a. the settlement tended to be led by middle-class black women
- of a sample 69 black female national leaders in welfare reform, 83% had a higher
education (compared to 86% of the sample 76 white female national leaders in welfare
b. one of the most important missions of black women's clubs was to protect women
from charges of "moral looseness," and from exploitation by white men.
- the other two important missions was education and health care
B. African American Men
1. In addition to the African-American clubwomen, there were three significant African-American men
between the 1890s and the 1920s.
a. Booker T. Washington
b. W.E.B. DuBois
c. Marcus Garvey
2. The following are a few more notes, but I also want you to think of these three men as part of an era, each overlaps into the other's lifetime--each calls for something slightly different.
3. Booker T. Washington became the chief spokesman for African-Americans after the death of Frederick Douglass in 1895.
a. born a slave, he was largely self-educated, but finished his education at
Hampton Institute in Virginia--the manual training school for freedmen.
b. although the people of Tuskegee, Alabama were hostile toward the establishment of
a school for organized for African Americans--Washington's students built their own school,
and Washington convinced white southerners that the students were there to learn to serve and
c. Tuskegee Institute became one of the country's leading black educational institutions.
d. as the students provided many of the services and much of the produce that
the surrounding white community needed, the hostility began to lessen.
e. thus, Washington became more and more convinced that this was the pattern necessary for
strengthening the position of African Americans throughout the South.
f. he became a advocate for industrial education, which would not antagonize Whites, but would,
at the same time, carve out a place of service for African Americans in their communities.
5. But, Washington emerged as a leader in 1895 with what becomes known as the "Atlanta Compromise."
a. his was a message of compromise and conciliation, or accommodation.
6. According to Washington, blacks should wait for wait for their full equality and work for social rights through economic progress.
a. segregation and second-class citizenship were to be accepted in the hope that African Americans would be allowed to share in the economy.
b. agitation for civil rights would not work--civil rights would only come from whites themselves--and blacks had to prove that they were worthy of the regard of whites.
7. Washington's public message won support for him from many whites. He was even invited to dine with President Roosevelt--although this was went a little to far for some whites.
8. It was not really Washington's intention, however, to keep African Americans as second-class citizens.
a. white's assumed that his program would permanently fix African Americans' place in society--at the service level.
b. yet, Washington urged Blacks to enter the professions if the opportunity presented itself.
c. and, privately, Washington supported many African Americans who called for stronger measures to gain equality.
9. Because of his public accommodationist message, many blacks referred to him as an "Uncle Tom," and he acquired many critics.
10. The major critic was William Edward Burghardt DuBois, or W.E.B. DuBois.
11. DuBois believed Washington's program would lead African Americans backward.
a.DuBois used the scienctific methods of investigation he had learned in Europe to investigate and compile sociological studies of black ghetto dwellers. In his book, The Soul of Black Folks, DuBois challenged Washington's accommodation message.
b. He claimed that blacks could make no real progress, no matter how much they ingratiated themselves with whites, as long as they were denied equal rights.
12. DuBois showed that accommodation was unrealistic, but his solution may also have been an unrealistic strategy. ("The Talented Tenth")
13. W.E.B. DuBois's beliefs were embodied in the Niagara Movement, which came out of a meeting held in Niagara Falls in 1905.
a. the movement called for freedom of speech and of the press, abolition of discrimination, and a recognition of the principle of brotherhood.
b. it was a small and all-Black organization yet served as the forerunner of the stronger, mixed organization--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1909.
14. DuBois, the only Black officer, was elected director of publicity and research
15. DuBois and the NAACP, although not a particularly large organization, was able to get some Supreme Court decisions in their favor:
a. 1915 Guinn vs. US: Supreme Ct declared the grandfather clauses in Maryland and Oklahoma constitutions were in violation of the 15th Amendment; thus, they were null and void.
b. 1917: Buchanan vs. Warley : Louisville ordinance which required blacks to live in certain sections of the city was declared unconstitutional.
c. 1923: Moore vs. Dempsey: ordered a new trial in Arkansas courts for a black man convicted of murder--NAACP argued that it was not a fair trial since blacks were excluded from the jury.
16. The NAACP, however, was very much a middle-class organization. And, after 1890, there were growing class divisions in African American culture, just as there were in the mainstream culture.
a. between 1890 and 1915, cities begin to attract more African American migrants and, as the black population increases, so does white hostility.
17. Thus, during the Progressive era, the physical separation of blacks and whites becomes much more rigid
18. We begin to see the formation of "improvement protective" clubs in cities--designed to keep blacks, even middle-class blacks out of predominantly white neighborhoods.
19. Discrimination in housing also led to higher rents.
a. Sophonisba Brekinridge of Hull House estimated that in the early 1900s, a black family "pays $12.50 for the same accommodations the Jew in the Ghetto received for $9.00 and the immigrant for $8.00.
b. "one realty company placed two advertisements for the same apartment in a daily newspaper: one read, "seven rooms, $25;" the other, "seven rooms for colored people, $37.50."
20. Thus, the voice of the NAACP was slowly overshadowed by the discrimination and racism during this era.
a. Blacks on the lower social and economic levels of society were inclined to regard it as an agency of upper-class blacks and white liberals who failed to join hands with them in their efforts to rise.
21. This feeling, regardless of its justification, made it possible for a man by the name Marcus Garvey and his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association to rise in importance. (book gives him some space on pg.454)
a. Garvey was born in Jamaica, where he had seen race prejudice against dark-skinned blacks.
b. he came to New York City in 1916 and through his weekly newspaper, The Negro
World, advocated his black nationalist organization--the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
22. Garvey's popularity was his appeal to race pride at a time when African Americans had very little in their lives of which to be proud.
a. Garvey preached that American blacks should be proud to be black, insisting that black stood for strength and beauty, not inferiority.
- he, however, criticized light-skinned blacks as well as whites.
b. he asserted that Africans had a noble past and that American blacks should be proud of their ancestry.
23. Garvey was also one of the first black men in America to call for "separation."
a. for Garvey, America was the land of the white man and it was futile to expect first class citizenship.
b. instead, Garvey advocated going back to Africa and building up a country of their own.
c. he also preached black economic power--the notion that blacks should operate their own stores and factories and control their own community economically. (similar to the 1960s idea of separation)
24. While the back-to-Africa movement had little appeal to the blacks of Harlem, black nationalism had enormous appeal.
a. as Martin Luther King, Jr. said of Garvey, "He was the first man on a mass scale to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny."
b. and that he did, as millions joined the movement--not known the exact numbers but anywhere from 1 to 4 M joined him.
25. Most African American leaders of the time regarded Garvey as an insincere, selfish imposter and DuBois was especially critical of Garvey.
26. And one of Garvey's business ventures led to his downfall.
a. Garvey used the mails to raise money for his steamship line, the Black Star Line, to take blacks to Africa.
b. yet, according to his wife, he raised around $10M but used only $1M for the steamship line.
c. thus, he was brought up on federal charges of using the mails to defraud
d. in 1923, he was convicted and remained in jail until President Coolidge pardoned and deported him in 1927.
27. What is important about Garvey is not really some of his unrealistic schemes, but the fact that it was the first mass movement among African Americans
a. it also indicated the extent to which blacks entertained doubts about their ever becoming first-class citizens in America.
1. Since the AFL would not organize the working-class in industrial areas, find many organizations fighting for better working conditions.
2. In 1903, the various women's unions joined together to form the National Women's Trade Union League (NWTUL). Membership combined trade unionists and wealthy women interested in labor problems and feminism.
a. first organization that attempted to develop a cooperative spirit between working and wealthy women.
3. The NWTUL endorsed equal pay for equal work, the right of workers to organize, the 8-hr. day, minimum wages, special legislation to protect women workers, and the rights of citizenship for women.
a. attempted to organize women into unions and supported strikes and pickets.
b. in 1905, 8,000 laundry workers in Troy, NY protested against new regulations and machines;
c. in 1909, 20,000 shirtwaist workers left their factories in New York and Philadelphia;
d. and in 1912, women textile workers in Lawrence, MA confronted management over conditions and hours.
4. Unfortunately, however, the NWTUL did not mute class consciousness. It was never able to resolve internal divisions between laboring and wealthy women--this can be seen in the fact that working-class women were members and wealthy women were called `allies.'
a. The NWTUL was successful, though, in training rank- and-file labor women who went on to help promote labor organizations and reforms.
b. one woman even went on to federal office. Mary Anderson, a stitcher and only woman member of the Board of International Boot and Shoe Workers, went on to become the first director of the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor in 1920
5. By 1912, the NWTUL shifted its priorities from organization toward legislation, which deepened internal division. Many working-class women believed this was not the right path. Like working-class men, they believed the key to better conditions was in collective bargaining not legislation.
6. This tactic, however, met with more success in terms of protective legislation for women
a. lobbied states to pass laws limiting working hours for women
b. by 1913, 30 states set max. hours or banned the employment of women at night-- varied by state
10. On the other hand, this also illustrates the middle-class bias that was projected upon working-class women.
a. many working women did not want hours reduced unless it was accompanied by an increase in wages.
e. if not, the reduced hours would mean reduced wages and they could not afford this
f. so, many sought minimum wage laws in order to establish a floor beneath the wage structure for women workers.
g. while they had some success--by 1920, 17 states had minimum wage laws--the Supreme Ct rejected the state laws during the 1920s, which essentially kills the movement for minimum wages until the 1930s
VI. National Level: Theodore Roosevelt
1. On a national level, progressive reformers found a friend in Theodore Roosevelt (TR).
2. His name soon became synonymous with Progressivism, and during his years as president (1901‑1908) TR gave momentum to the progressive movement.
a. he also reshaped the executive branch, earning the title of "the first modern president."
B. TR as Progressive Leader
1. Roosevelt viewed himself as the representative of the public/national interest‑‑ not of private interest.
2. Like the "typical" progressive, he regarded himself as above class divisions‑‑ he represented "the people", not just the upper classes or working classes
a. AND in typical progressive fashion, he was in truth, the representative of the urban middle‑class
3. TR was, in fact, mainstream middle‑of‑the‑road. He believed that a certain amount of reform was necessary to preserve the status quo.
a. REFORM was less a vehicle for remaking society for protecting it against more radical change
4. He saw only 2 options facing Americans‑‑ either doing a lot for "the people" (socialism) or doing a little (progressivism).
a. To avoid drastic change, TR sought to marshal support among the public (especially among those who might turn toward socialism) for safe reforms and thereby drain discontent into support for moderate change
5. Roosevelt also believed that a vigorous American needed a strong and active central government to lead the nation with confidence THUS: the executive branch was to provide the leadership
6. Advocated giving real authority, real power to strong men of good character
a. Compare with Carnegie's stewardship of wealth: This is idea of stewardship of nation idea--men of good, moral fiber as stewards of nation; know what is needed, above partisan politics
b. The President, of course, would educate and lead public opinion in defining national priorities: it was not simply his role to passively execute the laws of the land, nor just to administer by making reform "respectable," he actively shaped law and policy
7. This is an indication of the changed nature of the presidency; during TR's terms, the White House became the center of attention. He is the first president to give the press (media) quarters there and made himself available to press daily.
8. He also converted nation to ideal of creating strong independent commissions staffed by experts that would regulate large areas of national life without interference from Congress
C. TR and his Politics (1901-1908)
1. Although Roosevelt gained a reputation as a trust‑buster, he believed, as your book points out, in regulating trusts NOT in dissolving them.
a. during his seven years in office, he brought 44 more corporations to court, but economic concentration continued with little trouble.
b. it was actually the Taft Administration, not considered a particularly progressive one, which instituted 90 anti-trust suits and secured 43 indictments--double those of TR
2. In R eyes, the growth of large industry was natural, inevitable, and beneficial to progress. To turn this progress back by legislation was naïve and retrogressive.
3. What TR did was to make a distinction between the size and behavior of industry; he made his own definition of "good" and "bad" trusts.
4. The key to Roosevelt was his belief that big business should be controlled in the public interest by the national government.
a. Roosevelt, however, was often too willing to compromise and ended up weakening his own legislation.
5. For instance, Roosevelt was able to get Congress to pass the Hepburn Act in 1906, that gave a more authority to the Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
a. The Hepburn Act gave ICC power to set maximum rates and extended its scope beyond rrs to include most forms of national transportation systems.
5. For dedicated progressives, however, this was only half loaf
a. Several drawbacks:
- Part of compromise reached to pass the law: ICC rates under challenge by carriers in court would be suspended pending decision of court
- Preferred that ICC rates continue in effect while pending
7. Two other important bills were passed which illustrates Roosevelt's determination to get the federal government into the business of regulation. Both bills came partly in response to exposes by muckrakers, and fit in with R's plan of government as the protector of the people.
8. In 1906, the Meat Inspection Act, followed the publication of Upton Sinclair's book called The Jungle:
a. Sinclair wrote an expose of the Chicago slaughterhouses‑‑ spoiled meat, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, etc.
9. Roosevelt sent 2 agents to Chicago & they confirmed Sinclair's story:
"Slime and manure covered the walks leading into the plants. The buildings lacked adequate ventilation and lighting. All the equipment-the conveyors, meat racks, cutting tables, and tubs-- rotted under a blanket of filth and blood. Meat scraps for canning or sausages sat in pools on the grimy floors. Large portions of ground rope and pigskin went into the potted ham."
10. Thus, the meat packing industry fit Roosevelt's definition of a "bad" trust, since its disregard for even minimum health standards threatened all classes of Americans.
a. it also threatened the economy since European countries who were buying American canned meat had been returning it because it was rotten-- some countries were actually banning American canned meat.
b. The new report gave Roosevelt some leverage with Congress
11. The act called for: federal inspection of meats destined for interstate commerce and gave Agriculture Dept. officials to impose standards of sanitation
12. Law, however, had its limits:
a. original law called for a head fee on cattle to pay for inspections and a date to be stamped on the products
b. packers rallied enough support to defeat these portions--gov't compromised--part of compromise was that the federal gov't would pay for the inspections and meat packers could appeal decisions in court
c. Large companies didn't mind some regulation, especially if it would get the European market back
d. keep in mind this does not affect companies selling on the local or state level.
d. never enough officials to go around and offered another avenue for bribery
13. The Pure Food and Drug Act, the second piece of legislation followed another expose--this one by Samuel Hopkins Adams who showed the dangers of patent medicines which contained mostly alcohol, and drugs.
a. Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound--advertised to work wonders in the relief of "female "complaints"-- no wonder, 18% alcohol
b. Milk dealers regularly increased their profits by diluting their products with chalk, plaster and molasses to fortify the color and taste:
People knew this was happening: a popular jingle of the day expressed the widespread skepticism with processed foods:
"Things are seldom what they seem;
Skim milk masquerades as cream;
Lard and soap we eat for cheese;
butter is but axle grease."
c. And there were items that could be positively dangerous: Some face powders of women contained arsenic-- the "youthful glow" that it gave them was because they were slowly being poisoned
13. The Pure Food and Drug Act placed restrictions on makers of prepared foods and patent medicines, prohibited manufacturers from selling or transporting "adulterated, misbranded, or harmful foods, drugs, and liquors."
a. Manufactures were now required to list certain ingredients on the label--not all ingredients, only those deemed "harmful."
b. enforcement will be a problem, however.
Impt: BOTH of these reinforced principle of government regulation
14. And, finally Roosevelt's handling of the Anthracite Coal Strike in 1902 further confirmed TR's notion/image of President as Steward of the Nation:
a. it was the duty of the federal government to reconcile tensions between labor and business for the welfare of the public
16. Established a number of precedents:
a. It was the first time that the influence of national government used to negotiate a settlement
b. first time a President appointed an arbitration board which both sides agreed to abide by
c. first time President threatened the use of troops to operate an industry in order to break a union
VII. National Level: Woodrow Wilson (WW)
1. Woodrow Wilson came to the presidency already having established a reputation as a Progressive politician while governor of New Jersey
a. as governor, he had pushed through a reluctant legislature almost the entire prog. reform platform
b. direct primary, workmen's comp, state control of rr's and public utilities
2. BUT as president, his views were slightly different
3. Wilson wanted to free the American people from the control of a large concentration of wealth and power
4. He was also a state's rights Democrat--which meant that WW wanted to rein in federal authority NOT increase it as Roosevelt believed necessary
5. Wilson welcomed the free marketplace and rejected the idea of a planned economy
a. he wanted to restore economic competition without a lot of fed. intervention
b. in WW view: Monopolies developed in conditions of unregulated competition. Instead of regulating monopolies, Wilson wanted to regulate competition so there would be no monopolies.
6. AND: while Wilson accepted social justice as an admirable goal, he worried that gov't sponsored social welfare programs would threaten constitutional freedoms (right to contract, personal liberties) and make people dependent upon the fed. gov't
7. Basically, for Wilson, the purpose of federal gov't was to eliminate special privileges and artificial barriers (such as trusts) to individual progress
a. AND by doing so, to restore and preserve competition in business
B. President Wilson
1. The underlying principle of Wilson's domestic program was to ensure opportunity for economic advancement for all citizens.
2. Wilson believed that the success/future of America depended on the ability of the "common man" to rise on the economic ladder. This was possible only if competition prevailed.
3. Saw three obstacles to be removed to ensure economic opportunity:
1. Progressives regarded the tariff as an example of the unrestrained power of trusts, and in Wilson's view it weakened competition by protecting American manufacturers.
a. while R had avoided dealing with this issue and Taft had bungled its revision; Wilson moved quickly and forcefully to reduce it.
2. The Underwood‑Simmons Tariff (1913) marked the first downward revision in 20 years and the largest since before the Civil War
a. Intent: eliminate special advantages which protectionism provided for US manufacturers and place domestic industries in a genuinely competitive position with European manufacturers.
b. Products that didn't occupy a dominant position in the world market were still protected moderately
c. HOWEVER: "supreme" companies such as steel, iron, sugar, wood, steel products, and agricultural. machinery‑- notice that these were mainly manufactured goods of the trusts
d. Wilson hoped that the tariff reduction would benefit the consumer and reduce the cost of living
a. The passage of the Underwood bill confirmed WW's dominance in the Democratic Party and his presidential leadership
b. By its passage, Wilson challenged the GOP system of privileged tariff protection for industry
c. The Underwood‑Simmons Tariff began a momentous shift in government revenue from its 19th C base‑‑ public lands, alcohol taxes, and customs duties‑‑ to its 20th base‑‑ personal and corporate incomes
- the 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913, introduced the federal income tax for the first time in history‑‑ both corporations and personal income
D. Credit System
1. Secondly, through the report of a congressional committee investigating the "money trust", Wilson found out that the nation's credit system was concentrated in a few powerful Eastern investment firms.
2. Without a stable but flexible currency, Wilson's free market would be choked by high interest rates or tight money by the great investment firms.
a. Thus: WW wanted to decentralize control over credit
3. So, Federal Reserve Act 1913--was the second part of WW program
4. The Federal Reserve Act created not one central bank BUT 12 regional Federal Reserve banks deliberately scattered around the country
5. HOWEVER: the act also created a central Federal Reserve Board in Washington, appointed by the president, which supervised the entire system.
1. Finally, W attacked the always present problem of monopolies dominating industry
2. 2. In 1914, Wilson took on the trusts with the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act
3. Wilson felt that the conflicting ways in which the Sherman Antitrust Act had been implemented in previous years made some clarification necessary
a. so the Clayton Act listed unfair trade practices‑‑ such as price discrimination, holding companies‑‑ but only when they tended to create a monopoly.
b. mainly to prevent the growth of new monopolies
4. The Clayton bill also limited (but did not eliminate) the issuance of injunctions in labor disputes
a. it declared that unions were not illegal combinations in restraint of trade IF they sought to lawfully obtain legitimate objectives.
b. the courts, however, continued to rule against union activity
5. A companion bill, the Federal Trade Commission, created a interstate trade commission which could investigate problems, order corporate compliance with regulations and had the power to prosecute against "unfair trade practices"
6. HOWEVER, Wilson was no extremist. He appointed commissioners who were sympathetic to the business community and accepted a revision of the law that gave the conservative courts the power to review all FTC decisions
1. Once Wilson obtained these four pieces of legislation, he considered the New Freedom program finished
2. He refused to support or sponsor special interest legislation, such as special long-term loans to farmers or child labor laws
3. Wilson wanted to regulate competition not create a welfare state
4. But in the elections of 1914, Republicans cut Democrat majorities in the House and won important industrial and farm states.
5. Wilson began edging toward social programs in order to strengthen his hand in the presidential election of 1916
a. able to maneuver passage of the Keating‑Owen Child Labor Act in 1916 (although declared (unconstitutional in 1918)
b. Supported the Federal Farm Act and the Warehouse Act which furnished farmers with long‑term, federally supported, low‑interest loans based on the value of their crops and land (similar to the Subtreasury Plan of the Farmer's Alliance) and which he had refused to do in 1913
c. AND signed the Adamson Act mandating an eight‑hour day at 10 hrs pay for workers on all interstate rrs.
6. In the end Wilson looked much like TR with such acts as the FTC and FRB which actually called for more gov't regulation not less and later social justice reforms
7. Yet, New Freedom did not actually restore competition: conservative commissioners and courts; gov't continued to regulate industry