The Progressive Movement (1901-1917) was initiated as a
response to political and corporate abuses at the turn of the
Twentieth Century. Religious groups, members of the press, and
radical political groups all cried out for reform, with
solutions ranging from subtle reforms of the American
capitalist economy, to a call for the creation of a socialist
Reforms were initiated by individuals, and at the city,
state, and national levels of government. President
Theodore Roosevelt supported the movement by embracing
environmental conservation, forcing arbitration in the
Anthracite Coal Strike, and busting monopolies that were
harmful to the public.
A number of social reformers also worked to reform what
they viewed as the ills negatively impacting United States
|Pioneer in the field of
social work who founded the settlement house movement
through the establishment of Hull House in
|Educated urban poor about the
benefits of family planning through birth control. She
founded the organization that became Planned
|Former slave who founded the Tuskegee
Institute that focused on teaching African-Americans
trade skills to earn a living and gain the trust of
|Founder of the NAACP,
and a Harvard-educated professor who focused on the need
for a traditional liberal arts education for
African-Americans who could then insist upon equal
treatment and rights from white society.
Muckrakers were members of the press that
investigated corruption in order to expose problems to the
American people. They had a great amount of influence, often
resulting in the passage of laws designed to reform the abuse
that they reported.
These muckrakers recalled the efforts of early reformers
who exposed corruption in print. Thomas Nast worked diligently
to expose the abuses of the NYC political machine called Tammany
Hall and its leader Boss Tweed through the use of
political cartoons. Jacob Riis exposed the plight of the urban
poor and substandard housing in his 1890 book How
the Other Half Lives.
|Political corruption by
NYC's political machine, Tammany Hall, led by Boss
||Tweed was convicted of embezzlement
and died in prison.
the Other Half Lives
|Living conditions of the
urban poor; focused on tenements.
||NYC passed building codes to
promote safety and health.
||A Red Record
||Provided statistics on the
lynching of African-Americans.
||NAACP joined the fight for
Federal anti-lynching legislation.
||This fictional book
exposed monopolistic railroad practices in California.
||In Northern Securities v.
U.S. (1904), the holding company controlling
railroads in the Northwest was broken up.
of Standard Oil Company" in McClure's
|Exposed the ruthless
tactics of the Standard Oil Company through a series of
articles published in McClure's Magazine.
||In Standard Oil v. U.S. (1911),
the company was declared a monopoly and broken up.
Shame of the Cities
corruption in cities across the United States.
||Cities began to use city
commissions and city managers.
working conditions and unsanitary procedures in the
||In 1906 the Meat Inspection
Act and Pure Food and Drug Act were passed.
Progressive reform began at the local or city level
because it was easier to implement than at the vast state or
national level. Urban corruption from political machines was a
major focus, resulting in the reorganization of local
government using the commissioner-and city-manager-styles of
|Cities hired experts in
different fields to run a single aspect of city
government. For example, the sanitation commissioner
would be in charge of garbage and sewage removal.
|A professional city manager
is hired to run each department of the city and report
directly to the city council.
Reform governors such as Theodore Roosevelt of
New York, Robert M. LaFollete of Wisconsin, and Woodrow
Wilson of New Jersey, all helped get reforms passed in
their respective states. In addition, reforms first proposed
by the Populist Party were enacted in order to make state
governments more responsive to the needs of the people.
||Privacy at the ballot box
ensures that citizens can cast votes without party
bosses knowing how they voted.
||Allows voters to petition
state legislatures in order to consider a bill desired
||Allows voters to decide if a
bill or proposed amendment should be passed.
||Allows voters to petition to
have an elected representative removed from office.
|Ensures that voters select
candidates to run for office, rather than party bosses.
During the Progressive Era, the Federal Government
passed an enormous amount of legislation designed to conserve
the environment, tighten past economic regulations, preserve
the health and safety of American citizens, and generally
provide needed capitalist reforms.
Era Federal Legislation
|Encouraged conservation by
allowing the building of dams and irrigations systems
using money from the sale of public lands.
|Outlawed the use of rebates
by railroad officials or shippers.
Food and Drug Act
|Required that companies
accurately label the ingredients contained in processed
|In direct response to Upton
Sinclair's The Jungle, this law required that
meat processing plants be inspected to ensure the use of
good meat and health-minded procedures.
|Strengthened the Interstate
Commerce Commission, allowing it to set maximum railroad
|Created 12 district
Federal Reserve Banks, each able to issue new currency
and loan member banks funds at the prime interest rate,
as established by the Federal Reserve Board.
|Strengthened the Sherman
Antitrust Act by outlawing the creation of a monopoly
through any means, and stated that unions were not
subject to antitrust legislation.
|Established the Federal Trade
Commission, charged with investigating unfair business
practices including monopolistic activity and inaccurate
To provide a stable base of income for the Federal
Government while providing graduated taxation, the 16th
Amendment was passed. Political machines were weakened by
the passage of the 17th Amendment which allowed state
citizens to directly elect representatives to the U.S. Senate,
instead of allowing party-controlled state legislatures to do
so. In addition, the Temperance
Movement and the Women's
Suffrage Movement finally paid off with the passage of
the 17th Amendment and the 18th Amendment.
||Granted Congress the power to tax income.
||Provided for the direct election of U.S.
||Prohibited making, selling, or
||Provided women suffrage (voting).