Chapter 22: Progressives and Reformers I. Early Reformers A. Taming the Spoils System



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Unit 7

A New Role for the Nation


Chapter 22: Progressives and Reformers
I. Early Reformers
A. Taming the Spoils System - People sought government jobs as rewards for their political support.

1. Patronage - Giving jobs to loyal supporters.



  1. Patronage existed at the national, state and local level.

  2. often led to corruption

2. Efforts at reform - In 1877, President Hayes took steps toward ending the spoils system.

a) must be qualified for the job
3. In 1881 President Garfield called for reform of the Civil Service.


  1. Civil Service- includes all federal jobs except elected positions and the armed forces

  2. Garfield thought that people should get government jobs on the basis of merit.

c) An angry office seeker shot Garfield before he could put his reforms into action.
4. Exams for federal jobs - In 1883, Congress set up the Civil Service Commission.

a) People who scored highest on the exams got the jobs.


B. Regulating Big Business - Many Americans believed that big business controlled the government by bribing them with large sums of money.

1. Interstate Commerce Act - forbade practices such as pools and rebates.

a) Set up the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to oversee the railroad industry.

b) Sherman Anti-Trust Act - prohibited trusts or other businesses from limiting competition.


II. The Progressive Movement



A. Reforming City Governments
1. Boss Rule - Powerful politicians, known as "bosses," came to rule many cities.

a) They controlled all of the work done in cities.

b) They demanded payoffs from businesses.

c) They were popular with the poor, and provided jobs and gave loans to the needy.


2. The Tweed Ring - In New York City, Boss William Tweed carried corruption to new heights.

a) In the 1860s and 1870s, he cheated NY out of $100 million.

b) Reformers tried to have him jailed.

c) Thomas Nast drew political cartoons of Tweed for Harper's Weekly.

d) Tweed fled to Spain. Local police recognized him from the Nast cartoons.
3. Good Government Leagues - Their goal was to replace corrupt officials with honest leaders.

a) sent some corrupt leaders to jail.


B. Rousing Public Opinion - Reformers ignited public anger by using the press as a weapon.

1. Muckraker's- Newspaper reporters exposed the horrors of everyday life in the poor sections of the cities.

a) People said they raked the dirt, or muck, and exposed it to public view.

b) Photographers, such as Jacob Riis, provided views of slum life.

c) Lincoln Steffens - wrote stories about corrupt city governments.

d) Ida Tarbell- targeted big business.


2. The Jungle - A novel written by Upton Sinclair about the horrible working conditions and living conditions experienced many immigrants and the poor. It also revealed gruesome details about the meat packing industry in Chicago.

a) Although the book was fiction, it was based on things the author had seen himself.

b) Led to laws passed to improve meat inspection.
C. Progressives in Action - forward thinking people who wanted to improve American life.


  1. The Progressive Era - Progressives won many changes in the period from 1898 to 1917.

a) Believed that public interest, or the good of the people, should guide government actions.

b) Many women played important roles. They were believed to be morally superior to men.




  1. Among the leading progressives was Robert La Follette. In 1900, he was elected governor of Wisconsin.

a) Battling Bob - "The will of the people shall be the law of the land."

b) He introduced a plan of Progressive reforms- lowered railroad rates, which increased rail traffic (everybody wins!).

c) His Wisconsin Idea spread to other states.
3. The Will of the People - believed people would make the right decisions if given the chance. As a result, they pressed for reforms to give voters more power.

a) Progressives urged political parties to hold primaries before a general election.

b) Primary- voters choose their party's candidate from among several people.

c) Initiative gave voters the right to put a bill directly before the state legislature.

d) Referendum gave voters the power to make a bill become a law.

e) Recall allowed voters to remove an elected official from office.


D. Other Progressive Reforms.
1. Favored lowering Tariffs on imported goods.

a) If American industry had to compete with foreign products it would lower prices.


2. Supported a graduated income tax. The wealthy would have to pay taxes at a higher rate than the poor or middle class.

a) In 1895, the Supreme Court ruled that an income tax was unconstitutional.


3. In 1909, Congress passed the Sixteenth Amendment- gave congress the right to impose an income tax.

a) Seventeenth Amendment- allowed for the direct election of senators.


III. Presidents Back Progressive Goals.
A. A Reforming President
1. In 1896 William McKinley was elected. During his first term his popularity soared as business boomed.

  1. He knew Progressives were gaining strength.

b) In 1900, he asked Teddy Roosevelt to be his running mate. (Governor of NY)

c) In September 1901, an assassin shot William McKinley, TR. became President.


B. TR Takes on the Trusts.

  1. Good and Bad Trusts-Good trusts were efficient and fair, bad trusts cheated the public and took advantage of their workers.




  1. The Northern Securities Case - TR. said J.P. Morgan's Northern Securities used unfair business practices violating the Sherman Act.

a) Business people worried.

b) In 1904, the Supreme Court found that Northern Securities violated the Sherman AntiĀ­trust Act by limiting trade.

c) The Court ordered the trust to be broken up.

d) Teddy Roosevelt filed suits against more companies. Some business leaders called Roosevelt Trustbuster.


3. Trouble in the coal fields- In 1902, coal miners in Pennsylvania went on strike. They wanted better pay and a shorter workday.

a) Mine owners did not want to negotiate.

b) Roosevelt threatened to send in troops to run the mines if they did not find a solution.

c) Working people around the country cheered Roosevelt's action.


C. The Promise of a Square Deal. In 1904, TR. ran for president. He promised Americans a Square Deal.

  1. Square Deal-Different groups-farmers and consumers, workers and owners- should have an equal opportunity to succeed. He won by a landslide.

  2. Regulating railroads

a) Elkins Act (1903) outlawed rebates.

b) Hepburn Act (1906) gave the ICC greater power including the right to set railroad rates.




3. Protecting consumers

a) Meat Inspection Act (1906) forced packers to open their doors to inspectors.

b) Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)required food and drug makers to list all ingredients on their packages.
4. Protecting natural resources - TR. grew alarmed about the destruction of the wilderness.

a) Conservation - the protection of natural resources.

b) 194,000 acres were set aside for national parks.
D. Taft and the Reformers

1. In 1908 TR. supported Taft for president. Taft was very different from Roosevelt. He was quiet and cautious.

a) He did push ahead with trust busting even more vigorously.

b) He signed a high tariff bill and lost progressives support.

c) They also attacked him for blocking conservation policies.
2. Roosevelt decided to run against Taft for the Republican nomination in 1912.

a) Many Republican business people distrusted Roosevelt and voted for Taft, who won.

b) Bull Moose Party- Progressive Republicans were furious. They set up a new party with TR. as their candidate.
3. A Democratic victory- Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive, became President.
E. President Woodrow Wilson
1. The New Freedom- He wanted to break up trusts and restore competition.

a) Lowered tariffs to create more competition.

b) Imposed a graduated income tax to make up for lower tariffs.

c) To regulate banking, congress passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.
2. Controlling big business - he decided to control big business, no destroy it.

a)Federal Trade Commission- had the power to investigate companies.
3. Despite Wilson's successes, the Progressive movement slowed.

a) They had achieved many of their goals.

b) Outbreak of WWI captured public attention.



IV. Women in the Progressive Era

A. Votes for women.

1. Struggle for women's suffrage went back for many years,

a) 1869 - National Women's Suffrage Association formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

b) Late 1800s - women gain the right to vote in 4 states: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho.

2. In the early 1900s the Suffragist Movement gained strength.

a) Suffragists- people who campaigned for women's right to vote.

b) Year by year more states in the Midwest gave in.


B. Protest at the White House.

1. Alice Paul - led protest outside the White House that lasted several months.

a) She wanted President Wilson's support to get constitutional amendment.

b) Alice Paul was eventually sent to jail for several months. She refused to eat.

2. Victory at last - In 1919, congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
C. Women Win New Opportunities


  1. 1. Higher Education - needed to enter many professions.

a) Women were accepted to more Universities.

  1. 2. Commitment to Reform

a) Some women entered the new profession of social work.

b) Women joined clubs- sought ways to improve their minds.


D. The Temperance Crusade

1. Women's Christian Temperance Union (1874) - Many wives and mothers saw alcohol as a threat to their families.



  1. a) Frances Willard, leader of the WCTU, worked to educate people about the evils of alcohol.

b) Carry Nation - After her husband died from heavy drinking, she dedicated her life to fighting "demon rum."

2. In 1917, the U.S. entered WWI. Temperance leaders argued that grain used to make liquor could be used to feed soldiers.

a) The Eighteenth Amendment (1919)- made it illegal to sell alcoholic drinks anywhere in the U.S.
V. Minorities Seek Equality and Justice

A. African Americans fight discrimination - Jim Crow laws had led to segregation in schools, on trains, and in other public places.

1. Violence against African Americans -The depression of 1893 put many people out of work.

a) I n the South, unemployed whites took their anger out on blacks.

b) Lynch mobs murdered more than 1,000 African Americans.

2. Ida Wells- An African American journalist, who published a newspaper, called Free Speech, in Tennessee.

a) She urged African Americans to protest the lynchings.
3. Booker T. Washington - In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, he told how he fought discrimination and violence.

a) He founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. It became a center for black higher education.

b) He stressed living in harmony with the whites.

c) Told blacks to work patiently and move slowly upward.

d) Learn trades, earn money - than they would have the power to insist on political and social equality.

4. W.E.B. Du Bois, a professor, author, and public speaker, had a different view.

a) He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard.

b) He believed thrift, patience and training were important but blacks must fight discrimination.

5. NAACP - In 1909, Du Bois joined Jane Addams, Lincoln Steffens, and other reformers to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
6. Some African Americans succeeded despite huge obstacles.

a) Madame C.J. Walker, became the first American women, black or white, to earn over $1 million dollars. She created a line of hair products for African American women.

b) George Washington Carver, a scientist, discovered hundreds of new uses for crops grown in the South.

B. A New Generation of Native Americans

1. Native Americans struggled to survive.

a) The Dawes Act had granted Native Americans 160- acre plots on reservation lands.

b) Indians were supposed to become farmers.

c) Instead they were swindled out of millions of acres of land.
2. In the early 1900s, the Society of American Indians was set up. It included artists, writers, Christian ministers, lawyers, and doctors from many Native American groups.

a) They worked for social justice.


C. Asian American Experience
1. As a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Chinese population slowly declined.
2. Businesses on the west coast turned to the other Asian lands for cheaper labor.

a) More than 100,000 Japanese entered the U.S. in the early 1900s. Many became farmers.

3. American farmers and factory workers resented the newcomers.

a) Teddy Roosevelt signed the Gentlemen's Agreement in 1907.

b) Gentlemen's Agreement-Japan agreed to limit the number of workers coming to the U.S. In exchange, the U.S. allowed wives of Japanese men already hear to join them.
D. Mexican American Rights - In 1910, revolution and famine spread across Mexico.

1. To escape, thousands of Mexicans crossed the border. Although many returned to Mexico, some remained.

a) They worked in fields harvesting crops.

b) They helped build highways, railways, and irrigation systems.

c) Mexicans who moved to cities created their own neighborhoods, called barrios.

2. Some Americans responded with violence to the

flood of immigrants from Mexico.

a) In defense, Mexican Americans formed Mutualistas, or mutual aide groups who pooled money to buy insurance or pay for legal advice.



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Chapter 22 Notes


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