Unit 8: The Progressive Era (1890’s to late 1910’s/early 1920’s) The Progressive Era

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Unit 8: The Progressive Era (1890’s to late 1910’s/early 1920’s)
The Progressive Era is a period of reform in which many of the problems that the U.S. faced during industrialization were addressed or solved. During industrialization, it was common for children to work in unsafe factories alongside their parents who would work 70-80 hours a week. Life at home wasn’t any better as most American were poor, ate spoiled food and lived in crowded, dirty tenements. During The Progressive Era, the U.S. government moved away from its Laissez-faire policy and began to regulate businesses. The movement grew from the Granger Movement and Populist Party that organized farmers in an attempt to break up the railroad monopoly that had been exploiting (taking advantage of) farmers by overcharging them for shipping. The Populist Platform called for more popular involvement in government such as direct election of senators, initiative, referendum and recall. Even though they lost, they paved the way for many reforms.

The Progressives were a political, social and economic movement, which fought for the poor and working class people that were being exploited during industrialization. Many writers, reporters, and social activists like Upton Sinclair and Jacob Riis contributed to solving the many problems that developed during industrialization. Workers began to group together in labor unions in order to fight for better wages, shorter work hours, and safer working conditions. The public and government did not support unions at first but key events like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire eventually made people realize that workers' rights were being violated by big businesses. Presidents read the works of the Progressive writers and made reforms based on their writings; they became known as The Progressive Presidents. President Theodore Roosevelt is considered to be the American President at this time most responsible for protecting Americans from the abuses of business. Roosevelt worked tirelessly to pass Anti Trust Acts, improve health and safety conditions in factories and make sure the food we eat is safe. President William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson were also Progressive Presidents who passed reforms.

The Progressive movement continued to 1920 when women received the right to vote with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment. However, the Progressive Movement ends when America enters World War I.

Vocabulary Words

1) The Granger Movement - farmers who pushed for government regulation of railroads

2) The Populist Party – a new political party started by William Jennings Bryan to represent workers and farmers against railroads, banks and big business, and to get political reforms.

3) The Progressive Movement – Movement where people (muckrakers) identified and fought against the social, political and economic problems in the United

States due to urbanization (growth of cities) and industrialization (growth of businesses)

4) Theodore Roosevelt - Progressive President (1901-1908) who’s Square Deal Policies broke up monopolies, created the Meat Inspection Act and was also a trustbuster – breaking up monopolies.

5) Trust-busting - when the government uses antitrust acts to break up trusts/monopolies

6) Anti Trust Acts - laws that tried to stop the spread of monopolies such as the Clayton Anti-Trust Act and Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

7) Meat Inspection Act (1906) - cleanliness requirements for all meat plants that were enforced with inspectors

8) Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) - required companies to label ingredients in food and drug products

9) Muckrakers - reporters who expose problems, corruption and the abuse of industry

10) Upton Sinclair - wrote The Jungle a book about the unclean and unsafe conditions of the meatpacking industry.

11) Jacob Riis - photographed the horrible living conditions of the urban poor in his book How the Other Half Lives

12) Initiative - allows citizens, instead of politicians, to come up with state bills (ideas for laws)

13) Referendum - allows citizens, instead of politicians, to vote on certain state bills

14) Recall - allows citizens, instead of politicians, to remove a politician from office

15) Seneca Falls Convention (1848) – a meeting of women, led by Susan B. Anthony to demand Women's Suffrage.

16) Suffrage - the right to vote. The 19th Amendment grants Women’s Suffrage

17) Labor Unions- Groups of workers who used the threat of going on strike in order to bargain for better working condition and higher salaries. (Terrence Powderly’s Knights of Labor, Samuel Gomper’s American Federation of Labor - AFL)

18) Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911) - 150 women die in a factory fire because of unsafe conditions

19) Tenements – small, unsafe apartments that immigrants in NYC would often live in.

20) Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall - The corrupt government of New York City that took advantage of people and immigrants through taxes, corrupt deals, etc.

21) Thomas Nastcartoonist who exposed corruption, especially against Boss Tweed.

22) Ida Tarbell – Wrote about the corruption of the Standard Oil Company.

23) Jane Adamsworked in Hull Houses that were houses for the poor.

24) Woodrow Wilsonanother Progressive President. His “New Nationalism Program” targeted child labor, better working conditions, regulating banks and breaking up trusts.

25) Progressive PresidentsPresidents T. Roosevelt, W. Wilson and W. Taft; each of these tried to create important economic, social and political reforms to address the problems of the time.

Study Questions: Answer in a paragraph (4-7 sentences each.)
1) What was the Progressive Movement? Was it successful? Why/why not?

2) What was the Populist Movement? Was it successful? Why/why not?
3) What are muckrakers? Give three examples of three muckrakers and how they tried to accomplish change?

4) Who were the Progressive Presidents? How did they try to bring change? Were they successful? Why/why not?

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