- Problems affected the U.S. in 1900:
a. Many people couldn't earn enough money to have decent
b. Many violent strikes occurred because of low wages
and unsafe working conditions for most urban
c. Thousands of farmers went bankrupt
or became tenant farmers.
d. Serious crime and disease were common in crowded neighborhoods
in big cities.
e. Government at the local, state, and federal level was corrupt.
Changes in Attitudes
The depression of 1893
- The depression of 1893 changed the attitude of middle-class people
about poverty because they noticed that not only people who were
lazy or unfit but also middle-class people could lose their jobs.
Awareness of problems
- People's awareness of the problems in America increased because:
a. William Jennings Bryan, a Democratic candidate, made hundreds
of speeches about the economic problems many people had during his
election campaign of 1896.
b. Books and magazines described the problems caused by corruption
or unfair practices regularly.
- Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle" told about:
a. The unhealthy way meat was processed and packaged.
b. The terrible lives of the workers in Chicago meatpacking industry.
c. How local political corruption allowed these unsafe practices
to be continued.
Views on changing government
- People thought that government should not change because they
believed the government was based on Christian moral values that
should always be the same.
- People thought that government should change because only a small
number of wealthy businessmen were controlling the lives of millions
of other people.
- According to Darwin's theory of evolution, some plants and animals
were better able to survive changes in their environment because
they made changes themselves as their environment changed.
The Progressive Era
- The years from 1900 to 1916 were called the Progressive Era because
changes in people's attitudes produced gradual changes in how government
- Two kinds of improvements made during the Progressive Era:
a. The relief improvements to improve the standard of living for
b. The regulation improvements to make elections more honest and
- Progressives believed that solving the problems needed government
- Middle-class women and well-educated, young women from wealthy
families were most responsible for starting progressive improvements.
- Most Progressives wanted to solve America's problems by making
business practices honest and fair.
- Socialism is a form of government that the farmers, workers, and
government officials own or control most of the economy.
- The most well-known socialist in the U.S. was Eugene Debs who
formed the American Railway Union.
and Local Solutions
- Middle-class people became concerned with the problems of poor
neighborhoods because of the spread of diseases.
- Some of the concerns middle-class women had for poor mothers and
a. Many families couldn't afford milk for their children.
b. Mothers who worked did not often have any place to leave their
c. Women worked long hours in dangerous conditions and young children
worked instead of attending school.
Settlement of houses
- Settlement housing offered services to help poor people's medical
problems and to help find jobs, recreation,
and food and clothing.
- Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr started settlement houses in
- Jane Addams received the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Settlement-house workers tried to help women and children by pressuring
government to start a special court for young people, to start kindergartens,
vocational education classes, and special classes for immigrant
children, and to build playgrounds and parks and garbage collection
service in crowded neighborhoods.
Regulation of Local Government
- City governments were corrupted because politicians often took
bribes from companies that did business with the city government.
- Patronage system is a way to hire people for city government
jobs because of their friendship with politicians not because of
- Political bosses helped immigrants and poor people to find their
jobs or place to live to get votes from them in return.
- Boss Tweed used city government corruption to become rich by requiring
all city employees to overcharge the city on all construction jobs.
Good government candidates
- Middle-class people became more involved in local politics by sponsoring
candidates who were often called "good government" candidates.
- Mayor Thomas Johnson was considered a good government candidate
because he held public meetings for citizens to present their problems
to government officials.
- Mayor Samuel Jones was also a good candidate because he set up
free kindergartens and playgrounds and made the police give up their
heavy clubs for lighter sticks and stop the practice of jailing
people without charging them with a crime.
- In an "at large election", candidates for city offices were elected
from the city as a whole and not from just small neighborhoods. This
helped elect more good government candidates and fewer city bosses.
- In the city manager plan, the city council was elected by the
people, but the council had to appoint a trained person to be in
charge of city employees and their work. This person was called
the city manager.
- The city manager would hire people based on their ability to
do their job rather than on their friendship with a politician,
which made it more difficult to corrupt a city.
- Progressives were more successful in improving government in small
and middle-sized cities than in large cities because political bosses
had too much support from city workers and immigrants
in larger cities.
and State Level Solutions
- Progressives realized that many of the problems at the local level
were affected by state laws, which is why they began to work at
a state level.
State Level Relief
- 1913 - Thomas Mott Osborn successfully led a campaign to improve
the New York prison system.
- Prisoner abuse decreased and prison buildings were cleaned up.
They were provided with better plumbing and ventilation
- 1830 - children were not required to attend school.
- Progressives thought it was important for all children to have
some schooling so they could get better jobs.
- Many states began passing laws requiring children under a certain
age to attend school. At the same time laws were being passed that
prevented young children from working in factories.
- Between 1870 and 1910, the number of students attending public
school grew from 7 million to nearly 18 million.
- Endow means to invest money and use the income from that investment
to pay many of the school's expenses.
- Many wealthy businessmen and railroad men endowed colleges to
meet the increased need for adequate workers.
- Early 1900s, colleges were not exclusive just to children of the
State Regulations on Working Conditions
- Many problems on using child labor in early 1900s:
a. Children were paid very low wages.
b. They often worked in very bad conditions, very dangerous and
- From 1902-1914 most states adopted new child-labor laws:
a. Prohibited hiring children under the age of 14 to work in factories.
b. Prohibited children from doing dangerous work or working at night.
c. Limited how many hours children could work.
d. Required safety inspections
if children worked in factories or mines.
- These reforms didn't cover children who worked in the food-production
industries, in the fields, or canning factories. So child labor
remained common in the states, especially in states that had large
- Why factory inspection laws and regulations had limited effectiveness:
a. There was not adequate money to hire enough state inspectors.
b. Many factory owners ignored health and safety regulations
Other working-condition regulations
- State legislatures were often controlled by people representing
the interests of big business.
- In a few states, regulations were passed that restricted
the number of hours adult workers were allowed to work at certain
State Regulations for Government Fairness
- State legislatures were often controlled by people representing
the interests of big businesses.
The direct primary
- In a direct primary, the people who belong to a political party
elect the local and state-level candidates for their party.
- Before the direct primary was used, political bosses usually decided
who would be the candidates in an election.
- The direct primary increased fairness because it gave everyone a
chance to vote fairly, without the influence of political bosses.
- The initiative allowed ordinary people to propose
- Before the initiative was allowed, only the state legislators
were able to propose new laws.
- The initiative increased fairness because the people have more power
to propose the laws they want.
- Referendum lets the people vote on whether to approve a new law.
- When the legislature passes a law, the time from when the law
is passed to when the law goes into effect people can ask if the
new law can be voted on by the people. If 10% of the people sign
the request, then a referendum is held.
- The referendum increases fairness because it gives all the people
a chance to vote on the law.
- Recall allows voters to remove politicians from office before
their elected term is over.
- The recall increases fairness because it allows the people to
remove a politician if they believe he had been doing something
illegal or has done something voters do not like.
Limited Effect of Government Fairness Regulations
- Political bosses limited the effectiveness of the direct primary
by getting the candidate they wanted elected in the primary election
by giving him all the party's money for newspaper coverage and campaign
- The problems that limited the referendum, recall, and initiative
were: Progressives had difficulty getting enough people to be aware
of the problems and sustaining interest until all of the signatures
were gathered and the vote was taken.
An example of state action
- Some of the government fairness regulations enacted
by La Follette and the Progressives in Wisconsin were:
a. Got rid of corrupt politicians, who got him elected.
b. Helped enact the direct primary, initiative, and referendum.
- La Follette supported Progressives who pressured the legislature
to pass laws for recalling elected officials, placing limits on
how much money politicians could spend for elections, and forbidding
corrupt election practices such as paying for votes.
- La Follette also took the lead in making railroads and timber
companies pay taxes. He passed legislation that required people
who wanted state government jobs to take a test for the job.
and National Level Solutions
- Political parties try to solve problems that are common to most
people in the party. This means that many groups in a political
party will not get their particular problem solved.
- In 1854, Republican party was started.
- The different groups who supported the Republican party after
the Civil War:
a. Wealthy and middle-class of the North and West
b. African Americans of the South
c. Many veterans of the Civil War
- In 1792, Democratic party was started. The different groups who
supported the Democratic party after the Civil War:
a. Poor urban workers in the North
b. White Southerners and low-income urban workers
c. The people who supported the Democrats were those who were rejected
by the wealthy, high class of the Republicans.
Democrats, Republicans, and Big Business
- Laissez faire is a policy in which the government does not regulate
how businesses operate.
- Reasons why no strong federal laws or regulations were passed
in the late 1800s:
a. Big businesses did not want laws that would make them spend money
to help solve the problems of the poor or that would regulate their
b. Many people believed government shouldn't interfere in the lives
c. Federal laws were compromises between legislators from across
the nation who often had different ideas about what laws should
- The similarity between Republicans and Democrats was they both
agreed that government should not try to regulate businesses.
The Progressive Era Under Roosevelt
- In 1898, Roosevelt became a national hero as a leader of the
cavalry unit in the Spanish
- In 1900, he ran as the Republican Vice President with William
McKinley, becoming President upon McKinley's assassination
Roosevelt's ideas about government
- Roosevelt decided to regulate the abuses of big business. He believed
that problems caused by big business were leading more people to
Roosevelt's regulation of big business
- In 1902, coal miners were on strike, this was the first time President
Roosevelt interfered with
- The owners of the coal mines closed the mines down due to the
lack of workers who were on strike.
- Roosevelt told the owners of the mines that if they did not reopen
he would send in federal troops.
- The mine owners, knowing the people needed coal and would support
Roosevelt, gave in to the striking miners, reopening the mines and
giving the workers a 10% raise, reducing their work day to 9 hours.
- Later, Roosevelt referred to this kind of settlement as a "square
- Roosevelt's action marked an important turning point for the federal
government, it was the first time the federal government had acted
as a mediator in a labor
Roosevelt and railroad regulation
- Roosevelt and Congress regulated the railroads by forming the
Elkins Act, which made the railroads publish their rates and which
fined railroads and shippers who received rebates.
Roosevelt and other monopoly regulation
- Roosevelt helped put an end to monopolies that hurt consumers.
He either made them accommodate,
or closed them down.
- Different groups supported Roosevelt in the 1904 elections:
a. Middle-class consumers - they thought he was working to regulate
b. Big business owners - they realized that Roosevelt generally
supported the growth of big business as long as workers received
- The Supreme Court changed during the Progressive Era:
a. Several new justices were appointed to the Supreme court as old
justices left the Court.
b. The new justices believed that government should regulate big
business abuse and supported Roosevelt.
Roosevelt and natural
- Roosevelt's actions regarding natural resources:
a. People became worried that the rapid timber cutting and mining
would eventually use up these natural resources.
b. Roosevelt added 150 million acres to the national forests and
established 53 wildlife
c. He also tried to use inspectors to make sure that timber and
mining companies didn't do serious damage to the environment.
The Election of 1908
- Roosevelt didn't run for president in the election of 1908 because
it had become a custom that no President would serve longer than
the first president, George Washington.
- Roosevelt picked up William Taft to run for President because
he felt Taft would continue the progressive reforms.
Taft was one of his cabinet members.
The Progressive Era Under Taft
- Taft carried on the work of Theodore Roosevelt by continuing the
policy of correcting abuses while helping business grow.
- Taft became unpopular with Progressives because:
a. He was not a skilled politician, and made mistakes
b. He opened up a million acres of protected federal land to timber
and mining companies
The Election of 1912
- In 1910, Roosevelt returned from his 2 year visit to Africa and
saw that Progressive reformers were angry with Taft.
- In 1912, Roosevelt decided to run for President again because
he and many of the Progressives were angry with Taft's actions.
- The 4 candidates for President in 1912:
a. Woodrow Wilson - Democratic candidate
b. Eugene Debs - Socialist candidate
c. William Taft - Republican candidate
d. Theodore Roosevelt - Progressive candidate
- Wilson won the election, and enough democratic congressmen were
elected to give the Democrats control of the House of Representatives
and the Senate.
The Progressive Era Under Wilson
Wilson and relief reforms
- In 1913, the Underwood Tariff Act was first reformed.
- This act provided the first real lowering of tariffs
since the Civil War, which made imported products cheaper, which helped
the consumer greatly.
- Income tax was included as part of the Underwood Tariff Act because
when the prices of imported goods was lowered, the government received
less money in taxes. To replace this money, the government collected
- In 1912, The right of the federal government to collect income
tax was officially approved by the passage of the 16th Amendment.
Wilson and monopoly regulation
- In 1914, Wilson convinced Congress to pass the Clayton Act.
- Price discrimination
is charging different prices to different customers.
- The Clayton Act made price discrimination illegal. Without price
discrimination, businesses could not control stores with higher
and lower pricing.
- The Clayton Act was important for unions because it stated that
labor unions could not be considered monopolies and the Sherman
Antitrust Act could not be used to declare strikes illegal.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started by Wilson in addition
to the Clayton Act. The job of the FTC was to prevent unfair trade
prices that reduced competition. The FTC had the power to investigate
companies and order them to immediately stop any illegal practice.
- Events in Europe in 1916 made it seem that America would soon
be drawn to the war in Europe.
- Wilson became less concerned about working with big business to
get ready for the war. (1917 - the US entered the war in Europe)
Wilson and banking regulation
- Federal Reserve Act decreased the control New York City bankers
had over interest rates and who received loans.
It made credit more available
all around the country by creating a national banking system. Under
this new Act, the government controlled interest rates.
Wilson and government fairness regulation
- 17th Amendment was ratified
- This amendment established the direct election of senators. It
made the government fairer because it required that senators be
elected by people in the state rather than appointed by the state