Progressive Era

Lets's Learn About the Progressive Era!!!

Who were the Progressives?

The Progressives were a group of reformers who were most active in the first two decades of the 20th century. These reformers were mainly white, middle-class Americans who had been born in the United States.

What were there motives?

The Progressives were concerned with problems that (they thought) were caused by both the rich and the poor. They felt that the rich were abusing their power. They felt that big businesses needed to be regulated so that workers would enjoy better working conditions. They felt the big businesses needed to be prevented from “buying” political influence. They thought that monopolies needed to be broken up.

Federal Reform

A Republican governor in Wisconsin, Robert LaFollette, put into effect the “Wisconsin idea,” which provided a model for reformers across the nation. It provided for direct primaries to select party nominees for public office, a railroad commission to regulate railroad rates, tax reform, opposition to political bosses, and the initiative and recall devices to give the people more direct control over government.

State/Local Reform

By the beginning of the twentieth century, muckraking journalists were calling attention to the exploitation of child labor, corruption in city governments, the horror of lynching, and the ruthless business practices employed by businessmen like John D. Rockefeller. At the local level, many Progressives sought to suppress red-light districts, expand high schools, construct playgrounds, and replace corrupt urban political machines with more efficient system of municipal government. At the state level, Progressives enacted minimum wage laws for women workers, instituted industrial accident insurance, restricted child labor, and improved factory regulation.

Key Figures of the Suffrage Movement

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Saturday, March 25th 1911 at 1:15pm

171 Macdougal Street

New York, NY

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan, New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history.

In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 145 workers, on this day in 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers

19th Amendment

Wednesday, Aug. 18th 1920 at 11am

East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004

The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920. The Constitution allows the states to determine the qualifications of voters, subject to limitations imposed by later amendments.

Social Reform

The Woman's Reform Movement

The beginning of the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States, which predates Jeannette Rankin’s entry into Congress by nearly 70 years, grew out of a larger women’s rights movement. That reform effort evolved during the 19th century, initially emphasizing a broad spectrum of goals before focusing solely on securing the franchise for women. Women’s suffrage leaders, moreover, often disagreed about the tactics for and the emphasis (federal versus state) of their reform efforts. Ultimately, the suffrage movement provided political training for some of the early women pioneers in Congress, but its internal divisions foreshadowed the persistent disagreements among women in Congress and among women’s rights activists after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Big Business Reform

Coal Strike of 1902

The Coal strike of 1902, also known as the anthracite coal strike,was a strike by the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania. Miners were on strike asking for higher wages, shorter workdays and the recognition of their union. The strike threatened to shut down the winter fuel supply to all major cities (homes and apartments were heated with anthracite or "hard" coal because it had higher heat value and less smoke than "soft" or bituminous coal). President Theodore Roosevelt became involved and set up a fact-finding commission that suspended the strike. The strike never resumed, as the miners received a 10% wage increase and reduced workdays from ten to nine hours; the owners got a higher price for coal, and did not recognize the trade union as a bargaining agent. It was the first labor episode in which the federal government intervened as a neutral arbitrator.

The 16th Amendment

made the income tax constitutional. If it weren't for that amendment, Americans today would be able to take home 100% of their paychecks instead of sending an ever-increasing portion to the government. Without an income tax, there would be no "revenue" to fund anything resembling the current outrageously bloated federal government.

The 17th Amendment

disenfranchised the states by taking away their right to choose senators. Instead, the senators are now directly elected. This eliminated checks and balances that were designed to protect the rights of the states and keep the federal government (mostly) within its constitutional constraints. Prior to the 17th Amendment, senators had to preserve the rights of their state or they would not be able to get re-elected. After the 17th Amendment, senators must raise money from the special interest groups so that they can afford to run a re-election campaign. Any senator who doesn't endorse expanding federal power on behalf of politically connected interest groups risks being defeated in his bid for re-election.

The 18th Amendment

banned the use of alcohol. Prohibition of alcohol was a disastrous failure that was repealed by the 21st Amendment in the 1930s. During Prohibition, gangs of criminals took over the (now illegal) alcohol business and sold low quality (and often dangerous) alcohol. Many Americans broke the law in order to get their alcohol. Alcohol prohibition was basically the current War on Drugs, but targeted against a product that the majority of people used (although a sizable minority of people use marijuana, marijuana has always been far less popular than alcohol; other currently illegal drugs are used by a very small number of people).

The 19th Amendment

allowed women to vote. Although in theory there is nothing objectionable about that (as men and women should both be equally free), in practice women have tended to vote for more government and less freedom. Women are empirically more likely than men to favor almost all kinds of government interventions. Women are more likely than men to support government intervention in the economy, are more likely than men to support restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights and are more likely than men to support the War on Drugs. Prior to the 19th Amendment, whether or not women could vote was a state issue and those states that allowed women to vote tended to have more government than states that didn't allow women to vote. The case of Switzerland is illuminating. Switzerland was the last western country to adopt female suffrage, doing so in the 1970s. Until then, Switzerland was well known for having very little government. After adopting women's suffrage, the Swiss government has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades and the Swiss have greatly reduced financial privacy protections. Although the 19th Amendment is impossible to repeal, it is quite possible that both men and women would be much more free if women were not allowed to vote. That is how carelessly women have voted over the last 90 years. For some reason, it seems like women are less likely than men to understand that if you give up liberty for promises of security, you will end up with neither liberty nor security. Democracy is not itself freedom, but is only a means that can be used to obtain freedom, but can also be used to enslave oneself and everybody else.