The Progressive Era

Michaela Gilliam


The improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, or unsatisfactory.


Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters.


To search for and expose real or alleged corruption, scandal, or the like, especially in politics.

Political Machine

A party organization, headed by a single boss or small autocratic group, that commands enough votes to maintain political and administrative control of a city, county, or state.


The legal prohibiting of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks for common consumption.


To deprive (a person, place, etc) of any franchise or right.

De Facto Segregation

Racial segregation, especially in public schools, that happens “by fact” rather than by legal requirement.

De Jure Segregation

Separation enforced by law, while de facto segregation occurs when widespread individual preferences, sometimes backed up with private pressure, lead to separation.


The acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one's position or influence in politics, business.


A procedure by which a specified number of voters may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance, and compel a popular vote on its adoption.


The principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.


The removal or the right of removal of a public official from office by a vote of the people taken upon petition of a specified number of the qualified electors.


A person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, especially in politics; a person who is neutral on a controversial issue.

Niagara Movement

A black civil rights organization founded in 1905 by a group led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter.

Poll Tax

A tax levied on every adult, without reference to income or resources


An African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 by Moorfield Storey, Mary White Ovington and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Pendleton Act

A federal law established in 1883 that decided that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit instead of political affiliation.

Sherman Anti Trust Act

The first measure passed by the US Congress to prohibit abusive monopolies.

Clayton Anti Trust Act

Reformed and emphasized certain concepts of the Sherman Act of 1890 that are still active today in a growing interconnected market and merging of the industries.

16th Amendment

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

17th amendment

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

18th Amendment

After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

19th Amendment

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

The Great Migration

The movement of 6 million blacks out of the rural Southern United States to the urban northeast, midwest, and west.

Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)

U.S. Supreme Court case from 1896 that upheld the rights of states to pass laws allowing or even requiring racial segregation in public and private institutions such as schools, public transportation, restrooms, and restaurants.

U.S. vs. EC Knight & Co. (1895)

U.S. Supreme Court case that limited the government's power to control monopolies.

American Tobacco vs. U.S. (1911)

Decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the combination in this case is one in restraint of trade and an attempt to monopolize the business of tobacco in interstate commerce within the prohibitions of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.