Progressive Era A Push Essay Rubric

Who were the progressive:  Urban middle class, managers and professionals and Women

Why did the groups of people get involved?  To answer questions and problems about:

•  Industrialization (big business, labor strife)

•  Urbanization (slums, political machines, corruption)

•  Immigration (ethnic diversity)

•  Inequality and Social injustice (Women and Racism)

Goals of the reformers

•  Democracy (government accountability)

•  Regulation (on corporation and monopolies)

•  Social Justice (poor, workers and minorities)

•  Environmental problems

How:

Government (laws and regulations, programs)  Big government

Efficiency (experts using scientific studies to determine the best solutions)

Short Flash Game to help with item and vocabulary of Progressive Era

Flash Card game to help you learn some of the people and projects that were part of the Progressive Era. 

Were men like Andrew Cargegie, Gustovus Swift and John D. Rockefeller, captain of industry or Robber Barons?

Captain of Industry Definition - During the Industrial Revolution, a captain of industry was a business leader whose means of amassing a personal fortune contributes positively to the country in some way. This may have been through increased productivity, expansion of markets, providing more jobs, or acts of philanthropy.

Robber Barons - an unscrupulous plutocrat, especially an American capitalist who acquired a fortune in the late nineteenth century by ruthless means.

Prepare a shared document by your table group, give an answer and explain why you chose what you did. 

The Progressive Era (1890 - 1920)

Crash Course Progressive Era

Progressivism is the term applied to a variety of responses to the economic and social problems rapid industrialization introduced to America. Progressivism began as a social movement and grew into a political movement. The early progressives rejected Social Darwinism. In other words, they were people who believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated, and believed that government could be a tool for change. Social reformers, like Jane Addams, and journalists, like Jacob Riis and Ida Tarbel, were powerful voices for progressivism. They concentrated on exposing the evils of corporate greed, combating fear of immigrants, and urging Americans to think hard about what democracy meant. Other local leaders encouraged Americans to register to vote, fight political corruption, and let the voting public decide how issues should best be addressed (the initiative, the referendum, and the recall). On a national level, progressivism gained a strong voice in the White House when Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901. TR believed that strong corporations were good for America, but he also believed that corporate behavior must be watched to ensure that corporate greed did not get out of hand (trust-busting and federal regulation of business). Progressivism ended with World War I when the horrors of war exposed people's cruelty and many Americans associated President Woodrow Wilson's use of progressive language ("the war to make the world safe for democracy") with the war.

A Overview of reforms and programs, ideas that were considered and implemented

The Progressive Movement was an effort to cure many of the ills of American society that had developed during the great spurt of industrial growth in the last quarter of the 19th century. The frontier had been tamed, great cities and businesses developed, and an overseas empire established, but not all citizens shared in the new wealth, prestige, and optimism.

Efforts to improve society were not new to the United States in the late 1800s. A major push for change, the First Reform Era, occurred in the years before the Civil War and included efforts of social activists to reform working conditions and humanize the treatment of mentally ill people and prisoners.

Others removed themselves from society and attempted to establish utopian communities in which reforms were limited to their participants. The focal point of the early reform period was abolitionism, the drive to remove what in the eyes of many was the great moral wrong of slavery.

The second reform era began during Reconstruction and lasted until the American entry into World War I. The struggle for women`s rights and the temperance movement were the initial issues addressed. A farm movement also emerged to compensate for the declining importance of rural areas in an increasingly urbanized America.

As part of the second reform period, progressivism was rooted in the belief, certainly not shared by all, that man was capable of improving the lot of all within society. As such, it was a rejection of Social Darwinism, the position taken by many rich and powerful figures of the day.

Progressivism also was imbued with strong political overtones, and it rejected the church as the driving force for change. Specific goals included:

The success of progressivism owed much to publicity generated by the muckrakers, writers who detailed the horrors of poverty, urban slums, dangerous factory conditions, and child labor, among a host of other ills.

Successes were many, beginning with the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) and the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). Progressives never spoke with one mind and differed sharply over the most effective means to deal with the ills generated by the trusts; some favored an activist approach to trust-busting, others preferred a regulatory approach.

A vocal minority supported socialism with government ownership of the means of production. Other progressive reforms followed in the form of a conservation movement, railroad legislation, and food and drug laws.

The progressive spirit also was evident in new amendments added to the Constitution (text), which provided for a new means to elect senators, protect society through prohibition and extend suffrage to women.

Urban problems were addressed by professional social workers who operated settlement houses as a means to protect and improve the prospects of the poor. However, efforts to place limitations on child labor were routinely thwarted by the courts. The needs of African Americans and Native Americans were poorly served or served not at all — a major shortcoming of the progressive movement.

Progressive reforms were carried out not only on the national level, but in states and municipalities. Prominent governors devoted to change included Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin and Hiram Johnson of California.

Such reforms as the direct primary, secret ballot, and the initiative, referendum, and recall were effected. Local governments were strengthened by the widespread use of trained professionals, particularly with the city manager system replacing the frequently corrupt mayoral system.

Formal expression was given to progressive ideas in the form of political parties on three major occasions:


Page of reformers and Muckrakers for doing a project 

Cliffs Notes on different reforms in Social and Political but many more        Many other item, Roosevelt and Taft also in meun

In the mid to late 19th century, natural resources were heavily exploited, especially in the West. Land speculators and developers took over large tracts of forests and grazing land. Acreage important to waterpower was seized by private concerns. Mining companies practiced improper and wasteful mining practices. Assuming a seemingly inexhaustible supply of natural resources, Americans developed a "tradition of waste."

Alarmed by the public's attitude toward natural resources as well as the exploitation of natural resources for private gain, conservationists called for federal supervision of the nation's resources and the preservation of those resources for future generations. In President Theodore Roosevelt, the conservationists found a sympathetic ear and man of action. Conservation of the nation's resources, putting an end to wasteful uses of raw materials, and the reclamation of large areas of neglected land have been identified as some of the major achievements of the Roosevelt era.

President Roosevelt's concern for the environment was influenced by American naturalists, such as John Muir, and by his own political appointees, including Gifford Pinchot, Chief of Forestry. Working in concert with many individuals and organizations, the Roosevelt administration was responsible for the following: the Newlands Act of 1902, which funded irrigation projects from the proceeds of the sale of federal lands in the West; the appointment of the Inland Waterways Commission in 1907 to study the relation of rivers, soil, forest, waterpower development, and water transportation; and the National Conservation Commission of 1909, which was charged with drawing up long-range plans for preserving national resources. Along with a vocal group of conservationists, the Roosevelt administration created an environmental conservation movement whose words and actions continue to be heard and felt throughout the nation today.

To find additional documents in American Memory, use such words as conservation, reclamation, natural resources, preservation, and Theodore Roosevelt.
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