HST210 – US History 1877 to Present
Lecture # 7 – Progressive Movement II
- Emerges to tackle the problems of the Gilded Age.
- “Broad, loosely defined political movement of individuals and groups who hoped to
bring about significant change in American social and political life.”
- A general spirit of reform embraced by Americans with diverse backgrounds to humanize
- Investigative journalists born during the progressive era
- City politics dominated by political machines
- Municipal reformers sought to eliminate the corrupting influence of political machines
like New York City’s Tammany Hall.
o Tammany hall engages immigrants, gets people involved
- National Municipal League (1894) or “goo-goos” sought to professionalize city
government through civil service reform (jobs awarded based on education and
experience not political connections)
o To try and clean up the political machines
- City governments begin to become more efficient/professional
- Making city governments more accountable
The Assassination of McKinley
- 1901, Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, assassinates Pres. McKinley.
o First president to be associated with?
o Blamed government for his impoverishment, for economic inequalities
- Czolgosz blamed the government for the growing inequalities in American society
Teddy Roosevelt and Progressivism
- Rough Riders, governor of New York.
- TR was a progressive who expanded the influence and power of the executive branch.
- Believed that government had an obligation to regulate big business to protect the
welfare of society
- First modern president
- Expanded influence/power of executive branch
- Congress considered seat of political power
o Not active but founding fathers considered it the more robust power
o Congress would be the dominant party
- Executive branch becomes more robust
- Teddy Roosevelt issues more executive orders than anyone before him
o From Lincoln to McKinley: 158 executive orders by presidents
o Roosevelt issues: 1007 Teddy Roosevelt and Big Business
- Wasn’t opposed to corporations
- Understood that centralization was a fact f life, but he distinguished between good/bad
corporations > ethical/monopolistic actions
- Directed the Justice Department to initiate prosecutions under the Sherman Antitrust
o First president to enforce Sherman Antitrust
- In 1904, the Supreme Court ordered that the Northern Securities Company (JP Morgan)
be dismantled for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act
o Northern securities: railroad corporation
o Northern securities had monopoly of all the lines between Chicago and the
o Northern securities forced to dismantle
- Revived the Interstate Commerce Commission (Elkins and Hepburn Acts) to go after
- Laissez-faire approach to big business is replaced with greater governmental regulation
to protect the general public
- Signals that government is going to get more involved in regulating big business
Teddy Roosevelt and the Square Deal
- Runs for election on the platform that government should act as a mediator between
competing interests (i.e. labor v. management; consumers v. big business).
- Enormously popular, incredibly charismatic
- Roosevelt first one to use media to get support
o Went directly to the public
- Continues to advocate the regulation of big business and wins the 1904 election
(promises not to run