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The Progressive Era

Course Code
Dr.Liamvan Beek

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HIS271 The Progressive EraJanuary 26th 2011
What were the chief characteristics of the Progressive Movement?
In what ways was the Populist Movement a precursor to the Progressive Movement?
What were the major challenges facing progressive reformers?
Were the Progressive successful?
How progressive was the Progressive Era?
From last lecture:
Think about what these new frontiers had in common.
What do those commonalities do? How did they help to reinvent the
Why was the idea of the frontier so important in the first place?
The search for new frontiers was one way Americans responded to the
anxieties created by the intense industrialization/urbanization
Today: Other Americans, instead of looking outward to frontiers, looked inside to
Characteristics of the Progressive Era
1900 1917, however many of the movements started before 1900 and continued
after 1917
Numerous reform groups with the shared goal of improving society
Local, state, and national level
Far more successes at the local level, but the successes at the national
level were the ones that mattered
While the term Progressive Era gives the sense of progress, not
everything was progressive

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HIS271 The Progressive EraJanuary 26th 2011
By the turn of the century it was generally accepted that industrialization and
urbanization had negative impacts on society
People wondered whose responsibility was it to deal with this? To take care of these
Contemporaries hoped that the federal government would, but they found again and
again this just wasnt the case
Increasingly, people began to take it upon themselves to reform society
Because were talking about industry, we tend to just look at urban, but the growth
of industry had a profound impact on agriculture as well
One of the groups that felt the pressure of big business and tried to have a say were
They also formed groups:
The Grange Movement
Oliver H. Kelly 1867
Full title was the: National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry
Located primarily in the Midwest
Collaborative organization comprised of many local groups or chapters
It was like a fraternal society, and became the social centre of many farming
Their emphasis was on honest labour that engaged the entire family as well as the
They valued faith, hope, charity, and fidelity
Their movement was most successful during times of agricultural depression
Blamed their hardships on the Robber Barons
Of particular concern were high interest rates that banks charged, the high prices of
farming equipment, and shipping prices

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HIS271 The Progressive EraJanuary 26th 2011
Created market cooperatives, where they would set up their own banks, stores, and
communal grain refineries
The emphasis was on cooperation
Promoted political activism
In the end, the Grange movement wasnt that successful, because they were too
focused on the Midwest
However, significant because they legitimized the idea that the federal government
should be more active in regulating the economy
It was soon replaced and surpassed by the Farmers Alliance
The FarmersAlliance
Originated in the south in 1875 but also had chapters in the North
Became the largest agricultural movement in American history
Like the Grange movement, they attempted to develop a cooperative network
However, their efforts went further than the issue of farming and tried to better
society as a whole
Emphasis on social betterment
Promoted new and scientific methods of farming along with broad economic policies
Strong proponents of education reform
More successful because they had a broader reach cooperated with the Coloured
Farmers Alliance
Coloured Farmers Alliance 1886
Joined with other farmer groups and created the National Farmers Alliance and
Industrial Union 1889
What made it so appealing was its hope of returning power to the people
Idea of the peoples party
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