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Lecture 9

HIST206 Lecture 9: The Progressive Era

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University of Delaware

The Progressive Era Tuesday, March 7, 2017 4:10 PM Problems Facing Industrial America Approaches to Reform Role of Federal Government in Reforms Progressives • 1890s-1910s • White Middle Class background o Had college educations; successful within society (professors, clergymen, journalists, female social workers, scientists, business leaders etc.) o Felt need to improve urban life in U.S. --> shared belief that they had to address negative ramifications of industrialization o ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE • Timeline of Reform o 1870s: European Reform (Europe industrial revolution sooner) o 1880s: reform at local level • People working to press state governments to create new laws (especially in the Northeast); state laws to protect workers • Problem: reforms get passed at state level, but there is not a lot of enforcement in place o 1890s: Call for federal intervention • Federal agencies who work directly to oversee factories and other industries, and help citizens o Election of 1900: all presidential candidates discussed plans for reforms • In their platforms • Scientific Approach to Reform: o A way to address problems facing society o Formed private aids societies that operated like corporations (management) to help interface with public o Relied on experts to help advocate for change and use that knowledge to convince people that change was necessary • Rise of professionalism in U.S. ▪ Medical field changing (mid-wives --> doctors w/ medical degrees); using degrees and status in order to instruct them and employees on how to improve conditions for people in U.S. o Collected Data • Started own data collection projects --> doing a lot of field work, interviews, using data as evidence to support causes ▪ Rates of accidents in factories (monitoring and calculating these) ▪ # of children working in certain industries ▪ Wages people received for work • Began to influence how states monitored and collected demographic data ▪ State governments taking cue from progressives, and they're hiring state employees to do the same things, and using data to pass laws ▪ Enforcement is still major problem • Turn to other methods to engage public: o Muckraking: when people who are part of progressive movement would do investigative journalistic reporting (often times going undercover in factories, and then publishing experiences in newspapers that discuss abuses and corruption within big businesses) • Ida Tarbell on Standard Oil ▪ Price fixing • The Jungle, 1906 --> Upton Sinclair ▪ Theodore Roosevelt (president at the time) - and he advocates for Food & Drug Act, 1906; federal commission to inspect food in U.S. to check product • Working in direct response to social, political, economic issues caused by Industrialization o Problems Resulting From Industrialization? • Growing ethnic and racial tensions within U.S. (ex: Chinese Exclusion Act) ▪ Job segregation ▪ Growing nativism • Unregulated economy ▪ Effected farmers in trans-Mississippi West ▪ Greater gap between rich and poor • Dangerous working conditions ▪ No minimum wage ▪ No laws to help disabled workers ▪ No regulated working hours ▪ No laws to encourage children to go to school and keep them out of factories • Crowded urban living c
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