A. Origins of Progressivism
1. Bounded by the end of the nineteenth century and the American entry into World War I, the Progressive Era brought dramatic changes to the nation’s economic, political, and social sectors. 2. Progressives included both men and women from various ethnic groups, classes, and occupations who challenged traditional attitudes about the American way of life. 3. The reformers fought to overcome inefficiencies in government, corrupt political machines, and the inadequate living conditions of the poor. 4. They believed industrialization and urbanization produced an abundance of social problems, including city slums and worker mistreatment by callous corporations. 5. Scores of progressive-minded associations formed throughout the United States to raise concern for the grim issues and to press business and government leaders to address the problems. 6. The roots of Progressivism date back to the mid to late 1800s, when angry farmers and small business owners formed the Grange and later the Populist Party to confront unfair practices of big business. 7. Progressivism appealed to middle and lower-class Americans who felt helpless against industrial giants like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, whose increasing power influenced politicians and the laws and regulations they sanctioned. 8. Progressives believed that individuals were essentially kind and well intentioned by nature. 9. Once government and big business were reformed, leaders would be able to focus their efforts on protecting the weaker members of society, such as women, children, the sick, and the poor. 10. While slum conditions generally garnered the most attention, other topics included white slave trafficking, industrial accidents, child labor, and the subjugation of blacks. 11. Muckrakers also targeted medicine dealers who advertised unproven claims for their products that often contained high quantities of alcohol and other habit forming drugs. 12. The editorial sparked a wave of activity in progressive movements as thousands of readers joined the fight to end corruption and improve living and working conditions for Americans. 13. Some progressives promoted more radical views to initiate reformation and close the gap between the rich and the middle and lower classes. 14. Radical progressives borrowed advanced ideas from prominent European intellectuals, most notably from Sigmund Freud. 15. Although they did not concern themselves with much of his analytical theories, they did pick up on his thoughts about slips of the tongue and sexuality, and promoted a revolution of morals. 16. Radical progressives advocated trial marriages and easy divorces, and pushed for sex education programs and the distribution of information about birth control. 17. As radical progressives fought to change conservative America, a group of Protestant ministers organized the Social Gospel movement to instill religious ethics into the business world. 18. Congregational minister Washington Gladden started a ministry for working-class neighborhoods and favored sanctions to improve workers’ rights. 19. Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist minister, proclaimed that Christians should endorse social reform to end poverty and labor abuse. 20. According to the members of the Social Gospel movement, it was the government’s ethical responsibility to improve the living and working conditions in America. 21. Many economists climbed aboard the religious bandwagon to call for state action to produce social progress. B. Municipal, State, and National Reforms
1. During the first decade of the twentieth century, urban populations grew quickly and corruption spread throughout all levels of political institutions. 2. Political machines and dishonest public officials controlled some of the largest cities in the nation. 3. San Francisco lawyer Abe...