Progressivism from the Grass
Roots to the White House
After reading and studying this chapter, students should be able to:
• Explain grassroots progressivism including its proponents, and why they targeted the city for reform. Understand why activists formed alliances with the working class and under what circumstances those alliances proved successful.
• Recognize the intellectual underpinnings of progressivism. Explain how reformers put the theories of reform Darwinism, pragmatism, and social engineering into action at both the local and state levels.
• Understand how Theodore Roosevelt put progressivism into action as president, including his attitude toward trusts and big business. Outline his efforts as a conservationist and as a diplomat.
• Identify the efforts that Taft made to stall progressive reform, and why progressives led an insurgent campaign during the election of 1912.
Explain what factors accounted for Wilson’s victory in 1912.
• Recognize how Wilson sought to enact his
“New Freedom” once in office. Understand the reforms he supported, and his views on the tariff
issue, banking, and trusts. Explain why Wilson earned the name “the reluctant Progressive.”
• Understand the limits of progressive reform, and identify the organizations that offered more radical visions of America’s future. Consider why some critics charged the movement with advocating reform “for white men only.”
The following annotated chapter outline will help you review the major topics covered in this chapter.
A. Civilizing the City
1. Progressives tackled the problems of the city with many approaches, among which were the settlement house movement, the social gospel, and the social purity movement. 2. The settlement house movement, begun in
England, came to the United States in
1886 with the opening of the University
Settlement House in New York City.