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How did the Progressive Movement seek to change America at the turn of the century?

America at the turn of the century was a best a primitive place. Technology and industry grew at such a great rate that the government and most citizens were unprepared to deal with its effects. Philosophies like Laissez Fair and social Darwinism combined to create an America that cared little for the downtrodden. Eventually citizens, average people like you and me, arose to condemn these conditions and demand change. The demand for change, or progress, was known as the Progressive Era.

Goals of the progressives

1) Evoke an emotional response.

2) Move citizens to action.

3) Prompt the government to make legislative changes.

I. The Progressives

A. Muckrakers (Term coined by TR was a negative one. Based on a literary character who was so busy cleaning and raking up the muck and dirt that he didn't see the good things that were above his head.)

1. Lincoln Stephens, "The Shame of the Cities" Link between big business and crooked politicians

2. Ida Tarbell, "History of the Standard Oil Company" published in McClure's Magazine. Described the firms cutthroat methods of eliminating competition.

3. Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle" Detailed the lives stockyard workers and the meat packing industry.

4. Jacob Riis, "How The Other Half Lives" A book of photographs about the wretched conditions in the cities and slums.

A Picture from Riis's book

B. Religious Groups

1. Preaching of the "social gospel."

2. Create acts of god, churches should work to improve conditions for workers and the poor.

3. Religious organizations like the YMCA, YWCA, concentrated efforts on helping newcomers adjust to life in the big cities. Investigates slum conditions, provided food and clothing and set up settlement houses.

C. Radical Groups

1. Socialist Party

a. organized in 1901 by labor leaders including Eugene V. Debs.

b. Advocated govt. takeover of big business, some advocated govt. takeover of all business the latter were Communists.

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