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
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
C. Radical Groups
1. Socialist Party
a. organized in 1901 by labor leaders including Eugene
b. Advocated govt. takeover of big business, some advocated govt.
takeover of all business the latter were Communists.