Of the People

McGerr, Lewis, Oakes, Cullather, Summers, Townsend, Dunak

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Volume II

Since 1865

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Chapter 19 A United Body of Action 1900—1916

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The Hull House Choir in Recital, 1910

Chapter 19 American Portrait: Helen Keller

Daughter of a wealthy family

Graduated college

Blind and deaf from illness

Rejected individualism, became a reformer

Disability rights activist

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Toward a New Politics

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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Disasters often galvanized support for new laws. After the March 25, 1911, fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in Greenwich Village killed 146 young workers, many of whom jumped from the seventh, eighth, and ninth stories of the building to escape flames, New York finally enacted legislation on factory safety.

The Insecurity of Modern Life

Anonymity of urban life felt insecure

Chemicals in food and water

Patent medicines were unregulated

Unsafe tenement housing

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Gov’t corruption

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Population in Cities

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Percentage of the Population Living in Cities, 1890–1920 Cities and towns underwent dramatic growth around the turn of the century. Offices, department stores, and new forms of mass entertainment—from vaudeville to professional sports—drew people to the city center. Railroads and trolleys allowed cities to spread outward, segregating residents by class.

Source: Paul Kennedy, Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1987), p. 200.

The Decline of Partisan Politics

Participation in elections declined

Literacy tests

Campaigns were more educational, less participatory

Rise of voluntary and professional associations

NAACP, Salvation Army, Sierra Club

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Social Housekeeping

Professional women energized reform

Many college graduates

“New women”

Florence Kelley, Margaret Sanger

Women’s professional organizations, social clubs

National American Woman Suffrage Association

National Woman’s Party

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Voter Participation

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Voter Participation, 1896–1920 After the intense partisanship and high-stakes elections of

the 1890s, campaigns became more “educational” and voters lost interest.

Evolution or Revolution?

Growth of the Socialist Party

Eugene V. Debs

Collective ownership of industry

Encourage cooperation rather than competition

Social Gospel

Industrial Workers of the World, William “Big Bill” Haywood

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The Progressives

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The Hull House Choir in Recital,1910 Chicago, according to Lincoln Steffens, was “loud, lawless, unlovely, ill-smelling, new; an overgrown gawk of a village.” Addams and other settlement workers sought to tame this urban wilderness through culture and activism.

Social Workers and Muckrakers

Settlement houses

Jane Addams, Hull House

Social science techniques

Reform working conditions

Muckraking journalists

Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair

10-cent magazines

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Struggles for Democracy

Public Response to The Jungle

Critique of conditions in Packingtown


Outraged consumers

Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906

Federal Meat Inspection Act

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Meat Inspectors Hogs receive a final inspection at Swift & Co., Chicago, 1906.

Dictatorship of the Experts

Rise in influence of social sciences, professions

Faith in scientific advances


Indiana Plan

Distrust of democracy

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Progressives on the Color Line

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Anti-lynching campaign

Reform groups didn’t want to divided over race

Eugenics endorsed white supremacy

W.E.B. DuBois

The Souls of Black Folk

Niagara Movement, NAACP

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Ida B. Wells-Barnett with Her Children Ida Wells-Barnett, journalist and activist, made lynching an international issue through her writ- ing and speaking tours.

Progressives in State and Local Politics

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Daniel Burnham’s City Plan for Chicago, 1909 Through comprehensive planning, Burnham sought to save cities from “the chaos incident to rapid growth.” He drafted designs for Washington, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Manila.

Redesigning the City

Aldermen acted as bosses

Bribery and corruption

Commission governments were appointed, not elected

Driven by middle and upper class professionals

Targeted “vice” primarily in working class neighborhoods

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Reform Mayors and City Services

Reform mayors cleaned up cities

Eight hour day

Bought or regulated utilities

City Beautiful movement

Slum clearance

City planners

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Progressives and the States

Urban reform was popular in the east

Southern progressivism refined segregation, disfranchisement

Western states experimented with gov’t

Initiative, recall, referendum

Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette

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A Push for “Genuine Democracy” and a “Moral Awakening”

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Growth of Public Lands Responding to a national conservation movement, Roosevelt set aside public lands for use as parks and managed-yield forests. The National Park Service was founded in 1916.

The Executive Branch Against the Trusts

Assassination of William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt was a progressive

Believed in the power of gov’t to make change

Department of Commerce and Labor, revitalized the Sherman Act

Reform laws intended to keep big businesses responsible, not break them up

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The Square Deal

Coal strike of 1902

Owners refused to deal with unions

Roosevelt threatened the owners into compromise

Direct action made the federal government a force in labor disputes

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Conserving Water, Land, and Forests

Roosevelt stretched the limits of presidential power

Gifford Pinchot, conservation

Efficient management of resources

Newlands Reclamation Act, 1902

Favored big corporations over small business

John Muir, naturalist

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TR and Big Stick Diplomacy

Global trade, communication united civilized nations

Willing to interfere with uncivilized nations

Panama Canal

Encouraged Panama to secede from Colombia

Roosevelt Corollary

Economic and military intervention

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Taft and Dollar Diplomacy

Direct election of senators, income tax, corporation tax, antitrust enforcement

Used economic power for diplomatic purposes

Payne-Aldrich Tariff, 1909

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American Landscape

The Hetch Hetchy Valley

Spring Valley Water Company monopolized San Francisco’s water

Mayor wanted to dam the Hatch Hetchy and ship its water into the city

Gifford Pinchot

John Muir, Sierra Club

Conservation vs. environmentalism

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United States in the Caribbean

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United States in the Caribbean US troops intervened repeatedly in the Caribbean and Central America to protect investments and guard against perceived threats to order. Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic were under nearly constant US occupation until the mid-1920s.

Source: Thomas Paterson et al., American Foreign Relations (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1995), vol. 2, pp. 55, 40.

Rival Visions of the Industrial Future

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The Election of 1912 The election pitted rival visions of progressivism against each other. The decentralized regulation of Wilson’s “New Freedom” had more appeal than Roosevelt’s far-reaching “New Nationalism.”

The New Nationalism

Elimination of corporate campaign contributions, regulation of industrial combinations, tariffs set by commission, graduated income tax, banking reorganization, national worker’s compensation program

Roosevelt vs. Taft for Republican nomination

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The 1912 Election

Woodrow Wilson was an economist, favored executive power

Considered himself a progressive

Louis Brandeis

New Freedom

Individualism rather than collective interest

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The New Freedom

Lower tariffs, increased competition, antitrust enforcement

Underwood-Simmons Tariff, Tariff Commission

Federal Reserve Act of 1913

Federal Trade Commission, Clayton Antitrust Act

Warehouse Act

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