Who were the Progressives?
► What reforms did they seek?
► How successful were
Progressive Era reforms in
the period 1890-1920?
Consider: political change, social change (industrial conditions, urban life, women, prohibition)
WHEN? “Progressive Reform Era”
1917 1920s
WHO? “Progressives”
urban middle-class: managers & professionals;
WHY? Address the problems arising from:
industrialization (big business, labor strife)
urbanization (slums, political machines, corruption)
immigration (ethnic diversity)
inequality & social injustice (women & racism)
WHAT are their goals?
► Democracy – government accountable to the people
► Regulation of corporations & monopolies
► Social justice – workers, poor, minorities
► Environmental protection
► Address political corruption
► Government (laws, regulations, programs)
► Efficiency
value experts; use of scientific study to determine the
best solution
Called – Scientific Management
Question is … HOW MUCH?????
Origins of Progressivism
Read only
1 and
Answer ?’s
“Muckrakers” – investigative journalists
Jacob Riis – How the Other Half Lives (1890)
Ida Tarbell – “The History of the Standard Oil Co.” (1902)
Lincoln Steffens – The Shame of the Cities (1904)
Ida Tarbell
Lincoln Steffens
Well-known REFORMS
►Workplace & labor reforms
Example Event: Triangle
Shirtwaist Factory Fire - 1911
It is remembered as one of the
most infamous incidents in
American industrial history, as
the deaths were largely
**The tragedy brought widespread
attention to the dangerous sweatshop
conditions of factories, and led to the
development of a series of laws and
regulations that better protected the
safety of workers
As we watch…in your notebook
I. What were conditions like in the factory for
the workers?
Who was working?
Work day?
Working conditions?
II. What happened to start the fire?
III. Immediate Reaction of the workers
IV. During the fire…what was happening?
V. Problems that occurred battling the fire?
VI. Aftermath
Long-lasting Effects
► Changed
the regulation by
government of business
Before – government mostly stayed away
from business
Felt had no power to legislate it
► Workers
also looked towards UNIONS to
voice concern over safety and pay
Factory Commission (1911)
International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union
Led a march of 100,000 to tell NY legislature to
move into action and address concerns
History Repeats Itself?
► March
25, 1990
► Happy Land Social Club (Bronx)
► 87 Killed (customers, not
► Why?
Sprinkler System
Fire Alarms
Windows - iron bars
One Exit Door
History Repeats Itself
► Sept.
3 1991
► North Carolina Poultry Factory
► 25 Killed (workers)
► Why?
Not marked well
Or blocked
Or padlocked (to prevent theft)
Reforms into today
► Countless
state and federal laws
► Unions gathered numerous new
► Employers have a clear set of
guidelines that need to be followed to
ensure safety of their employees
Fire Drills and instructions posted
Firefighting equipment must be
maintained and portable fire
Fire Sprinklers
Employee training
► Additional
Workplace & labor reforms
eight-hour work day
improved safety & health conditions in
workers compensation laws
minimum wage laws
Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory Fire, 1913
State Social Reform: Child Labor
Child Laborers in Indiana Glass Works,
Midnight, Indiana. 1908
Child Laborer, Newberry, S.C. 1908
“Breaker Boys” Pennsylvania, 1911
Shrimp pickers in Peerless Oyster Co.
Bay St. Louis, Miss., March 3, 1911
One of the most persistent causes of
Progressive Era reformers was
child labor reform.
Children (ten to fifteen years old) worked in America.
The 1890 census  more than one million
The 1910 census increased to two million
Industries employed children as young as five or six
to work as many as eighteen to twenty hours a day.
Why so many children?
Industrialization did not create child labor, but it did
contribute to the need for child labor reform.
The replacement of skilled artisans by machinery and
the growth of factories and mills made child labor
increasingly profitable for businesses.
Why - Children cost less to employ than adults, and were
paid only a fraction of what an adult worker would
make (or sometimes, nothing)
about 5 pence (penny) a day or
$1.50 for 16 hours of work ($25 now)
Many employers preferred hiring children because
they were quick, easy to train, could fit in small
places, small fingers, and were willing to work for
lower wages.
Let’s hear about some history…
Camella Teoli Testifies about the
1912 Lawrence Textile Strike
► Background
30,000 largely immigrant
workers walked out of the
Lawrence, Massachusetts,
textile mills in January 1912
The strike began because of
unsafe working conditions in the
Also Massachusetts had passed a
law requiring a shorter work
week textile mill owners
responded by reducing workers'
Let’s hear some history…
She went before a U.S.
Congressional hearing in March
Testified about losing her
hair when it got caught in a
textile machine she was
Gained national headlines—
in part because
Helen Taft, the
wife of the
President Taft,
was there
The resulting publicity helped secure a strike victory
Where the Progressives came in…
► Believed
that child labor was detrimental to
children and to society.
Children should be:
Protected from harmful environments so that they
would become healthy, productive adults.
Their goals were to develop programs that
eliminate children's participation in industry
increase their involvement in education and
extracurricular activities.
Child Labor Laws enacted
► The
Keating-Owen Act (1916) would have
freed children from child labor only in
industries that engaged in interstate
Supreme Court declared
law unconstitutional in
1918 on the grounds
that Congress could not
regulate local labor
Child Labor Laws enacted
► President
Woodrow Wilson
approved and signed into law
the "Tax on Employment of
Child Labor“ (1919)
This placed a 10% tax on net
profits of businesses that
employed children under age
fourteen or made them work
more than eight hours a day,
six days a week.
► The
Supreme Court declared
this law unconstitutional.
Still a great deal of opposition to a
national amendment against child labor
► Opponents labeled the proposed amendment a
communist idea that government would control
the nation's businesses
Yet the initial passage of bills may have had
some effect on businesses
Number of working children (10 – 15) declined by
almost fifty percent between 1910 and 1920.
Some laws did make it onto the books
► The
Smith-Hughes Act (1917)
Provided one million dollars to
states that agreed to improve their
public schools by providing
vocational education programs.
► By
Would offer children an alternative to
1929 every state had a
provision banning children under
fourteen from working
Keating-Owen Act
► In
February 1941 the
Supreme Court overruled
the 1918 decision
► As
a result, businesses that
shipped goods out of state had
to abide by the ruling that
children could only work
outside of school hours and
that children under eighteen
were unable to work in jobs
that were hazardous to their
Reforms today
For example
Child Labor Laws
do not permit
employees younger
than 18 to work
with or repair,
adjust, or clean
machinery like
meat/deli slicers or
bakery mixers
Who was he?
Grew up in wealthy family
Began his career as a journalist at the New York
Evening Post.
- Later became an editor of McClure's
magazine (worked with other muckrakers)
- He and McClure’s took on corporate
monopolies and political machines
(corruption) , the awful conditions most
Americans lived and worked in, the tainted
food and water they ate and drank.
Cities began to use city commissions and
city managers
**see later
The commercial spirit is the spirit of profit, not patriotism; of credit, not
honor; of individual gain, not national prosperity; of trade and dickering, not
principle. "My business is sacred," says the businessman in his heart.
"Whatever prospers my business, is good; it must be. Whatever hinders it, is
wrong; it must be. A bribe is bad, that is, it is a bad thing to take; but it is not
so bad to give one, not if it is necessary to my business.“
~Lincoln Steffens The Shame of The Cities
Social Welfare
A hundred thousand people lived in rear
tenements in New York City last year.
Here is a room neater than the rest. The
spice of hot soapsuds is added to the air
already tainted with the smell of boiling
cabbage, of rags and uncleanliness all
about. It makes an overpowering
How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis
Who was he?
Social reformer, "muckraking" journalist
and social documentary photographer
Worked as a police reporter whose work
appeared in several New York newspapers
- documented the living and working
conditions of the poor
**As a result of his work - NYC passed building codes
to promote safety and health.
Let’s take a look
Social Welfare Reformers
► Target
Relieving the
poverty of
immigrants and
other city dwellers
► Early
Reform Program
Social Gospel movement
Preached salvation
through service to the
Leaders encouraged
churches erected in
poor communities
Persuaded some
business leaders to
treat workers more
► The
Settlement House Movement
Community Centers in slum neighborhoods
Provided- education (ex: English classes), culture (ex:
crafts, drama plays, music painting), day care
Butler YMCA – when established?
► Also
the YMCA and Salvation Army took
on service roles
► Way
to address some of the ongoing
problems of urbanization
Famous Settlement House
► Chicago
Hull-House – Jane Addams
Jane Addams (1905)
Hull-House Complex in 1906
Background on Jane Addams
Was the daughter of a well-to-do Illinois
Jane often went with her father on his trips to
the mills that he owned.
One day in 1867, her father had
business in the town of Freeport.
The mill next to the poorest section of
Rows of run-down houses crowded one
beside the other
Children dressed in ragged, dirty clothing
played in the streets.
"Papa, why do these people live in such
horrid little houses so close together?" she
"Because they have no money to live in better
places," he replied.
"Well, when I grow up, I shall live in a big
house…But it will not be built among the other
large houses, but right in the midst of horrid little
houses like these."
In 1889…Pursuing a dream
Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr,
rented a run-down mansion that once had
belonged to a man named Charles Hull.
► Location: in one of Chicago's industrial areas.
Many European immigrants lived in the
Spoke little, if any, English
► Lived in crowded, dirty tenements.
► Most worked in nearby factories
earning barely enough money to feed their families.
Addams and Starr hoped that
Hull House would bring some
light into these people's lives
Regarding Hull House
The Settlement ... is an experimental effort to aid in the solution of
the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the
modern conditions of life in a great city. It insists that these
problems are not confined to any one portion of the city. It is an
attempt to relieve, at the same time, the overaccumulation at one
end of society and the destitution at the other.
~Jane Addams "20 Years at Hull House", 1910
Many services offered
Kindergarten class/daycare for ►
children left at the settlement
while their mothers worked in ►
the sweatshops
Established the city’s first
public playground, bathhouse,
and public gymnasium
Provided nutritious food
for the sick
Offered courses
Became well known for its
success in aiding American
assimilation, especially
with immigrant youth
Stepped up to help…
Starr and Addams volunteered as
on-call doctors when the real
doctors weren't available (studied
Acted as midwives
Saved babies from neglect
Prepared the dead for burial
Nursed the sick
Gave shelter to domestic violence
For example, one Italian
bride had lost her wedding
ring and in turn was beaten
by her husband for a week.
She sought shelter at the
settlement and it was
granted to her.
In another case, a woman
was about to give birth to
an illegitimate baby, so
none of the Irish nurses
would touch it.
Addams and Starr stepped in
and delivered the baby
Her Legacy
won the Nobel Peace Prize in
1931 for her work
► When
she died in 1935,
Hull House filled an
entire city block.
It had inspired the creation of
hundreds of similar houses
across the U.S.
Progressive Journalism
► Focus
on: Corruption and social injustice
► Raise the consciousness of America
► Muckrakers
Upton Sinclair
and The Jungle 1906
► Born
in Baltimore
► Grew up poor
though money on
his mother’s side
(stayed with
grandparents due
to mother-son
► Gave him insight
into how both the
rich and the poor
Background con’t
Love for reading (5 yrs old)
read every book that his mother owned
for a deeper understanding of the
Major - Law, but he was more
interested in writing, and he
learned several languages
including Spanish, German
and French.
Entered City College of New York
(14 yrs old)
He wrote jokes, dime novels and
magazine articles in boy's weekly
and pulp magazines to pay for his
He graduated in 1897 
Columbia University
He supported himself
through college by writing
boys' adventure stories and
Investigative work…
In 1904, Sinclair spent seven weeks
in disguise, working undercover in
Chicago's meatpacking plants to
research his political fiction exposé
When it was published two years
later, it became a bestseller
Excerpt from The Jungle
Upton Sinclair’s
The Jungle Aftermath
► Consumer
Pure Food and Drug Act
Halted the sale of contaminated foods and medicines
and called for truth in labeling
Meat Inspection Act
The Act mandated cleaner conditions for meatpacking plants
Chicago Meatpacking Workers, 1905
"A nauseating job, but it must be done"

Progressive Age - Seneca Valley School District