Blend in below:


39a. Education
42. Progressivism Sweeps the Nation
42b. Muckrakers

43. Progressives in the White House
43f. The Election of 1912
43g. Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom

Digital History
Jane Addams
Roots of Progressivism

Frank Norris, The Octopus

Ida M. Tarbell, "The History of the Standard Oil Company,"

Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities, 1904, "Introduction and Some Conclusions"


Women Suffrage

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial

100 Years Later: Examining the Impact of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Foreign Missionary Movement in the 19th and early 20th Centuries (useful links)

Evangelicalism as a Social Movement

38e. Religious Revival: The Social Gospel

Dwight Moody

Hitting the Sawdust Trail with Billy Sunday

Religious Revival: The "Social Gospel"

Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianizing the Social Order,

Birth of Bull Moose Party

NWHM Woman Suffrage Cyber Exhibit

Progressive movement
  • How to deal with unregulated industrial capitalism.
  • Willing to use government power to do so.
  • Could not always agree on the problem or proposed solution.

Progressive contradictions.

Balancing act between will of the people and government acting as conscience.

Classic American political dilemma.

General goals:
  • Ending the abuse of power
  • Reforming social institutions
  • Promoting bureaucratic and scientific efficiency.

Women in the Progressive Era (National Women's History Museum)
My Website Spotlight blog post

Documents: Progressive Era

Authentic History: Progressive Era

Leaders of the Progressive Movement

  • College-educated
  • Middle–class
  • Professionals: law, medicine, engineering, social work, teaching, business.

  • Today's investigative reporters.
  • Exposed business abuses and political corruption.

Some of the best–known muckrakers:

Frank Norris

The Octopus (1901) attacked the Southern Pacific Railroad in California.

Frank Norris: The Octopus in the West (National Humanities Center)

Ida Tarbell

History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) showed how Standard Oil came to control an entire industry.

Ida Tarbell obituary (New York Times)

Standard Oil Ordered to Dissolve (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)

Ida Tarbell (American Experience)

National Humanities Center Toolbox
The Gilded & Gritty, America, 1870-1912
Power: Taming the Octopus
2. Standard Oil
- Ida M. Tarbell, "The History of the Standard Oil Company," McClure's Magazine, 1902-1904, excerpts
- John D. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences of Men and Events, 1909 (publ. 1933), excerpts
- U.S. Supreme Court, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey et al. v. U.S., 1911, excerpts

Lincoln Steffens

Shame of the Cities (1904) exposed corruption in various city governments.

Lincoln Steffens

Lincoln Steffens Exposes “Tweed Days in St. Louis”

Shame of the Cities: Steffens on Urban Blight

Plunkitt’s Plain Talk: Satirizing Steffens

Upton Sinclair

The Jungle (1906) described awful conditions in Chicago meat–packing plants.

Upton Sinclair obituary (New York Times)

Upton Sinclair (Finding Dulcinea)

Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair (New York Times)

Upton Sinclair (Social Security)

The Jungle (History Matters)

Muckrakers. Not much legislation resulted from all the effort.
  • Safer factories
  • Shorter workday
  • Workers' compensation
  • Better housing
  • Health safeguards.

Progressive reforms at the city and state levels

City level

Reformers first tried to eliminate corruption at the city level through
  • Civil service hiring
  • Nonpartisan elections
  • City–manager form of government
  • Public ownership of utilities

Prevent gas, electric, and streetcar monopolies

State level. To solve problems covering more than one city.

Reform governors. Several earned a national reputation.

Robert M. LaFollette (Wisconsin Historical Society)

Robert LaFollette (US Senate)

Robert LaFollette (Architect of the Capitol)

Progressivism and the Wisconsin Idea (Wisconsin Historical Society)

Wisconsin Protesters Invoke the Legacy of 'Fighting Bob' -

Hiram Johnson (California)
Charles Evans Hughes (New York)
Woodrow Wilson (New Jersey).

Progressive political reforms at the state level:

  • Initiative. Voters (10%) can propose new laws.

  • Referendum. People's veto. Voters (10%) can reject a law.

  • Recall. People's impeachment. Voters (25%) can remove an officeholder.

  • Direct primary. Voters nominate general election candidates of own party

  • Direct election of U.S. Senators. 17th Amendment (1913) replaced the former method: selection by state legislatures.

Progressive education

Key name: John Dewey

John Dewey obituary (New York Times)

Curriculum changes
Not rote memorization
Not outdated subjects
Real–life problems.
Personal development, not merely subject matter

Progressive lawyers
  • Argued that law should be flexible enough to reflect needs of society.
  • Conservative judges (using laissez–faire arguments) opposed
  • [We saw this split in the 2000 election court cases]

Social Gospel

The Social Gospel and the Progressive Era (National Humanities Center)

Walter Rauschenbusch (God in America)


Remember to use Google Images for persons, events, newspaper headlines

Triangle Fire pulls together themes of progressivism, immigration, and industrialization.

Triangle Fire (Finding Dulcinea)

Triangle (Famous Trials)
1. Doug Linder's essay
2. Newspaper Accounts
3. The Victims (note the sad descriptions)

Triangle (American Experience)
1. Introduction
2. Frances Perkins
3. The Price of Fashion (Photo Gallery)
4. What is a Shirtwaist?
5. New York Times coverage of the fire

NYT Learning Network

Women's Suffrage

Reforming Their World: Women in the Progressive Era (National Women's History Museum)

Picketing for Suffrage (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Votes for Women (Library of Congress)

19th Amendment (Woman's Suffrage) (Chronicling America, Library of Congress)

Women's Suffrage in the Progressive Era (Library of Congress)

Women's Suffrage (History Now entire issue)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Susan B. Anthony Votes (On this Day, Finding Dulcinea)

Susan B. Anthony Trial (Famous Trials)

British Suffragette Trampled by King's Horse (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)


Prohibition (Chronicling America LOC)

Temperance and Prohibition (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Prohibition (Ken Burns)
My Website Spotlight blog post

Prohibition (Stanford History Education Group)

Carrie Nation (Chronicling America, Library of Congress)

Carrie Amelia Moore Nation (1846–1911) (Encyclopedia of Arkansas)

Today in History: December 27 Temperance, Cary Nation, 1900
Temperance, Carrie Nation (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Carrie A. Nation (Kansas Historical Society)

Carrie Nation's Hammer (Kansas Historical Society)

Prohibition: A Case Study of Progressive Reform (Library of Congress)



Remember to use Google Images for persons, events, newspaper headlines

Theodore Roosevelt (Miller Center, University of Virginia)

New Nationalism

Motto of the Theodore Roosevelt presidency

  • TR believed government should direct national affairs
  • Government should coordinate and regulate big business
  • Government should not destroy big business.
  • Government should act as an umpire.
  • Roosevelt was a Republican, party of big business.

He was thus in an awkward position.

Theodore Roosevelt, "The New Nationalism," address, 1910

Obama comparison to TR speech (Washington Post)

Regulation of trusts

Major issue in the Roosevelt presidency

  • Industrialization had led to a concentration of great power.
  • Large–scale business combinations were then called "trusts";

Today we would call them conglomerates or multinationals.
  • By 1904, for example, trusts controlled much of American business:

6 large financial groups dominated the railroad industry;
Rockefeller's Standard Oil owned 85% of the oil business.
  • No one really clear on how to deal with trusts:

Let trusts alone since big business is an inevitable part of progress
Distinguish between good and bad trusts
Regulate good trusts (if so, who should be the regulators)
Break up bad trusts into smaller companies.
Theodore Roosevelt sought to regulate the abuses of the worst trusts—the railroads, oil companies, and the meatpacking monopolies.
We still do not have a solution.
We vary between regulation and deregulation


  • TR disagreed with Taft and the "Old Guard" Republicans,
  • TR left the Republican party to set up a third party

Progressive (Bull Moose) party.
  • Republican vote split between Taft and TR
  • Woodrow Wilson slipped in as the Democratic president

Progressive Party Platform of 1912

Remember to use Google Images for persons, events, newspaper headlines

Political Cartoons Illustrating Progressivism and the Election of 1912 (National Archives: Teaching With Documents)

Bull Moose Party (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Election of 1912 (Chronicling America, Library of Congress)

Election of 1912 (Miller Center, University of Virginia)

Election of 1912 Resource Guide (Library of Congress)

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs

President William Howard Taft obituary (New York Times)

William Howard Taft (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Election of 1912

Theodore Roosevelt (American Experience)

Today in History: June 22 Bull Moose Party (Library of Congress)
Read the section entitled "Bull Moose Born"

Election of 1912 (Miller Center, University of Virginia)

WOODROW WILSON (1913–1921).

Woodrow Wilson (American Experience)

Woodrow Wilson (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Life Before the Presidency
The Campaign and Election of 1916
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs