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The Progressives: Activism and Reform in American Society, 1893 - 1917

The Progressives: Activism and Reform in American Society, 1893 - 1917

Karen Pastorello (Original Author)

ISBN: 978-1-118-65112-4 November 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 272 Pages




The Progressives offers comprehensive coverage of the origins, evolution, and notable events that came to define the pivotal period of American history known as the Progressive Era.

  • Offers a rich, in-depth analysis of who the progressives were and the process through which they identified and attacked social, economic, and political injustices
  • Features an up-to-date synthesis of the literature of the field including comprehensive treatment of the role of women in the Progressive Movement
  • Considers the movement’s enduring impact  – and how its vision for a better society became transfixed in the American social consciousness and helped to create the modern welfare state
  • Part of the well-respected American History series
  • Integrates themes of class, race, ethnicity, and gender throughout, offering a concise and engaging account of a fascinating era in U.S. history that forever changed the relationship between a democratic government and its citizens

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Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Setting the Stage: The Birth of the Progressive Impulse, 1893–1900 13

On the Farm 13

City Life 18

Hard Times: The Depression of 1893 24

Businesses: Small to Large 26

Small businesses evolve 26

Big business 34

Mergers and monopolies 37

Labor 38

The workplace in transition 40

The struggle to organize 42

Working women 46

African American workers 49

Immigrant workers 50

A New Era Dawns 51

2 Saving Society: Who Were the Progressives? 56

The Muckrakers 57

From Religious Roots to Secular Salvation 64

Fundamentalists 65

The Social Gospelers 66
Intellectual inspiration 67

From Charity Cases to Social Work 68

Women Progressives 70

Club women 70

Settlement workers advocate social justice 73

Professionalization in the Progressive Era 80

Social workers 81

The medical field 83

The legal profession 88

Engineering 89

Academia 89

The female professions: teaching, nursing, and librarianship 91

Businessmen 93

Labor Unions and Radical Movements 96

Other Special Interest Groups 98

Politicians and early reform 98

The “immigrant problem” 99

African Americans 100

Nativists 101

Farmers and Rural Reform 103

3 “Constructing the World Anew”: Progressive Agency, 1900–1911 106

Stepping into a New World: The Industrial City 106

Settlement Workers Transform the Neighborhoods 109

Women’s Political Culture Emerges 114

Jane Addams elevates settlement activism 116

Workers on the Move 118

Health and safety in the workplace 120

Florence Kelley and the Push for Protective Legislation 127

Child labor 129

Educational Reform 133

Social Centers 135

The Chautauqua movement 138

Country Life Commission 139

Political Pathways to Reform 141

Mugwumps, machine politics, and municipal reform 141

The Good Government movement 143

Beautiful cities and urban planning: from aesthetics to efficiency 145

State Level Reform 148

LaFollette and the Wisconsin Idea 148

Beyond Wisconsin 150

Businessmen Left Behind 151

The Radical Political Reaction 152

Socialists 152

Industrial Workers of the World 153

Labor Leans Political 155

Labor’s Bill of Grievances 156

Workplace activism 160

Progressivism Takes Center Stage 161

4 The Shape of Things to Come: Progressivism and the Transition to Modern Life, 1912–1917 165

The Rise of Consumerism 165

Impact of the automobile 168

Corporate America Takes Control 170

Scientific management 171

Welfare capitalism 173

The Triangle Waist Factory Fire 174

The legacy of Triangle 176

The Election of 1912 178

Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party platform 180

The incumbent: William Howard Taft 184

Eugene Debs and the Socialists 185

Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic platform 185

Wilson in the White House 186

The election of 1916 189

Progressivism in the National Consciousness 191

Conclusion: The Progressives’ Progress 194

Bibliographical Essay 211

Index 247