Progressive Era Terms
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William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served in the United States Congress briefly as a Representative from Nebraska and was the 41st United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1916. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a supporter of popular democracy, an enemy of gold, banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite movement in the 1890s, a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, and an opponent of Darwinism on religious grounds. With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was one of the best known orators and lecturers of the era. Because of his faith in the goodness and rightness of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."
"Cross of Gold" Speech
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 8, 1896. The speech advocated bimetallism. Following the Coinage Act (1873), the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to operate a de facto gold standard. In 1896, the Democratic Party wanted to standardize the value of the dollar to silver and opposed a monometallic gold standard. The inflation that would result from the silver standard would make it easier for farmers and other debtors to pay off their debts by increasing their revenue dollars. It would also reverse the deflation which the U.S. experienced from 1873 to 1896.
Marcus Alonzo Hanna (September 24, 1837 – February 15, 1904), best known as Mark Hanna, was an American industrialist and Republican politician from Cleveland, Ohio. He rose to fame as the campaign manager of the successful Republican Presidential candidate, William McKinley, in the U.S. Presidential election of 1896 in a well-funded political campaign and subsequently became one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate.
Bland-Allison Act 1878
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The Bland-Allison Act was an 1878 act of Congress requiring the U.S. Treasury to buy a certain amount of silver and put it into circulation as silver dollars. Though the bill was vetoed by President Rutherford B. Hayes, the Congress overrode Hayes' veto on February 28, 1878 to enact the law.
Sherman Silver Purchase Act 1890
- The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted on July 14, 1890 as a United States federal law. It was named after its author, Senator John Sherman, an Ohio Republican, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. While not authorizing the free and unlimited coinage of silver that the Free Silver
- supporters wanted, it increased the amount of silver the government was
- required to purchase every month. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act had
- been passed in response to the growing complaints of farmers and mining
- interests. Farmers had immense debts that could not be paid off due to
- deflation caused by overproduction, and they urged the government to
- pass the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in order to boost the economy and
- cause inflation, allowing them to pay their debts with cheaper dollars.
- Mining companies, meanwhile, had extracted vast quantities of silver
- from western mines; the resulting oversupply drove down the price of th
In the United States, bimetallism became a center of political
- conflict toward the end of the nineteenth century. During the civil
- war, to finance the war the U.S. switched from bimetallism to a fiat
- greenback currency. After the war, in 1873, the government passed the Fourth Coinage Act
- and soon resumption to specie payments began without the free and
- unlimited coinage of silver. This put the U.S. on a mono-metallic gold
- standard. This angered the proponents of monetary silver, known as the silverites. They referred to this act as “The Crime of ’73,” as it was judged to have inhibited inflation. The Panic of 1893
- was a severe nationwide depression that brought the money issue to the
- fore. The "silverites" argued that using silver would inflate the money
- supply and mean more cash for everyone, which they equated with
- prosperity. The gold advocates said silver would permanently depress
- the economy, but that sound money produced by a gold standard would restore prosperity.
- "The Gold-Bug" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina,
- the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a
- gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears him to be going insane and
- goes to Legrand's friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his
- old friend. Legrand pulls the other two into an adventure after
- deciphering a secret message that will lead to a buried treasure.
- The story is often compared with Poe's "tales of ratiocination" as an early form of detective fiction.
- Poe became aware of the public's interest in secret writing in 1840 and
- asked readers to challenge his skills as a code-breaker. Poe took
- advantage of the popularity of cryptography
- as he was writing "The Gold-Bug" and the success of the story centers
- on one such cryptogram. The character of Jupiter has been criticized as
- racist from a modern perspective especially because his speech is written in dialect and because of his often-comical dialogue.
Gold Standard Act 1900
- The Gold Standard Act of the United States was passed in 1900 (approved on March 14) and established gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money, stopping bimetallism (which had allowed silver in exchange for gold). It was signed by President William McKinley.
- The Act fixed the value of the dollar at 25 8⁄10 grains of gold at 90% purity, equivalent to 23.22 grains (1.5046 grams) of pure gold.
- The Gold Standard Act confirmed the nation's commitment to the gold standard by assigning gold a specific dollar value (just over $20.67 per Troy ounce). This took place after McKinley sent a team to Europe to try to figure out a silver agreement with France and Great Britain.
- Progressivism is a political attitude favoring or advocating
- changes or reform through governmental action. Progressivism is often
- viewed in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies. The Progressive Movement
- began in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were
- interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at
- work. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating
- tenement housing and child labor. They also called for better working
- conditions for women.
- In the United States, the term progressivism
- emerged in the late 19th century into the 20th century in reference to
- a more general response to the vast changes brought by
- industrialization: an alternative to both the traditional conservative
- response to social and economic issues and to the various more radical streams of socialism and anarchism which opposed them. Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
- Lincoln Steffens (April 6, 1866 – August 9, 1936) was an
- American journalist, lecturer, and political philosopher, and one of
- the most famous practitioners of the journalistic style called muckraking.
The Shame of the Cities 1904
- The Shame of the Cities was a work published in 1904 by Lincoln Steffens that sought to expose public corruption in many major cities throughout the United States. The work consists of articles written for the magazine McClure's
- in one collection. His goal was to provoke public outcry and thus
- promote reform. It showed the suffering and hardships of those who
- immigrated to America.
- It is considered one of the first primary examples of muckraking journalism.
- The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most prominent in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The movement applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially social justice,
- inequality, liquor, crime, racial tensions, slums, bad hygiene, child
- labor, weak labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war.
- Theologically, the Social Gospel leaders were overwhelmingly post-millennialist. That is because they believed the Second Coming could not happen until humankind rid itself of social evils by human effort. Social Gospel leaders were predominantly associated with the liberal wing[clarification needed] of the Progressive Movement and most were theologically liberal, although they were typically conservative when it came to their views on social issues. Important leaders include Richard T. Ely, Washington Gladden, and Walter Rauschenbusch.
Walter Rauschenbusch (October 4, 1861 - July 25, 1918) was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister. He was a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the United States of America.
Pope Leo XIII
- ope Leo XIII (2 March 1810 - 20 July 1903), born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903 in succession to Pope Pius IX. Reigning until the age of 93, he was the oldest pope, and had the third longest pontificate, behind his immediate predecessor Pius IX and John Paul II.
- He is known for intellectualism, the development of social teachings with his encyclical Rerum Novarum and his attempts to define the position of the Church with regard to modern thinking. He impacted Roman Catholic Mariology and promoted both the rosary and the scapular. He issued a record eleven encyclicals on the rosary, approved two new Marian scapulars and was the first Pope to fully embrace the concept of Mary as mediatrix.
Settlement House Movement
- The settlement movement was a reformist social movement,
- beginning in the 1880s and peaking around the 1920s in England and the
- US, with a goal of getting the rich and poor in society to live more
- closely together in an interdependent community. Its main object was
- the establishment of "settlement houses" in poor urban areas, in which
- volunteer middle-class "settlement workers" would live, hoping to share
- knowledge and culture with, and alleviate the poverty of their
- low-income neighbors. In the US, by 1913 there were 413 settlements in 32 states.
- ane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In a long, complex, career, she was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House
- in Chicago, public philosopher (the first American woman in that role),
- sociologist, author, and leader in woman suffrage and world peace. She
- was the most prominent woman of the Progressive Era
- and helped turn the nation to issues of concern to mothers, such as the
- needs of children, public health and world peace. She emphasized that
- women have a special responsibility to clean up their communities and
- make them better places to live, arguing they needed the vote to be
- effective. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who
- volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being
- recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy.
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Hull House in March 2010
- 800 S. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois
- 41°52′19.28″N 87°38′50.11″W / 41.8720222°N 87.6472528°W / 41.8720222; -87.6472528Coordinates: 41°52′19.28″N 87°38′50.11″W / 41.8720222°N 87.6472528°W / 41.8720222; -87.6472528
- building built in 1856, institution founded 1889
- Architectural style(s):
- Governing body:
- College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago
- Added to NRHP:
- October 15, 1966
- Designated NHL:
- June 23, 1965
- Designated CL:
- June 12, 1974
- NRHP Reference#:
- Hull House is a settlement house in the United States that was co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. Located in the Near West Side of Chicago, Illinois,
- Hull House immediately opened its doors to the recently arrived
- European immigrants. By 1911, Hull House had grown to 13 buildings. In
- 1912 the Hull House complex was completed with the addition of a summer
- camp, the Bowen Country Club.
- With its innovative social, educational, and artistic programs, Hull
- House became the standard bearer for the movement that had grown, by
- 1920, to almost 500 settlement houses nationally.
- Lillian D. Wald (March 10, 1867 – 1940) was a nurse; social
- worker; public health official; teacher; author; editor; publisher;
- activist for peace, women's, children's and civil rights; and the
- founder of American community nursing. Her unselfish devotion to
- humanity is recognized around the world and her visionary programs have
- been widely copied.
Henry Street Settlement
- Henry Street Settlement is a not-for-profit multi-faceted social service agency in New York City
- that provides social services, arts programs and health care services
- to New Yorkers of all ages. It was founded on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1893 by Progressive reformer Lillian Wald.
Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was an American economist and sociologist, and a leader of the so-called institutional economics movement. Besides his technical work he was a popular and witty critic of capitalism, as shown by his best known book The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899).
Ashcan School of Painting
A Theory of the Leisure Class
- The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions is a book, first published in 1899, by the Norwegian-American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen while he was a professor at the University of Chicago.
- In the book's introduction he explains that much of the material
- discussed can be traced back to the proper sources by any well-read
- person. The Theory of the Leisure Class is considered one of the first detailed critiques of consumerism.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist
- during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and
- she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because
- of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work
- today is her semi-autobiographical short story The Yellow Wallpaper which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis.
- The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was an American women's rights organization formed in May 1890 as a unification of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA).
- The NAWSA continued the work of both associations by becoming the
- parent organization of hundreds of smaller local and state groups, and by helping to pass woman suffrage
- legislation at the state and local level. The NAWSA was the largest and
- most important suffrage organization in the United States, and was the
- primary promoter of women's right to vote. Like AWSA and NWSA before
- it, the NAWSA pushed for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing
- women's voting rights, and was instrumental in winning the ratification
- of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920.
Equal Rights Amendment
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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress, but failed to gain ratification before its June 30, 1982 deadline.
Alice Stokes Paul (January 11, 1885 – July 9, 1977) was an American suffragette and activist. Along with Lucy Burns and others, she led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
National Women's Party
- The National Woman's Party (NWP), was a women's organization founded by Alice Paul in 1915 that fought for women's rights during the early 20th century in the United States, particularly for the right to vote on the same terms as men. In contrast to other organizations, such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which focused on lobbying individual states (and from which the NWP split), the NWP put its priority on the passage of a constitutional amendment ensuring women's suffrage. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns founded the organization originally under the name the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage
- in 1913; by 1917, the name had been changed to the National Women's
- Party. After the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote in 1920, the
- NWP turned its attention to passage of an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)to
- the Constitution. Congress passed such an Amendment and most states
- ratified it, but at the last minute in 1960 it was stopped by a
- coalition of conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly
- and ERA never passed. However the NWP in 1964 did succeed, with the
- support of conservatives and over the opposition of liberals, blacks
- and labor unions, to have "sex" added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus achieving most of the goals sought by the NWP.
Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American sex educator, birth control activist and the founder of the American Birth Control League.
Mann Act 1910
The White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 (ch. 395, 36 Stat. 825; codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 2421–2424), better known as the Mann Act after Congressman James Robert Mann, is a United States law which in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes”. Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking. While its ambiguous immorality language allowed selective prosecutions for many years, it was later amended by Congress to apply only to transport for the purpose of prostitution or illegal sexual acts.
Charles A. Beard
- Charles Austin Beard (November 27, 1874 – September 1, 1948) was, with Frederick Jackson Turner,
- one of the most influential American historians of the first half of
- the 20th century. He published hundreds of monographs, textbooks and
- interpretive studies in both history and political science. His works
- included radical re-evaluation of the founding fathers of the United States,
- who he believed were motivated more by economics than by philosophical
- principles. Beard's most influential book, written with his wife Mary Beard, was the wide-ranging and bestselling The Rise of American Civilization (1927), which had a major influence on American historians.
Economic Interpretation of the Constitution
- An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is a 1913 book by American historian Charles A. Beard. It argues that the structure of the Constitution of the United States was motivated primarily by the personal financial interests of the Founding Fathers. More specifically, Beard contends that the Constitutional Convention
- was attended by, and the Constitution was therefore written by, a
- "cohesive" elite seeking to protect its personal property (especially
- bonds) and economic standing. Beard examined the occupations and
- property holdings of the members of the convention from tax and census
- records, contemporaneous news accounts, and biographical sources,
- demonstrating the degree to which each stood to benefit from various
- Constitutional provisions. Beard pointed out, for example, that George Washington
- was the wealthiest landowner in the country, and had provided
- significant funding towards the Revolution. Beard traces the
- Constitutional guarantee that the newly formed nation would pay its
- debts to the desire of Washington and similarly situated lenders to
- have their costs refunded.
- The Commissioners' Plan of 1811 was the original design plan for the streets of Manhattan, which put in place the grid plan that has defined Manhattan to this day.
- It originated as a proposal by the New York State Legislature, adopted in 1811 for the orderly development and sale of the land of Manhattan between 14th Street and Washington Heights. The plan is arguably the most famous use of the grid plan
- and is considered by most historians to have been far-reaching and
- visionary. Since its earliest days, the plan has been criticized for
- its monotony and rigidity, in comparison with irregular street patterns
- of older cities, but in recent years has been viewed more favorably by
- urban planning critics.
Governor Charles Evans Hughes
Charles Evans Hughes, Sr. (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was a lawyer and Republican politician from the State of New York. He served as the 36th Governor of New York (1907–1910), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1910–1916), United States Secretary of State (1921–1925), and the 11th Chief Justice of the United States (1930–1941). He was the Republican candidate in the 1916 U.S. Presidential election, losing to Woodrow Wilson. Hughes was an important leader of the progressive movement of the 1900s, a leading diplomat and New York lawyer in the days of Harding and Coolidge, and a leader of opposition to the New Deal in the 1930s. Historian Clinton Rossiter has hailed him as a leading American conservative.
"Laboratory of Democracy"
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Women's Christian Temperance Union
The Promise of American Life
Pure Food & Drug Act 1906
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