PROGRESSIVISM - America’s response to industrialism

American Exceptionalism

Looking back at “Not without my daughter”  you can see they are a traditional society.  All must venerate the old ways.  Our society was born with the Puritan idea of being a new world.   Our country was born with the idea of American Exceptionalism.  We were constantly trying to get beyond the past.  We don’t revere the past.  Rather we revile the past.   We must improve upon the past and head to that glorious future where we can be redeemed.


The civil war was a great crusade against evils.  A purification of our nation from the sin of slavery.


And though we took a little break after the civil war, it wasn’t long before the new challenge, the Industrial Revolution, brought our crusading nature back to the forefront.


Progressive era means to what?  Work for progress in several areas.   And a committed group of


And the Progressive era is one in which we crusade again for betterment on all fronts.  Better working conditions, better environment, better morals, cleaner government.


The main labor question

Between the civil war and 1900 steam and electricity replaced human muscle, iron replaced wood, then steel replaced iron.


Before the civil war it took 61 hours of labor to produce an acre of wheat.  By 1900 it took 3 hours, 19 minutes.  Electrical wire needed copper, of which 30,000 tons were produced in 1880; 500,000 in 1910.


The question is who built america? The republicans say the rich.  The democrats say the workers.   Do you take the side of the ingenious inventors and managers or the workers who did back-breaking unhealthy and dangerous work to make it happen.



Henry Ford - Cars - (1863 - 1947)

Henry Ford was born on a Farm. He was the first child and, as agriculturists, his family was happy to see he was a boy child.  But from an early age he hated farm work.  He did like tools and machines though.  They had a saw mill on the farm and soon he began to repair machinery. 


He went to a country school and never learned to read and write so well,  But he could read machinery.  By thirteen he was repairing machinery for miles around his farm.  He would ride his horse from farm to farm.


At sixteen he left the farm and moved to Detroit Michigan.  There he got a job working in a shop that built steam engines.  He built a steam car.  But then realized “sitting on a high pressure steam boiler is not altogether pleasant”. His was raised a farmer, and his early ambition was to “lift farm drudgery off flesh and blood and lay it on steel and motors.”  He said he realized “that horses, considering all the bother of attending them and the expense of feeding, did not earn their keep.  The obvious thing to do was to design and build a steam enginge...”


But that wouldn’t pay his rent (it only paid 2.50 a week and his boarding house room was 3.50 a week.  He got  a second job cleaning clocks.  One day when the owner left, he went to the watch repair bench and started taking watches apart.  Before kicking him out, the man looked at his work and hired him.  Henry had to work in the back though so that customers wouldn’t see the boy working on their expensive watches.


He, however, fell in Love with one Clara Bryant.  To afford her he had to move back to the farm.  He still did odd repairs though.  One day he did one at a bottling plant.  He repaired something he’d never seen before, a gasoline powered horseless carriage.


They  moved back to detroit.  He took odd jobs and worked at night.  He had a powerful vision of the usefulness of horseless carriages.  He knew others were working on it too.  So he kept his workings a secret.  Eventually he made an engine.


By On June 4th , 1896 he was ready to try his new invention.  He mounted the engine ona cart t=with bicycle wheels and a a bicycle seat.    He had made one that went 10 and 20  miles per hour (a lever changed it).   It took him 23 years.


It was first and for a long time only gas engine in Detroit.  It was considered a nuisance for it made a lot of noise and scared horses.  It started crowds whereever it went.  People thought it crazy that a man would spend somuch time on such a hobby.  But he made a reliable one.


He sold his first car for $200.  He used it to build another .


He eventually go tabackers to help him finance a factory.  He then developed the assembly line.  Each person stayed at his station and did one job.


In 1909 he sold 10,607 autos; in 1913 168,000 in 1914 248,000.


He created an industry, employed millions and created a tool of social revolution.


Andrew Carnegie - steel

Andrew Carnegie came to this country from Scotland at the age of 12 in 1848.  His first job was as a bobbin boy  in a cotton mill.  It paid $1.20 a week.  He became amessenger boy .


Andrew carnegie was a telegraph clerk at seventeen, then secretary to the head of the Pennsylvania Railroad, then a broker in Wall Street selling railroad bonds for huge commissions, by 1868 he was a millionaire. 


He decided to get into steel.  When times were bad he started buying steel mills around Pittsburg.

As we saw, he then set out to control all aspects of steel making.


In 1872 he saw the new method for making steel (bessemer) and returned to the US to build a million dollar steel plant.


He then started to control all of the iron ore and coke used to refine it.  He Built his own transportation facilities to make the production cheeper.

  He paid congress money to put a high tarrif on incoming steel, and finally he set out tot control the workers. 


by 1900 he made 40 million a year. 


He sold his steel company to J P Morgan for 492 million.  Morgan combined all steel companies and sold  new stock for the combined company and took 150 million fee for doing so.  How could he pay dividends to all those stockholders?  By making sure congress passed higher tarrifs.  By closing off competition and by working 200,000 men at 12 hour days that barely kept their families alive.


By the time he died he gave away 300 million dollars. 



Big Business and Government

All of these industries got big benefits from the government.  They got free land on which to build the railroads.  They got police to guard their things. 


One of president clevelands chief advisors was a millionaire and corporate lawyer, who married into the standard oil fortune. He was made secretary of the Navy by Cleveland.  He immediately set about to create a “steel navy” buying the steel at very high prices from Carnegie.


So these rich monopolies were getting big benefits from the government.  The richest were cooperating amongst eachother and it looked like the governments job was to do favors for the rich, settle upper class disputes and keep the poor down.


The congress was said to be the best money could buy.


Elections meant nothing.  Democrats and Republicans both were doing big favors for big business and repressing workers.

The first transcontinental railroad was built with blood sweat politics and thievery. 

Central Pacific started on the West Coast goin east; it spent $200,000 in Washington on bribes to get 9 million acres of  free land and 24 milion in bonds.


It was built by three thousand Irish and ten thousand Chinese, over a period of four years, working for one or two dolllars a day.


Union Pacific did the same going east with irish and war veterans and a gift of 12 million acres of land and 27 million in bonds.


They did long twisting routes to get subsidies from towns they went through.  In 1869 they met amid fanfare in Utah.

The other half

In 1899 mens average yearly pay was $500, womens was $269 and Andrew Carnegie made $23 million.


In the steel industry an 84 hour work week was not unheard of.

And many industries were seasonal so there were periods of no work at all.


In the textile mills the average work week was 72 hours.  This was 6 twelve hour days.

Those is the sweatshops had high rates of tuberculosis and other diseas.


Miners went to work before the sun went up and finished after night and so went much of the time without knowing if it were day or night.


people in factories and mines had respiratory diseases. 


There were no holidays, sick leave, unemployment compensation or reimbursement for injuries.


In 1882 an average of 675 laborers were killed at work each weak.  In 1904 27,000 workers were killed on the job.  In 1914 35,000 were killed and 700,000 injured.


 Children worked in all of these industries.


Child labor

Wages were so low that everyone had to hold down a job. Do you know when the law said children could start working?  Six. 

Parents needed the money and the kids would work all day and night and then if they fell asleep they’d be beaten.  They’d fall asleep in the machines. then they’d have to pay for the machines they messed up.


In 1900 248,000 children between the ages of 10 and 15 worked in mines , nills and factories.


It was estimated that at least 10 million of Americas 76 million people were so poor they could not “obtain those necessaries which will permit them to maintain a state of physical efficiency.” (poverty by Robert Hunter).



Workers had to be near their work.Why? To be near the factory.  Now we drive, then...

Sanitary facilities were primitive, with often twenty or more families sharing the same privies and drawing water from one well only during some times.

Windows were taxed so no ventillation Cheap homes with thin bricks and three neighbors.

Trash and disease cholera claimed tens of thousands.  People thought it was bad air and closed their windows.


50 million americans could be classified as poor.

Millions lacked “a sanitary dwelling and suffiecient food and clothing to keep the body in working order. Guess what the average age of death was.


The average age of death for workers in industrial Manchester was seventeeen , rural it was 38.  In liverpool it was 15.

In the area of Manchester it was like returning from a campaign.

They used to work alot but at their own pace.  Now they work at the pace of a machine.


Show the poor eating out of the pigs troft


Labor Unions

Owners of factories were dependent on those who made the machines run.

The workers decided to form unions.  Then they would strike if they were treated badly.


One big union was called the International Workers of the World (IWW) otherwise known as the “wobblies”. 


In Lawrence Massachusetts in 1912, the American Woolen company had four mills.  The workers lived in a crowded flammable wooden tenament.  The workers made $8.76 a week.  This was for a 56 hour week. $400 a year.  This was not enough to feed their families who often had just bread and water to eat.  Many of the boys and girls there died within the first 3 years of working.  36 of every 100 of the workers died before they were 25. 


The people had their wages lowered from 56 to 54 hours a week.  This would be, normally a cause for celebration.  But they found that, in January, midwinter that their wages were also lwered by 32 cents a week. 


The women workers started shouting , “not enough pay not enough pay” , stopped their looms and walked out.    The next day, 5000 women at another mill quit, and marched to another mill,rushed the gates, shut off the power and soon 10,000 workers were on strike.  The IWW showed up to organize the strike,  Mass meetings and parades. 


The mayor and govenor ordered out the militia.  A parade of strikers was attacked.  This led to rioting all day and a striker, Anna LoPizzo, was shot and killed.  They arrested the strike leaders for it (though a policeman was seen doing it.


The next day martial law was declared, and citizens were forbidden to talk on the street.  36 strikers were arrested and a striker John Ramy was killed.  ‘But the strikers continued saying “Bayonettes cannot weave cloth” 


In February the strikers began mass picketing 7-10,000 marching saying “don’t be a scab”  But food was running scarce.  The children of strikers were hungry.    A  IWW newspaper asked for people to take care of the kids.  In 3 days they got 400 offers to take care of the kids.   On February 10th over a hundred kids left for NY.  They were greeted by 5,000 sympathizers.


With children gone, the strike could go on.  So the city said no more children could leave.  When 40 children tried to depart, the police attacked.  One pregnant woman was taken to the hospital and gave birth to a dead child. Still the workers held out. 


Finally the American Woolen Company gave in.  It gave raises of 5-11%, time and a half for overtime, and no discrimination against those who’d struck.l  On March 14, 1912 they voted to end the strike.


When the arrested strike workers went on trial, 15,000 workers struck for a day.    Then 2,000really active folk were fired.  But on threat of strike they were rehired and the jury found the leaders not guilty.


From 1900-1905 hardly a week went by without one craft or another demanding higher wages or shorter hours.




Carnegie - Homestead Strike -1892

Henry clay Frick was managing the plant at Homestead pittspurg for him.  Carnegie was back in Scotland.

Frick decided to lower the wages for some of the workers  and break the union.  He built a fence 3 miles long and 12 feet high around the steelworks and topped it with barbed wire, adding peepholes for rifles.  When the workers didn’t accept the pay cut he fired all of them. 


The Pinkerton detective agency was hired to protect the strikebreakers. 


10,000 strikers then took over the area outside the plant.  5000 pinkertons came down river on a boat.  The strikers warned them not to get off the boat.  The strikers had guns and dynamite.  A  striker laid down on the gang plank. 
When a pinkerton tried to move him off the striker shot him in the thigh.  Gun fire broke out and there were several hours of fighting.  3 guards and 10 strikers were killed .  The Pinkertons had to retreat onto the barges. 


For the next several days the strikers were in command of the area.  But then the govenor brought in the 8000 national guardsman with rifles and gatling guns to protect the strikebreakers.

Strike leaders were charged with murder and 160 others were tried for other crimes.  All were acquitted by friendly juries.  The strike committee was charged with treason but again no jury would convict.


Alexander Berkman had another plan.  He was going to shoot Frick.  He planned this with his famous lover Emma Goldman. But they had no money, no gun.  Emma whored herself to get the money.  He entered Fricks office but was a poor shooter.  He shot Frick in the shoulder and was then overwhelmed.  He got 14 years in a state penitentiary.  He wrote a bood calledPrison Memoirs of an Anarchist.  Emma Golman wrote, Living My Life.  They both said we need radical actions in the face of injustice.


The strike went on for 4 months, but he steal kept coming out. And after the murder attempt public sympathy left the strikers.  After four months the strikers gave up.


The the workers took pay cuts and increase in hours without organized resistance.  Carnegies plants weren’t organized.


Adam Smith

This may be the most important lecture of the year.  This will help us know where you stand politically.


They write an essay on if people are poor because they are bad or because they have no chance.  Are people rich because they make others poor, or because they got rich.


Book is “wealth of nations” 1776. 


He kills mercantillism.  Go over mercantillism.

Capitalism: money rules 

Invisible hand= money will meet all needs.


Adam Smith defined Laissez Faire capitalism.  Also called capitalism.  Laissez Faire means “Leave to do”.  It is our system.




But we aren’t exactly Laissez Faire capitalist.  We’ll compare us to the ideal.

one problem with laissez faire capitalism is Monopoly:  one big business controls an industry.


1)  The thing that motivates people is selfishness.  People don’t go into business for societal good.  Economists have concluded that greed often works to the best of society.  This is the invisible hand.  If they produce what the society wants they will succeed.  If not they will fail.  The buyer buys what he wants and the seller sells what they want.  We get the most out of our dollar when we do our own shopping.  If we buy cheap and they sell for the most they can get all will work out.


Illustrate the invisible hand by having them list all the things that go into making a tennis shoe.  The group that gets the most wins.


should you give to beggars?


Should one only fight for themselves or have to fight for others?


Dem 1. We should help the less fortunate

Rep.  2 - You help others by being great yourself.


should the government help welfarre mothers?


2) The government should get out of all things. 

The invisible hand knows best.


Before Adam Smith the government controlled prices through mercantillism.  They regulated the market.  Smith said the crown shouldn’t determine prices.  Buyers want low prices and sellers want high prices.  A compromise will be reached.  Not the buyer or the seller, but the market controls it.  Price controls human behavior.  If the price goes up, new sellers enter the market, price goes down, buyers come. Price happens in the market place. 


That means you can choose to do anything you want to do.  people thought Laissez Faire was so perfect it would take care of all ills.  It is incredibly efficient.


should there be a raise in the minimum wage?


 If I want to hire people at .50 an hour I should be able to do that.  If I want to Start a coat factory let me.  If I fail I fail.  If I succeed I’ll succeed.  This’ll work out for the best.  The prices will be cheapest.  If the government interferes, it’ll be costly and inefficient.


Should there be vouchers?


should i have to hire gay people in my business?


1) Ten Hour Work Day.  This was a battle cry.

2) No child labor.  Work shouldn’t start beofre 14 years of age.

3) The right to collective bargaining.

4) Worker protection laws (Help if you get hurt).


Progressive social Demands






Public schools were designed to take care of missing kids and to turn immigrants into americans.

pg 78 has a great chart on 1700 immigration

pg 439 has a great chart on 1900 immigration

pg 518 gives the big picture of immigration

Progressive Democracy Demands

1) Women’s Sufferage



2) direct election of senators passed by amendment to the constitution.  They got women the right to vote by amendment to the constitution.  State by state they got initiatives, referendum and recall priveledges for the citizens. 


3) The initiative process showed more promise than the others for radically revamping democracy.  It allows “the people” to put initiatives on the state wide ballot.  Only 5% of those who voted in the last Gubenatorial election can put on a regular law.  8% can amend the constitution.  The problem is it’s , again, easier for big business to use this than the little people it was designed to enpower.  When “big green” an environmental issue got on the ballot, several confusing proposals got put on by timber.  “Big stump”.

Boters turned down both.


Proposition 103, would have hoped to curtail the insurance industries.  So insurance corporations put on several confusing initiatives.  When the voters chose the right one, insurers just refused to obey it’s orders and went to the courts to tie up enforcemnt.  So the initiative process hasn’t had a huge dynamic effect.  But it  had laid bare some mechanisms of real power holdings to the people. Perhaps we are wiser for it. 


Women’s voting rights



Teddy was president from 1901-1909

Do Section 2 on Page 511.   5 lines problem 5 lines solution. Mention Joh Muir and Upton Sinclair.  They should circle where they use those names.

Also summarize from 518 to the end of the chapter.

Also summarize 446  to 451




Results of Progressivism

The progressive movement had a profound effect on American Politics.  It effected every aspect of our political lives.  1) Presidential agendas 2) Labor legislation.  3) Voting changes   4) Prohibition  5) Conservation


1) Presidential agendas

Teddy roosevelt and Taft and Wilson-

Stop monopolies, backing up strikers (on occasion)  conservation, FDA to regulate food due to muckrakers.


2) Worker’s rights the progressives pushed included child labor laws, minimum wages, hours per week limits and workers compensation. 


Look at the presidents legislative  agenda.


We now take these for granted, but if not for the progressives we wouldn’t have them.  True much of these were enacted by Roosevelt after the official progressive period, but they put the agendas on the political table to be considered.



4) prohibition by the 18th amendment

You may not see how this fits in, but it is part of the crusade to end all evil.


5) Conservation:

The national park system was set up by Teddy Roosevelt.


Upton sinclairs the jungle should be mentioned.

Jane Addams


Some call it greed


J P morgan - finance

Mr. Morgan owned much of the railroads.  By 1890 most of the railroad was owned by 6 companies.  4 were completely or parially controlled by the House of Morgan.  The two other by the bankers “Kuhn, Loeb, and Company.


He had a big drunk bulb nose and quite intense eyes.


J P Morgan started as the son of a banker.  THus he was a child of priveledge.  He went to university in Germany where he was so good that they offered him  a position teaching mathematics in the best university in Germany.


During the civil war he bout five thousand rifles for $3.50 each and sold them to a gerneral in the field for $ 22 each.  The rifles were defective and would shoot off the thumbs of the soldiers using them. A federal judge upheld the deal as the fulfilllment of a valid legal contract.


He escaped the civil war by paying $300 to a substitute.  So did Rockefeller and Carnegie.


In 1895 the country had no more gold left.  J P Morgan sold the  government gold in exchange for bonds and sold the bonds immediately at an 18million dollar profit.  The country had to borrow money from JP Morgan.


Morgan brought rationaliuty and stability to the system.  He linked railroads to one another, all of them to banks and banks to insurance companies.  By 1900 he controlled half the nations railroads and 90% of the nations oil refineries.


John D Rockefeller - oil

Rockefeller started a s a bookkeeper inCleveland, became a merchant, got some money and then decided in the new business of oil, he that controlled the refineries would control the industry.  


In 1862 he bought his first refinery.  In 1870 he made secret agreements with the railroads to ship his oil with them if they gave him rebates - discounts - on their prices and thus drove competitors out of business.  He was always ready to buy his competitors (at a low price).    In a famous case they were caught blowing up a competitors refinery.


He started buying stocks of other companies and before long owned iron, copper, coal , shipping and Chase manhattan bank.