This chapter covers the accelerated urbanization of America in the first years of the twentieth century, and the social problems that resulted from rapid unplanned growth of the cities. Both political bosses and reformers tried to respond to the reality of an industrialized and urbanized America. Social Darwinism was challenged by the progressives, who had a new, though sometimes inconsistent vision of the American community. Progressives viewed the government as an ally in achieving realistic and pragmatic reforms. The climate for reform was created by several new or transformed professions, including social workers, social scientists at universities and investigative journalists. Both major political parties came to embrace progressive views. Presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson based their programs on these new ideas. Although much was accomplished, the progressive movement lacked unity and failed to adequately address issues of class, race, or sex. Legislation was not always enforced or had unintended negative consequences. In the long run, politics was affected by the demands for social justice and attempts were made to confront the problems of rapid industrialization and urbanization.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Trace the process by which largely female settlement house workers first began and the community of reform they tried to create.
Summarize the principles of the progressivism and the views of its principal proponents in journalism, social science, and government, as well as its legacy.
Discuss the aims of and problems with the social control legislation desired by the progressives.
Outline the problems of working-class communities and their attempts to solve them through unions and reform legislation.
Summarize the role of women in the reform campaigns and the effects these campaigns had on their participation in public life and leadership positions.
Summarize the difficulties of black progressives in gaining recognition, but also their positive effects within the black community.
Outline the attempts by both the Democratic and Republican parties to respond to demands that the government—local, state, and national—address issues of social justice.
Analyze the possible connections between populism and progressivism as social reform movements. (Review Chapter 19.)