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New Deal/Progressive Era

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IV. Major Progressivism Programs

A .Education

1. Progressive education--John Dewey led movement that focused on personal growth, not mastery of body of knowledge and learning through experience.

2. Charles Eliot of Harvard pioneered elective courses and new teaching techniques (such as seminars) to make university learning more meaningful

3. Women began attending colleges in large numbers (by 1920, 47% of total enrollment was female).

4. Believing that more education would help bring an enlightened population, Progressives pushed enrollments to record levels (86% of children in schools by 1920) without seriously assessing how schools were doing.

B. Law--judges opinions needed to be based on factual information, not just oral arguments and precedents

1. Muller V. Oregon (1908)--limited women's working hours

2. Not all Progressive legal principles prevailed. In Lochner v. New York (1905), the Supreme Court overturned a New York law limiting bakers' working hours.

C. Settlement houses--Jane Addams and others established group homes in city slums to aid poor urban residents.

1. Promoted public health reform in cities, chlorinating water and tightening sanitary regulations

2. Developed education and craft programs for residents

3. Created neighborhood health clinics and dispensaries

D. Racial anti-discrimination efforts

1. Booker T. Washington (Atlanta Compromise) argued for self-help and accommodation on the part of blacks to white society

2. W.E.B. DuBois (Niagara Movement--1905) urged blacks to assert themselves and agitate for political and economic rights. Formed NAACP to use legal means to end racial discrimination

E. Women's rights

1. While the number of employed women stayed constant from 1900-1920 (20%), the type of work switched from domestic labor (servants, cooks, launderesses) to clerical work (clerks, typists, bookkeepers), factory work, and professionals.

2. Most women still held the lowest paying and least opportune jobs

3. Significant Progressive feminists called for greater reform

a) Charlotte Perkins Gilman attacked the male monopoly on opportunity and declared that domesticity was an obsolete value for American women

b) Margaret Sanger led the movement to provide birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies among poor women

c) Suffragists urged that women be given the franchise, which came on the national level with the 19th Amendment (1919).

F. Child labor laws--most states passed minimum working age laws and prohibited children from working more than 10 hours per day, but enforcement was difficult to achieve.

G. Temperance--Anti-Saloon League and Women's Christian Temperance Union fought alcoholism on the state level through blue laws and on the national level with the 18th Amendment which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor.

Analysis of Roosevelt's "New Deal"

During the 1930's, America witnessed a breakdown of the

Democratic and free enterprise system as the US fell into the worst

depression in history. The economic depression that beset the United

States and other countries was unique in its severity and its

consequences. At the depth of the depression, in 1933, one American

worker in every four was out of a job. The great industrial slump

continued throughout the 1930's, shaking the foundations of Western


The New Deal describes the program of US president Franklin D.

Roosevelt from 1933 to 1939 of relief, recovery, and reform. These new

policies aimed to solve the economic problems created by the

depression of the 1930's. When Roosevelt was nominated, he said, "I

pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people."

The New Deal included federal action of unprecedented scope to

stimulate industrial recovery, assist victims of the Depression,

guarantee minimum living standards, and prevent future economic

crises. Many economic, political, and social factors lead up to the

New Deal. Staggering statistics, like a 25% unemployment rate, and the

fact that 20% of NYC school children were under weight and

malnourished, made it clear immediate action was necessary.

In the first two years, the New Deal was concerned mainly with

relief, setting up shelters and soup kitchens to feed the millions of

unemployed. However as time progressed, the focus shifted towards

recovery. In order to accomplish this monumental task, several

agencies were created. The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was

the keystone of the early new deal program launched by Roosevelt. It

was created in June 1933 under the terms of the National Industrial

Recovery Act. The NRA permitted businesses to draft "codes of fair

competition," with presidential approval, that regulated prices,

wages, working conditions, and credit terms. Businesses that complied

with the codes were exempted from antitrust laws, and workers were

given the right to organize unions and bargain collectively.



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