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HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Unit 4: Political and Social Reform Movements   The 1890s and early 1900s witnessed a profound social and political reaction to the Gilded Age, the period between the early 1870s and late 1890s, characterized by its excesses and corruption. In the Midwest, farmers and workers organized political movements to reign in the power of corrupt corporations that dominated local economies and controlled access to credit and transportation resources. Populists demanded greater political democracy and increased access to economic resources for poor and middle-class Americans. In American cities, middle-class reformers organized political movements to address crime, pollution, urban decay, and other unintended consequences of industrialization. The Progressives also tried to “Americanize” immigrants and promote responsible, middle-class lifestyles by organizing settlement houses for immigrants and campaigning against alcohol consumption. We will examine how both of these political and social movements reformed the structure of American democracy and altered the character and appearance of American cities at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 6.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 4 hours

☐    Unit 4 Assessment: 1 hour

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify the origins of political and social reform movements in the United States in the late nineteenth century and assess how these movements altered political, economic, and social life throughout the United States in the early twentieth century; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, using historical research methods.

  • Reading: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 9: Discontent and Reform” Link: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: ** “Chapter 9: Discontent and Reform” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read this chapter.

    Note that this reading from America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History focuses on the emergence of two major political and social reform movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Populists demanded greater government involvement in the agricultural sector of the economy and looked to America’s past for inspiration. Progressives attempted to use the power of government to improve America’s cities and institute major economic reforms at the national level.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 30 minutes. 
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

4.1 The Populist Movement   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Populist and Progressive Reform Movements” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Populist and Progressive Reform Movements” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this lecture.  

 Note on the Lecture: This multimedia presentation focuses on the
origins of the Populist and Progressive reform movements in the
United States in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. The
presentation also discusses the political, economic, and social
consequences of these reform movements for the nation as a whole.  

 Watching this video should take approximately 25 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

4.1.1 Origins: Agrarian Discontent   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 51—Agrarian Revolt” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 51—Agrarian Revolt” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, watch section one (“The People’s Party”) of the video presentation and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: Section one of the presentation focuses on the origins of the People’s Party in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Known as Populists, these agrarian political reformers from the West and Midwest wanted the federal government to regulate large corporations and provide economic support to struggling American farmers.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.2 Political, Economic, and Social Objectives   - Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Politics in the Gilded Age” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Politics in the Gilded Age (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “Agricultural Discontent & the Populist Movement.”   

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Making of America: Davis Rich Dewey’s National Problems, 1885 -1897: “Chapter XV: Presidential Election of 1892” Link: Making of America: Davis Rich Dewey’s National Problems, 1885 -1897: “Chapter XV: Presidential Election of 1892” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read “Chapter XV: Presidential Election of 1892” (pages 238 -251). In this 1907 book this prominent economist discussed the formation of the Populist Party in the 1892 presidential election. After reading this chapter consider the following question: How did the resolutions in the Populists platform seek to address the concerns of both urban workers and farmers? 

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Making of America: Henry Clews’ The Wall Street Point of View: “Chapters XXV-XXVIII” Link: Making of America: Henry Clews’ The Wall Street Point of View: “Chapters XXV-XXVIII” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter XXV, “Prophetic Views on Silver”, Chapter XXVI, “President McKinley’s Policy and the Nation’s Future”, Chapter XXVII, “The Masses and the Classes”, and Chapter XXVIII, “A Question of Good Citizenship” (pages 184 -221). Henry Clews was a prominent Wall Street financier who in this 1900 book expressed his support for the policies of President William McKinley and his opposition to the Populists within the Democratic Party at this time. These Populist reformers wanted to limit the power of large corporations through government regulation and make it easier for farmers to pay their debts by permitting the coinage of silver. These plans were vigorously opposed by Republican political leaders.

    Reading these chapters should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.3 Regional and National Impact   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 51—Agrarian Revolt” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 51—Agrarian Revolt” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, watch sections 2. (“The Election of 1892”) and 3. (“The Election of 1896”) of the presentation and read the additional text.
 
Note on the Media: Sections two and three of the presentation focus on the Populists’ participation in the presidential elections of 1892 and 1896. The Populists attracted great support from farmers and agricultural workers in the West and Midwest and threatened the nation hold of the Republican and Democratic Parties. Eventually, the Democratic Party allied with the Populists against the Republicans in the 1896 election.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1
hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Making of America: Davis Rich Dewey’s National Problems, 1885 -1897: “Chapter XVI, Maintenance of the Gold Standard (1893 -1896)”, and “Chapter XX, Campaign for Free Coinage (1896)” Link: Making of America: Davis Rich Dewey’s National Problems, 1885 -1897: “Chapter XVI, Maintenance of the Gold Standard (1893 -1896)” (PDF) and “Chapter XX, Campaign for Free Coinage (1896)” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter XVI (pages 252-276) and Chapter XX (pages 314 -329). These two chapters of Dewey’s book discuss the Panic of 1893 and the presidential election of 1896. After reading excerpts from William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic convention in 1896, please consider the following questions: In this speech, for what groups in society did William Jennings Bryan claim to be their spokesman? Besides his support for coining silver, what in this speech would have been appealing to Populists? Bryan and his supporters argued that the federal government should purchase and coin silver in addition to gold. Both measures were favored by Populists, because they would create jobs in the western mining industry and increase the money supply in the United States, which would make it easier for farmers to pay down their debts.

    Reading this text should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 The Progressive Movement   4.2.1 Origins: Educated, Middle-Class Reformers   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, focus on the first section (“Origins of Progressivism”) of the presentation and read the accompanying text. In the first section, click on the accompanying text, “Upton Sinclair,” and read an excerpt from his novel, The Jungle. 
 
Note on the Media: Section one of this presentation focuses on the origins of the Progressive Movement in the United States and the broad objectives of Progressive reformers.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Marxists Internet Archives’ “Biography of Edward Bellamy” Link: Marxists Internet Archives’ “Biography of Edward Bellamy” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down and read the entry on novelist Edward Bellamy, whose novel, Looking Backward (1888), was one of the top bestsellers of the nineteenth century. This novel would inspire Progressives throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Reading this brief biography should take approximately 5 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Virginia’s Looking Backward: Chapter 1 and Chapter 5 Link: University of Virginia’s Looking Backward: Chapter 1 (HTML) and Chapter 5 (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapters 1 and 5.

    In Chapter 1, the main character introduces himself to the reader and describes his society in 1887. Chapter 5 takes place after this character had fallen asleep and awakened in the year 2000. In this chapter, the main character learns about society in the year 2000. After reading these excerpts, consider the following questions: How did the main character describe society in 1887? How does his description compare with the crisis described in the Omaha Platform (see section 4.1.2)? Why would the description of society in the year 2000 in this novel be so attractive to middle class Progressives?

    Reading these chapters should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.2 Evolution of the Progressive Movement   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Focus on the second section (“Municipal, State, and National Reforms” of the presentation and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: Section two of the presentation discusses the development of Progressive reform efforts at the local, state, and eventually national levels. Reformers targeted political corruption, urban decay, and other forms of inequality.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.3 Progressive Objectives: “Muckrakers” and “Trust-Busters” and “Suffragists”   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 52—The Progressive Impulse” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Focus on sections 3. (“Social Alternatives”) and 4. (“Women and Blacks of America”) of the presentation and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: The final two sections of the presentation focus on some of the objectives of Progressive reformers, including women’s voting rights, minimum wage legislation, the 8-hour workday, and other political and social issues.
 
Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 45 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.4 National Progressivism   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 53—The Progressive Presidents” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 7: Isolationist to World Power, Chapter 17: Reform, Lesson 53—The Progressive Presidents” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, watch each section of the video presentation and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the Progressive reform policies of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. Under these presidents, Progressivism became a driving force behind national politics. Roosevelt challenged the power of large corporations that he felt were not acting in the public interest. He also supported conservation of natural resources. His two successors continued the Progressive agenda into the mid-1910s. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of The New York Times’ “The Woman of Thirty” Link: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of The New York Times’ “The Woman of Thirty” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this primary resource titled “The Woman of Thirty”.

    Note on the Text: In this newspaper article from August 29, 1920, New York Times’ editors discuss some of the broader social and political implications of the 19th Amendment, which recognized women’s right to vote. The editors argue that the amendment will have a significant impact on women’s participation in American political life. After reading this document, consider the following questions: According to the author, how would the inclusion of women as voters affect future government policies? To what degree were the author’s predictions influenced by the traditional role of women as mothers?

    Reading this webpage should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.5 The City Beautiful   - Reading: University of Virginia American Studies Program: Julie K. Rose’s The City Beautiful: The 1901 Plan for Washington, D.C.: “The City Beautiful Movement,” “The 1901 Plan for Washington D.C.,” and “Washington, D.C. and Beyond” Links: University of Virginia American Studies Program: Julie K. Rose’s The City Beautiful: The 1901 Plan for Washington, D.C.:“The City Beautiful Movement,” (HTML) “The 1901 Plan for Washington D.C.,” (HTML) and “Washington, D.C. and Beyond (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these three resources.
 
Note on the Text: This website discusses the impact of the Progressive-Era City Beautiful Movement on American cities and focuses specifically on the 1901 redevelopment plan for the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 Reading these chapters should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 4 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Political and Social Reform Movements” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Political and Social Reform Movements (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this written assessment. When you are
finished, check your work against this [“Guide to
Responding](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-4.FINAL_.pdf)[.”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-4.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF)  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.