The progressive era; domestic and foreign policies

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The Progressive Movement and U.S.
Foreign Policy, 1890-1920s
What was the Progressive Movement?
The Progressive movement was a turn-of-the-century political movement interested in
furthering social and political reform, curbing political corruption caused by political
machines, and limiting the political influence of large corporations
Progressive Movements Affect on Domestic Policy
The Progressive movement began with a domestic agenda
Progressives were interested in establishing a more transparent and accountable
government which would work to improve U.S. society
These reformers favoured policies such as;
Civil service reform
Food safety laws
Increased political rights for women and U.S. workers
In the 1890s, the Progressive movement also began to question the power of large
businesses and monopolies after a series of journalistic exposes that revealed
questionable business practices
State Reforms
Reform governors such as Theodore Roosevelt of New York, Robert M. LaFollete of
Wisconsin, and Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey, all helped get reforms passed in
their respective states
In addition, reforms first proposed by the Populist Party were enacted in order to
make state governments more responsive to the needs of the people.
State Reforms
Privacy at the ballot box ensures that citizens can cast votes without party
Secret Ballot
bosses knowing how they voted.
Allows voters to petition state legislatures in order to consider a bill
desired by citizens.
Allows voters to decide if a bill or proposed amendment should be
Allows voters to petition to have an elected representative removed from
Direct Ensures that voters select candidates to run for office, rather than party
Primary bosses.
Federal Reforms

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During the Progressive Era, the Federal Government passed an enormous amount
of legislation designed to conserve the environment, tighten past economic
regulations, preserve the health and safety of American citizens, and generally
provide needed capitalist reforms.
Progressive Era Federal Legislation
Newlands Reclamation Encouraged conservation by allowing the building of dams and irrigations
Act systems using money from the sale of public lands.
Elkins Act Outlawed the use of rebates by railroad officials or shippers.…read more

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Progressivism's Influence on US Politics
Progressives were concerned with regulation of big business, political reforms and social
However a great number of progressive reforms were introduced at State rather than
Federal level
Regulating Big Business
Trusts became monopolies and began to fix prices
Progressives wanted to `bust' trusts
The Sherman Act (1890)
o The first of the anti-trust laws
o Disallowed monopolies, and price fixing
o Ensured the consumer a fair price by preventing one company from
controlling an entire market
o Thereby insuring…read more

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Progressive presidents
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Republican President
Brought reforms in federal government
Prompted a miners' strike
Promoted the `square deal' ­ workers got equal rights
Introduced conservation of the environment
Believed in presidential intervention
First to properly use the Sherman Act
o Attacks on corruption
o Supported antitrust actions
Concern for the underdogs
Dramatically helped progressivism
However many believe he didn't actually dislike big businesses and saw them as
essential to America, he just persuaded big businesses to reform themselves
He split the republican party…read more

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Others were concerned about the adverse effects of U.S. interventions and colonialism
Throughout the 1890s, the U.S. Government became increasingly likely to rely on its
military and economic power to pursue foreign policy goals
The most prominent action during this period, the Spanish-American War, resulted
in U.S. rule of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, as
well as increased influence over Cuba
These territories captured in the Spanish-American war had a varied response
toward U.S.…read more

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Progressive U.S. Senator William Borah led the campaign against ratification, and
he would increasingly become the champion of the isolationist movement until his
death in 1940
Other Progressives viewed the treaty more favourably.…read more


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