PROMPT 1: Analyze challenges and opposition to the new political and economic order in the late 19th century.
Be sure to include the following IDs/document in your response:
William Jennings Bryan, Cross of Gold Speech (document)
Mary K. Lease
PROMPT 2: What are the key accomplishments and legacies of the Progressive era? What are its failures?
Be sure to use the following IDs/documents in your response:
Pure Food and Drug Act
Alice Stone Blackwell, Answering Objections to Women’s Suffrage (1917)
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Challenges and Opposition to the New Political and Economic Order in the Late 19th Century
Three decades preceding the end of the 19th century saw tremendous economic and political transformation in the United States. Such changes were marked by industrial and political conflicts, the establishment of labor unions, agricultural development, and expansion of businesses. The rapid growth of various industries saw the rise of robber barons such as Andre Carnegie, popularly known for the expansion of the steel industry. The robber barons exploited the workers by subjecting them to unfavorable working terms. As a result, there was an increase in strikes by laborious demanding better working conditions (The American Yawp, 1). For instance, the three-month Pullman Strike by the railroad workers protesting slashed wages and unfair laying off of workers. The demand for improved working conditions led to the establishment of various labor unions such as the Knits of Labor and the National Labor Union. Similarly, in his campaign to achieve prosperity for all Americans, William Bryan advocated for bimetallism.
Similar to the economic front, American politics was facing numerous challenges and opposition. For instance, there were increased campaigns for equality and equal voting rights.3 Activists such as Mary Lease are well recognized for advocating for women to exercise their rights to vote. During the industrial explosion, the country’s wealth and power belonged to a few individuals leading to the rise of socialists advocating for inclusion (The American Yawp, 1).
Similarly, in demand for equal representation populists organized various groups that juxtaposed against the elites.
Accomplishments and Legacies of the Progressive Era as seen in American Yawp
The political and economic movements of the progressive era lead to various changes to meet the demands of the people. The economic movements lead to the formation of the anti-trust law meant for prohibiting monopoly1. The 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that killed 146 individuals leading to the formulation of thirty-eight labor regulations to protect the interest of the workers. In addition, the movements encouraged the passing of the 18th amendment prohibiting the production and sale of food or drugs unsuitable for human consumption (The American Yawp, 1).
On the political front, Alice Blackwell, an activist advocated for the revision of the voting regulations to allow women participation. Similarly, Jane Addams through her activism efforts successfully advocated for gender equity. The NAACP activities became fruitful when it successfully advocated for the revocation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. African American men attained their voting rights in 1896 while black women were not allowed to vote until 1920 after the 19th amendment passage (The American Yawp, 2).
Lastly, the Hetch Hetchy dam was a matter of controversy since the early 1800s, however, the environmentalists, particularly Gifford Pinchot succeeded in persuading the Congress to conserve the natural resources rather than the aesthetics of the valley.
Locke Joseph and Wright Ben. The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2019.