The Progressive Era (1901-1918) APUSH Flashcards

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Progressive Movement

: Early 20th century reform movement, seeking to return control of the government to the people, to restore economic opportunities, and to correct injustices in American life. Progressive reformers shared the following goals: 1. Protecting social welfare 2. Promoting moral improvement 3. Creating Economic reform 4. Fostering efficiency.


the attribute of accepting the facts of life and favoring practicality and literal truth.


A group of investigative reporters who pointed out the abuses of big business and the corruption of urban politics; included Frank Norris (The Octopus) Ida Tarbell (A history of the standard oil company) Lincoln Steffens (the shame of the cities) and Upton Sinclair (The Jungle).

Standard Oil Company

John D. Rockefeller’s comapny, formed in 1870, which came to symbolize the trusts and monopolies of the Gilded age. By 1877 it controlled 95% of the oil refineries in the U.S. It became a target for trust reformers, and in 1911 the Supreme Court ordered it to break up into several dozen smaller companies.

Ida Tarbell

A leading muckraker and magazine editor, she exposed the corruption of the oil industry with her 1904 work A History of Standard Oil.

Jacob Riis

A Danish immigrant, he became a reporter (muckraker) who pointed out the terrible conditions of the tenement houses of the big cities where immigrants lived during the late 1800s. He wrote How The Other Half Lives in 1890.

Australian Ballot

A government printed ballot of uniform size and shape to be cast in secret that was adopted by many states around 1890 in order to reduce the voting fraud associated with party printed ballots cast in public.

Direct Primary

Election in which voters choose party nominees.

Robert La Follette

Progressive Wisconsin governor who attacked machine politics and pressured the state legislature to require each party to hold a direct primary.

Seventeenth Amendment

1913 constitutional amendment allowing American voters to directly elect US senators.

Social Welfare

A nation’s system of programs, benefits, and services that help people meet those social, economic, educational, and health needs that are fundamental to the maintenance of society.

Square Deal

President Theodore Roosevelt’s plan for reform; all Americans are entitled to an equal opportunity to succeed. Equal treatment/relationships between company and its workers.

Coal Miner’s Strike (1902)

A strike by coal miner’s in Pennsylvania who demanded a pay increase and a decrease in the working day from 10 to 9 hours. Roosevelt decided to bring both sides to the White House, and sided with labor.


Roosevelt wanted to break up trusts, but made a distinction between regulating "good trusts" which through efficiency and low prices dominated to a market and breaking up "bad trusts" which harmed the public and stifled competition.

Elkins Act

(1903) gave the Interstate Commerce Commission more power to control railroads from giving preferences to certain customers., The Elkins Act of 1903 was an act passed by Congress against the Railroad industries. It was specifically targeted at the use of rebates. It allowed for heavy fining of companies who used rebates and those who accepted them. It is part of the Progressive Reform movement.

Hepburn Act

This 1906 law used the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate the maximum charge that railroads to place on shipping goods.

Upton Sinclair

muckraker who shocked the nation when he published The Jungle, a novel that revealed gruesome details about the meat packing industry in Chicago. The book was fiction but based on the things Sinclair had seen.

Pure Food and Drug Act

Forbade the manufacture or sale of mislabeled or adulterated food or drugs, it gave the government broad powers to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs in order to abolish the "patent" drug trade. Still in existence as the FDA.

Meat Inspection Act

Law that authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to order meat inspections and condemn any meat product found unfit for human consumption.


the preservation and careful management of the environment and of natural resources.

William Howard Taft

27th president of the U.S.; he angered progressives by moving cautiously toward reforms and by supporting the Payne-Aldrich Tariff; he lost Roosevelt’s support and was defeated for a second term.

Mann-Elkins Act

(WT) 1910, gave right to prevent new rates if challenged in courts, communication now regulate directly by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Sixteenth Amendment

The constitutional amendment adopted in 1913 that explicitly permitted Congress to levy an income tax.

Payne-Aldrich Tariff

Signed by Taft in March of 1909 in contrast to campaign promises. Was supposed to lower tariff rates but Senator Nelson N. Aldrich of Rhode Island put revisions that raised tariffs. This split the Repulican party into progressives (lower tariff) and conservatives (high tariff).


conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class.


a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.

Socialist Party of America

This party was dedicated to the welfare of the working class. The platform called for more radical reforms such as public ownership of the RRs, utilities, and even of major industries such as oil and steel. This political party formed in 1901 with a strong representation from immigrants and provided a political outlet for worker grievances, but fared poorly beyond a few local elections in industrial areas.

Eugene V. Debs

He was the president and the organizer of the American Railway Union. He organized the Pullman Strike and helped organized the Social Democratic party.

Bull Moose Party

nickname for the new Progressive Party, which was formed to support Roosevelt in the election of 1912.

New Nationalism

Roosevelt’s progressive political policy that favored heavy government intervention in order to assure social justice.

New Freedom

Woodrow Wilson’s program in his campaign for the presidency in 1912, the New Freedom emphasized business competition and small government. It sought to reign in federal authority, release individual energy, and restore competition. It echoed many of the progressive social-justice objectives while pushing for a free economy rather than a planned one.

Underwood Tariff

Pushed through Congress by Woodrow Wilson, this 1913 tariff reduced average tariff duties by almost 15% and established a graduated income tax.

Federal Reserve Act

a 1913 law that set up a system of federal banks and gave government the power to control the money supply.

Clayton Antitrust Act

An attempt to improve the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, this law outlawed interlocking directorates (companies in which the same people served as directors), forbade policies that created monopolies, and made corporate officers responsible for antitrust violations. Benefitting labor, it declared that unions were not conspiracies in restraint of trade and outlawed the use of injunctions in labor disputes unless they were necessary to protect property.

Federal Trade Commission

Established to preserve competition by preventing unfair business practices and investigates complaints against companies.

Federal Farm Loan Act

Passed by president Wilson in 1916. Was originally a reform wanted by the Populist party. It gave farmers the chance to get credit at low rates of interest.

Urban Migration

Migration of blacks to the North between 1910 and 1930 because of deteriorating race relations in the South and more job opportunities in the North.

Niagra Movement

Led by W.E.B. Du Bois, that focused on equal rights and education of African American youth. Rejecting the gradualist approach of Booker T. Washington, members kept alive a program of militant action and claimed for African Americans all the rights afforded to other Americans. It spawned later civil rights movements.

Booker T. Washington

Prominent black American, born into slavery, who believed that racism would end once blacks acquired useful labor skills and proved their economic value to society, was head of the Tuskegee Institute in 1881. His book "Up from Slavery." , African American progressive who supported segregation and demanded that African American better themselves individually to achieve equality.

W.E.B. Du Bois

fought for African American rights. Helped to found Niagra Movement in 1905 to fight for and establish equal rights. This movement later led to the establishment of the NAACP.


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded in 1909 to abolish segregation and discrimination, to oppose racism and to gain civil rights for African Americans, got Supreme Court to declare grandfather clause unconstitutional.

Alice Paul

head of the National Woman’s party that campaigned for an equal rights amendment to the Constitution. She opposed legislation protecting women workers because such laws implied women’s inferiority. Most condemned her way of thinking.

National Women’s Party

A militant feminist group led by Alice Paul that argued the Nineteenth Amendment was not adequate enough to protect women’s rights. They believed they needed a more constitutional amendment that would clearly provide legal protection of their rights and prohibit sex-based discrimination.

Nineteenth Amendment

the constitutional amendment adopted in 1920 that guarantees women the right to vote.

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