Social Studies - 2018-19

VUS.8f - Progressive Movement

The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by

f) evaluating and explaining the economic outcomes and the political, cultural and social developments of the Progressive Movement and the impact of its legislation

Adopted: 2015


Unit Themes

Unit Essential Questions


Is there one American Experience?

Economic Systems 

To what extent does the American economy shape the American experience? 

Reform Movements 

How do people affect change in their society?


The Progressive Movement sought to reform the economic, political, and social systems of the United States through government regulation and oversight.


Causes of the Progressive Movement 

 Economic exploitation: Formation of trusts and monopolies, and exploitation of natural resources 

 Political corruption: Formation of political machines maintaining power through bribes and voter intimidation 

 Social injustice: Child labor; living conditions; consumer protection; racial, gender, and ethnic equality

Goals of the Progressive Movement 

 Increase economic opportunity 

 Increase democracy 

 Increase social justice

Muckraking Progressive leaders 

 Muckrakers: Progressives whose investigative literature exposed abuses in economics, politics, and society 

 Ida Tarbell: The History of the Standard Oil Company 

 Lincoln Steffens: The Shame of the Cities 

 Upton Sinclair: The Jungle

Progressive accomplishments: National legislation 

 Economic:

o The earlier Sherman Anti-Trust Act prevented any business structure that “restrains trade” (monopolies).

o The Clayton Anti-Trust Act expanded upon the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by exempting unions from prosecution under the Sherman Act, and it outlawed price-fixing.

o The Federal Reserve System was established.  Political:

o Primary elections were established.

o The 17th Amendment was passed, establishing the direct election of United States senators.

o The 19th Amendment was enacted, providing women with the right to vote. Efforts to gain the right to vote were realized through the strong leadership of the women’s movement by Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul as well as the nation’s recognition of women’s wartime contributions during World War I.

 Social:

o Consumer protection: Enacted the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act

o Alcohol consumption: Passage of the 18th Amendment, better known as “Prohibition”; later the amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment

Progressive accomplishments: State level 

 Initiative 

 Referendum 

 Recall 

 Secret ballot


Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Clayton Anti-Trust Act


19th Amendment

Income disparity


Ida B. Wells

Booker T. Washington

W.E.B. DuBois

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

Samuel Gompers

Eugene V. Debs

Robber Barons



Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor

American Railway Union

International Ladies Garment Workers Union


Company town

Court Cases

Plessy v. Ferguson

Updated: May 18, 2018