The Progressive Movement - What Was Its Impact?
Lesson 4: Dress Rehearsal and Progressives’ Success
Time Estimated: 1 day
- Identify the impact that Progressives had/to what extent they succeeded in solving the problems they worked on. Students then use this information in their presentations.
- Edit and improve their exhibits and practice interacting with visitors.
- Try out “being” one of the Progressives or their opponents.
- Practice giving and receiving feedback on exhibits.
- Five exhibits that the students have created
- Paper for students to write down their feedback and take notes on what others have to say about their exhibits.
- Remind students that the main purpose of today’s lesson is to practice and improve their presentations, including each group’s exhibit and the presentation of students who will “be” Progressives or opponents.
- But before students begin this process, explain that they will first take a few minutes to examine the impact that Progressives had/to what extent they succeeded in solving the problems they worked on. Explain that students will need to include this piece in their exhibits. To do this, have students get into their groups to identify the evidence of success that Progressives had in their area. They can also consult the Progressive Unit Timeline (still on the classroom wall). Tip: have students look for state and federal laws passed in their topic, as well as Constitutional Amendments. [have they left space for this on their displays?]
- To support students in this process, the teacher can use the following points to provide a mini-lecture. Before giving the information under Questions and issues remain, ask students what they think, and use the points to supplement students’ contribution.
- Child Labor: Progressives got laws passed first at the state level, then at the federal level – the 1916 Keating-Owen Act barred products manufactured by child labor from interstate commerce. This Act was declared unconstitutional in 1918, but this law and others paved the way for the final abolition of child labor by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, during the New Deal. Questions and issues remain: the amount of money and number of people who enforce existing laws, current sweatshops with undocumented immigrants including children, and the lack of political will to enforce existing laws in conservative administrations. [US companies running factories in other countries that use child labor]
- Working Conditions: Progressives got laws passed first at the state level, then at the federal level, that limited hours and days worked for many workers, such as the 8-hour day and 40-hour week. In 1916, the Workmen’s Compensation Act gave accident and injury protection to federal workers. During the New Deal, this and other protections came under the Department of Labor. Later (after the New Deal), a minimum wage was established and it has steadily risen with the cost of living. Questions and issues remain: not all categories of workers were/are included under the federal laws, such as migrant workers and undocumented immigrants. Also, the amount of money and number of people who enforce existing laws has been limited.
- Rise of Organized Labor: Progressives got laws passed first at the state level, then at the federal level that supported workers’ rights to organize unions and conduct union activities. In particular the Clayton Anti-Trust Act contained a clause that exempted strikes, boycotts, and peaceful picketing from the anti-trust laws. Questions and issues remain: Union membership rose during this period and again during the Great Depression. Workers rights to bargain collectively grew stronger, though limits were placed on these in some categories of work. Recently, as of 2005, a much lower percentage of workers are in unions – 13% of industrial workers, and 9% of non-industrial workers (particularly service workers). Note that VA prohibits collective bargaining.
- Woman’s Suffrage: Progressives got laws passed first at the state level, then at the federal level to provide women the right to vote. The clearest gain was in 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that stated: “the right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of sex.” Questions and issues remain: After 1920, many were disappointed with the number of women who chose to vote and with the impact of women’s vote on the issues the Progressives fought for. And, after a rise in the number of women working during American participation in WWI, those numbers dropped sharply when the men returned to these jobs. More recently (from the 1960s through the 90s) there has been a clear difference between the amount that women and men have been paid for the same or equivalent work.
- Temperance/Prohibition: Progressives got laws passed first at the state level, then at the federal level to prohibit the use of alcohol. The clearest gain was in 1919 with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquor or its export. However, within a year this “noble experiment” was not working well. While Prohibition did reduce drinking in some regions, there were conspicuous and growing violations and this led to disillusionment and controversy. There was not enough money or support to enforce the law and it became easy to acquire illegal liquor. This stimulated organized crime (such as Al Capone’s gang). But it was not until 1933, during the Great Depression, that Congress repealed the 18th Amendment – with the 21st Amendment. Questions and issues remain: Many people would argue that the problem of alcoholism and alcohol abuse is very much still with us – particularly among young people. The toll this takes on families, work places and public health indicates this problem has not been solved. Drunk driving [in 2003, 17,013 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes - an average of one almost every half-hour. These deaths constituted approximately 40 percent of the 42,642 total traffic fatalities—from MADD website]
- First have groups exhibiting on child labor, working conditions, and the rise of organized labor stay with their exhibits while the other students -- and you -- circulate.
- Then for the second round, have groups in women’s suffrage and temperance stay with their exhibits while the other students -- and you -- circulate.
- Look carefully at the exhibits
- Ask courteous questions
- Interact with the “historic figures”
- Provide useful feedback when asked at the end
- What did you like about each exhibit?
- What suggestions can you give that will help improve the exhibit?
Provide additional support for students who have not yet met the requirements at this point and for those who just want the extra help/attention. Offer/require an after school “clinic” at which you will work individually with those who need it on caption creation, revising and editing, arranging and presenting exhibits, and practice “being” a historical figure.