Progressive Reform, 1898-1917
Historians call those years between the Spanish-American War (1898) and American entry into World War One (1917) the Progressive Era. It was an age of reform which brought great changes to American and North Dakota Life.
The nation had gone through the Industrial Revolution during that generation after the Civil War, 1865-1895. America had become the leading industrial country in the world, and the richest. This dramatic change brought about a great many problems: unhealthy, crowded cities; downtrodden, underpaid workers; business monopoly; and a corrupt political system. Prior to 1898, government took no responsibility for these national problems. The rule was “laissez faire”: government hands off , i.e., the less government, the better.
That began to change as more and more leaders came to believe that government had a responsibility to improve the lives of Americans and provide honest government. The people began to demand that their governments (city, state, and federal) be more responsible to them.
Progressive reform in North Dakota took many shapes. Political bossism was a major problem that needed a solution. During the late nineteenth century in many cities and states, the political boss became an accepted part of the political system. The boss, through various means, became a powerful non-elected figure, who, in most cases, came to control the government of a city or state. Alexander McKenzie was such a boss, and his overthrow in 1906 represents the work of progressivism in North Dakota.
By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.
Identify historic United States figures (e.g., George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Sacagawea) and link them with their contributions
Explain the importance of the accomplishments of scientists and inventors (e.g., light bulb, automobile, discovery of electricity, computer, telephone)
Describe how community life has changed from past (i.e., pioneer and tribal) to the present
Identify similarities and differences between past events and current events in North Dakota (e.g., in the lives of people from different cultures past and present)
Identify the contributions of prominent individuals (e.g., Teddy Roosevelt, La Verendrye, Rough Rider Award winners) to North Dakota
Explain how background and history influence people’s actions (e.g., farming methods, hunting methods, economic decisions)
Describe similarities and differences between past events and current events in U.S. history (e.g., in the lives of people from different cultures past and present)
Explain the significance of scientists, inventors, and historical figures (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Juan Ponce De Leon, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, Benjamin Rush, David Rittenhouse, Thomas Paine)
Explain why the United States government is necessary (e.g., government helps secure people’s lives, liberty, and property through law and military protection; groups can accomplish things collectively that individuals cannot)
Identify examples of conflict (e.g., slavery, war, gender roles) and cooperation (e.g., settlements) that occurred among cultures (e.g., gender, ethnic groups, religious groups, immigrant groups, socio-economic status)
Explain how people create and change structures of power (e.g., force, elections, wars, reactions to economic conditions and natural disasters)
Identify principles governing individual and group behavior (e.g., cooperation, collaboration, power, conflict) within social dynamics (e.g., familial, political, religious)
Explain how individuals and institutions influence one another (e.g., social processes, peaceful and violent demonstrations, picketing, protests, petitions, group affiliation, citizenship, voting)
Analyze the transformation of the nation (e.g., Imperialism, industrialization, immigration, political/social reformers, urbanization, mechanization of agriculture, changing business environment)
Explain how political leaders (e.g., Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler) dictated national policy (e.g., States’ rights, closure of National Bank, Indian Removal Act)
Explain how reform efforts led to major changes in society (e.g., abolitionists, women’s movement, temperance, education)
Use media (e.g., oral, written, websites, computer simulations, multimedia resources) to access, record, analyze, and communicate information relating to social studies
Analyze the impact of bias and prejudice in historical and contemporary media
Evaluate the impact of various factors that led to the transformation of the nation (e.g., imperialism, industrialization, immigration, political/social reformers, urbanization, mechanization of agriculture, changing business environment)
Analyze the struggle for equal opportunity (e.g., Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, civil rights legislation and court cases, civil rights organizations, National Organization for Women, Equal Rights Amendment, American Indian Movement, Caesar Chavez)
Evaluate the effectiveness of structures, operations, and influences of political systems and constitutional governments (e.g., federalism; separation of powers; checks and balances; media and special interest groups
Analyze historical and contemporary examples of civil liberties and civil rights in the U.S. (e.g., incorporation of the Bill of Rights, amendments, key legislation, and landmark Supreme Court cases)
Evaluate the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation (e.g., election system and process; naturalization; political activism)
Analyze conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions (e.g., gender roles, social stratification, racial/ethnic bias)