American History: A Survey (Brinkley), 13th Edition


Primary Sources

Read the section of the text that describes municipal government reform, including the commission and city-manager forms of city government. The commission plan was pioneered in Texas by Galveston, Houston, Dallas, and other cities. People who were interested in reform in other cities and states often visited the commission pioneers. The following excerpts are from the official report of one such investigative trip to Texas. Consider the following questions: How does the report demonstrate a typical progressive-era concern for businesslike efficiency? How does the report typify the progressive faith that governmental action could solve problems and show results? If the businesslike aspects of the commission plan appealed so strongly to the Illinois senators, how do you suppose they would have regarded the city-manager innovation a few years later? Does the report evince any concern for social justice reforms in the cities studied?

Illinois General Assembly 1909

Read the section of the text under the heading "Woman Suffrage." The document below is drawn from a flyer published in 1905 by the Anti-Suffrage Association, based in Albany, New York. The pamphlet was written by noted historian Francis Parkman and was issued several years after his death. Consider the following questions: Why would the emphasis on the "natural" way have been an effective argument against suffrage? To what extent was the suffrage fight a battle among women, as well as between men and women? How do Parkman's arguments compare with those who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s?

Francis Parkman

Read the section of the text under the heading "Government, Capital, and Labor." Also review the parts of Chapter Seventeen that discuss the rise of big business and the role of corporate leadership. The following excerpts are from Theodore Roosevelt's First Annual Message, delivered only a few months after he became president. Read the selection and consider the following questions: Does this message reveal an attitude toward trusts consistent with the actions that Roosevelt would undertake as president? How might Roosevelt have reacted to those who called the great industrial leaders "robber barons"? Would this document support the contention that progressivism can best be explained as a reaction to the economic changes of the late nineteenth century? Are Roosevelt's views more consistent with those of Herbert Croly or of Louis Brandeis? Does the Republican Party of today reflect a similar outlook toward business? Could it be fairly characterized as a "trickle-down" view?

Theodore Roosevelt

Read the section of the chapter on banking reform under the heading "The Scholar as President." In 1913, while banking reform was being debated, a congressional committee chaired by Representative Arsène Pujo of Louisiana was studying economic concentration in general and banking in particular. Read the following excerpt, which is from the influential report of the Pujo committee, and consider these questions: Does the Pujo report seem to support the New Nationalism or the New Freedom? What influence might such a report have had on the passage of the Federal Reserve Act?

Banking Reform

Here is the Keating-Owen Act of 1916, passed during the administration of Woodrow Wilson with his support and blessing. What does this act hope to accomplish, and on what grounds does it attempt to accomplish them? What would be the ultimate fate of this piece of legislation?

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