Fall 2003

Rethinking America's Progressive Watershed

Rogers,Donald W.

09/08/2003 - 12/13/2003
Wednesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Public Affairs Center 421

During the Progressive era, 1890-1920, stunning industrial growth inspired a "Progressive reform movement" to make industrial America more orderly and just society. Historians used to explain this by focusing on political leaders and "social justice" reformers, but recent scholarship has shown such sweeping changes in ideas, race, gender, ethnicity, "state building" and foreign relations, that historians are now furiously rethinking how this period ought truly be understood.

This course explores the emerging new conception of the Progressive era. Opening with a brief, conventional survey of the period, it then turns to the exciting new literature. We examine transatlantic influences on American social reform thought, and then look at political developments, such as middle-class urban reform in Portland, Oregon, the southern woman suffrage campaign, insurgent farmers' roles in creating the modern administrative state, and the contrasting presidential leadership of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. We conclude by exploring social changes, including labor organizing in Alabama coal fields, Jewish immigrant assimilation in New York City, Ida B. Wells-Barnett's career as a civil rights reformer, the changing American culture of masculinity, and the cultural impact of U.S. occupation of Haiti. Throughout, the course will focus sharply on a quintessential Progressive dilemma: how to reconcile social change with traditional American conceptions of justice.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

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