Progressive Era 1901–1914

  • Progressives agitate for far-reaching reform in politics, business, poverty relief, and conservation
  • United States implements aggressive foreign policy through both military actions and corporate investment

1901 Anarchist Leon Czolgosz (pictured) assassinates McKinley; Vice President Teddy Roosevelt becomes 26th president

Platt Amendment effectively turns Cuba into U.S. dependency

Spindle top oil field discovered in Beaumont, Texas; oil exploration rush begins

J. P. Morgan buys out Andrew Carnegie’s steel holdings, creating virtual monopoly in U.S. steel industry and leading to establishment of U.S. Steel, world’s first billion-dollar company

1902 Newlands Reclamation Act allots proceeds from public land sales toward construction of dams and reservoirs in arid West

1903 Elkins Act outlaws railroad favoritism and price-gouging

Henry Ford founds Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan

Panama declares independence from Colombia at urging of United States

W. E. B. Du Bois publishes social treatiseThe Souls of Black Folk

1904 Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine increases U.S. military presence in Latin America

Supreme Court orders dissolution of J. P. Morgan’s Northern Securities Company; first in series of trust-busting cases brought against corporations

1905 U.S. Forest Service takes possession of federal forest reserves

Roosevelt helps negotiate end to Russo-Japanese War, wins Nobel Peace Prize

In Taft-Katsura Agreement, U.S. grants Japan dominion over Korea in order to secure U.S. dominion in Philippines

U.S. begins financial supervision of the Dominican Republic

1906 San Francisco begins to segregate Asian-American schoolchildren

San Francisco earthquake causes catastrophic damage, leaves 250,000 homeless

Roosevelt coins word muckraker to describe writers, such as Ida Tarbell, whose investigative pieces expose corporate immorality and political corruption

Upton Sinclair publishes novel The Jungle

Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act set food quality standards

Hepburn Act strengthens Interstate Commerce Commission

Construction on Panama Canal begins, made possible by Panama’s revolt from Colombia; United States gains unlimited lease on canal

United States invades Cuba to quash rebellion

1907 Oklahoma admitted to Union as 46th state

Agreement with Japan puts unofficial restrictions on Japanese, Korean immigration

United States’ Great White Fleet embarks on a world tour in order to assert U.S. supremacy over Japanese navy

1908 Root-Takahira Agreement firms up U.S., Japanese spheres of influence in Pacific

Roosevelt creates National Conservation Commission

William Howard Taft elected 27th president

Henry Ford introduces Model T automobile and installs first assembly line

1909 W. E. B. Du Bois, other black leaders, and concerned whites found National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Payne-Aldrich Tariff maintains status quo on import duties

Dawes Act opens 700,000 acres of native land in Idaho, Montana, and Washington to white settlement

1910 Mann Act and Mann-Elkins Act regulate employment and commerce practices

1912 Woodrow Wilson elected 28th president; third-party candidate Teddy Roosevelt (from Progressive Party, nicknamed Bull Moose Party) becomes most successful third-party candidate ever, with 27% of popular vote

New Mexico and Arizona admitted to Union as 47th and 48th states, completing admission of 48 contiguous states

United States occupies Nicaragua in support of conservative government

1913 16th Amendment allows for establishment of income tax

17th Amendment allows for direct elections of senators

California’s Alien Land Law constricts right of Japanese to own U.S. land

Underwood Tariff sharply reduces duties on foreign trade

Federal Reserve Act creates central banking system and Federal Reserve Board to regulate interbank interest rates

1914 Panama Canal opens

Clayton Antitrust Act extends parameters of Sherman Antitrust Act

Women’s activist Margaret Sanger found guilty of obscenity for sending mailings promoting use of contraception; charges dropped in 1916

Federal Trade Commission created to regulate commerce

World War I begins in Europe

Credits: Sparknotes

Progressive Era 1901–1914
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