[Originally from Joseph R. Peden and Fred R. Glahe, eds., The American Family and the State (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 1986).]

Whereas the “Progressive Period” was narrowly designated because the interval 1900–1914, historians now notice that the interval is basically a lot broader, stretching from the latter many years of the nineteenth century into the early Twenties. The broader interval marks an period by which the complete American polity—from economics to city planning to medication to social work to the licensing of professions to the ideology of intellectuals—was remodeled from a roughly laissez-faire system based mostly on particular person rights to certainly one of state planning and management. Within the sphere of public coverage points carefully associated to the lifetime of the household, a lot of the change befell, or a minimum of started, within the latter many years of the nineteenth century. On this paper we will use the analytic insights of the “new political historical past” to look at the methods by which the so-called progressives sought to form and management chosen features of American household life.


Within the final twenty years, the arrival of the “new political historical past” has remodeled our understanding of the political social gathering system and the premise of political battle in nineteenth century America. In distinction to the social gathering programs of the 20th century (the “fourth” social gathering system, 1896–1932, of Republican supremacy; the “fifth” social gathering system, 1932–? of Democratic supremacy), the nineteenth century political events weren’t bland coalitions of pursuits with nearly the identical amorphous ideology, with every social gathering blurring what’s left of its picture throughout campaigns to enchantment to the massive impartial middle. Within the nineteenth century, every social gathering provided a fiercely contrasting ideology, and political events carried out the perform of imposing a standard ideology on numerous sectional and financial pursuits. Throughout campaigns, the ideology and the partisanship turned fiercer and much more clearly demarcated, for the reason that object was to not enchantment to impartial moderates—there have been nearly none—however to convey out the vote of 1’s personal partisans. Such partisanship and sharp alternate options marked the “second” American social gathering system (Whig versus Democrat, roughly 1830 to the mid-1850s) and the “third” social gathering system (carefully fought Republican versus Democrat, mid-1850s to 1896).

One other essential perception of the brand new political historical past is that the partisan ardour devoted by rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans to nationwide financial points, stemmed from an analogous ardour devoted on the native and state degree to what would now be referred to as “social” points. Moreover, that political battle, from the 1830s on, stemmed from a radical transformation that befell in American Protestantism on account of the revival motion of the 1830s.

The brand new revival motion swept the Protestant church buildings, notably within the North, like wildfire. In distinction to the outdated creedal Calvinist church buildings that burdened the significance of obeying God’s legislation as expressed within the church creed, the brand new “pietism” was very totally different. The pietist doctrine was basically as follows: Particular creeds of assorted church buildings or sects don’t matter. Neither does obedience to the rituals or liturgies of the actual church. What counts for salvation is barely every particular person being “born once more”—a direct confrontation between the person and God, a mystical and emotional conversion by which the person achieves salvation. The ceremony of baptism, to the pietist, subsequently turns into secondary; of main significance is his or her private second of conversion.

But when the particular church or creed turns into submerged in a imprecise Christian interdenominationalism, then the person Christian is left on his personal to grapple with the issues of salvation. Pietism, because it swept American Protestantism within the 1830s, took two very totally different varieties in North and South, with very totally different political implications. The Southerners, a minimum of till the Nineties, turned “salvationist pietists,” that’s, they believed that the emotional expertise of particular person regeneration, of being born once more, was sufficient to make sure salvation. Faith was a separate compartment of life, a vertical individual-God relation carrying no crucial to remodel man-made tradition and interhuman relations.

In distinction, the Northerners, notably within the areas inhabited by “Yankees,” adopted a far totally different type of pietism, “evangelical pietism.” The evangelical pietists believed that man may obtain salvation by an act of free will. Extra notably, in addition they believed that it was needed to an individual’s personal salvation—and not simply a good suggestion—to strive his finest to make sure the salvation of everybody else in society:

“To unfold holiness,” to create that Christian commonwealth by bringing all males to Christ, was the divinely ordered obligation of the “saved.” Their mandate was “to remodel the world into the picture of Christ.”

Since every particular person is alone to wrestle with issues of sin and salvation, with out creed or ritual of the church to maintain him, the evangelical obligation should subsequently be to make use of the state, the social arm of the built-in Christian group, to stamp out temptation and events for sin. Solely on this approach may one carry out one’s divinely mandated obligation to maximise the salvation of others. And to the evangelical pietist, sin took on a particularly broad definition, inserting the necessities for holiness far past that of different Christian teams. As one antipietist Christian put it, “They noticed sin the place God didn’t.” Particularly, sin was any and all types of contact with liquor, and doing something besides praying and going to church on Sunday. Any types of playing, dancing, theater, studying of novels—in brief, secular enjoyment of any type—have been thought-about sinful.

The types of sin that notably agitated the evangelicals have been these they held to intrude with the theological free will of people, making them unable to realize salvation. Liquor was sinful as a result of, they alleged, it crippled the free will of the imbibers. One other specific supply of sin was Roman Catholicism, by which monks and bishops, arms of the Pope (whom they recognized because the Antichrist), dominated the minds and subsequently crippled the theological freedom of will of members of the church.

Evangelical pietism notably appealed to, and subsequently took root amongst, the “Yankees,” i.e., that cultural group that originated in (particularly rural) New England and emigrated broadly to populate northern and western New York, northern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois. The Yankees have been pure “cultural imperialists,” individuals who have been wont to impose their values and morality on different teams; as such, they took fairly naturally to imposing their type of pietism by means of no matter means have been out there, together with the usage of the coercive energy of the state.

In distinction to evangelical pietists have been, along with small teams of old style Calvinists, two nice Christian teams, the Catholics and the Lutherans (or a minimum of, the high-church number of Lutheran), who have been “liturgicals” (or “ritualists”) relatively than pietists. The liturgicals noticed the highway to salvation in becoming a member of the actual church, obeying its rituals, and making use of its sacraments; the person was not alone with solely his feelings and the state to guard him. There was no specific want, then, for the state to tackle the capabilities of the church. Moreover, the liturgicals had a way more relaxed and rational view of what sin actually was; for example, extreme ingesting is perhaps sinful, however liquor per se certainly was not.

The evangelical pietists, from the 1830s on, have been the northern Protestants of British descent, in addition to the Lutherans from Scandinavia and a minority of pietist German synods; the liturgicals have been the Roman Catholics and the high-church Lutherans, largely German.

Very quickly, the political events mirrored a nearly one-to-one correlation of this ethnoreligious division: the Whig, and later the Republican, social gathering consisting mainly of the pietists, and the Democratic social gathering encompassing virtually all of the liturgicals. And for nearly a century, on a state and native degree, the Whig/Republican pietists tried desperately and determinedly to stamp out liquor and all Sunday actions besides church (after all, ingesting liquor on Sunday was a heinous double sin). As to the Catholic church, the pietists tried to limit or abolish immigration, since folks coming from Germany and Eire, liturgicals, have been outnumbering folks from Britain and Scandinavia. Failing that and despairing of doing something about grownup Catholics poisoned by brokers of the Vatican, the evangelical pietists determined to focus on saving Catholic and Lutheran youth by attempting to remove the parochial faculties, by means of which each spiritual teams transmitted their treasured spiritual and social values to the younger. The item, as many pietists put it, was to “Christianize the Catholics,” to power Catholic and Lutheran kids into public faculties, which may then be used as an instrument of pietist Protestantization. For the reason that Yankees had early taken to the thought of imposing communal civic advantage and obedience by means of the general public faculties, they have been notably receptive to this new cause for aggrandizing public training.

To all of those persevering with aggressions by what they termed “these fanatics,” the liturgicals fought again with equal fervor. Notably bewildered have been the Germans who, Lutheran and Catholic alike, have been accustomed to the complete household fortunately attending beer gardens collectively on Sundays after church and who now discovered the “fanatic” pietists attempting desperately to outlaw this pleasurable and seemingly harmless exercise. The pietist Protestant assaults on personal and parochial faculties fatally threatened the preservation and upkeep of the liturgicals’ cultural and spiritual values; and since massive numbers of the Catholics and Lutherans have been immigrants, parochial faculties additionally served to keep up group affinities in a brand new and infrequently hostile world—particularly the world of Anglo-Saxon pietism. Within the case of the Germans, it additionally meant, for a number of many years, preserving parochial educating within the beloved German language, as towards fierce pressures for Anglicization.

Within the final three many years of the nineteenth century, as Catholic immigration grew and the Democratic social gathering moved slowly however certainly towards a majority standing, the Republican, and—extra broadly—pietist pressures turned extra intense. The aim of the general public college, to the pietists, was “to unify and make homogeneous the society.” There was no twentieth century concern for separating faith and the general public college system. On the contrary, in most northern jurisdictions solely pietist-Protestant church members have been allowed to be academics within the public faculties. Every day studying of the Protestant Bible, every day Protestant prayers and Protestant hymns have been frequent within the public faculties, and college textbooks have been rife with anti-Catholic propaganda. Thus, New York Metropolis college textbooks spoke broadly of “the deceitful Catholics,” and pounded into their kids, Catholic and Protestant alike, the message that “Catholics are essentially, morally, intellectually, infallibly, a silly race.”

Academics delivered homilies on the evils of Popery, and in addition on deeply felt pietist theological values: the wickedness of alcohol (the “demon rum”) and the significance of preserving the Sabbath. Within the Eighties and Nineties, zealous pietists started working ardently for antialcohol instruction as a required a part of the public-school curriculum; by 1901, each state within the Union required instruction in temperance.

Since most Catholic kids went to public relatively than parochial faculties, the Catholic authorities have been understandably anxious to purge the faculties of Protestant necessities and ceremonies, and of anti-Catholic textbooks. To the pietists, these makes an attempt to de-Protestantize the general public faculties have been insupportable “Romish aggression.” The entire level of the general public faculties was ethical and spiritual homogenization, and right here the Catholics have been disrupting the try and make American society holy—to supply, by means of the general public college and the Protestant gospel, “a morally and politically homogeneous folks.” As Kleppner writes:

Once they [the pietists] spoke of “ethical training,” that they had in thoughts ideas of morality shared in frequent by the adherents of gospel faith, for within the public college all kids, even these whose dad and mom have been enslaved by “Lutheran formalism or Romish supersitition,” could be uncovered to the Bible. That alone was trigger for righteous optimism, for they believed the Bible to be “the agent in changing the soul,” “the amount that makes human beings males.”

On this approach, “America [would] be Saved By the Youngsters.”

The pietists have been subsequently incensed that the Catholics have been making an attempt to dam the salvation of America’s kids—and finally of America itself—all on the orders of a “international potentate.” Thus, the New Jersey Methodist Convention of 1870 lashed out with their deepest emotions towards this Romish obstructionism:

Resolved, That we vastly deprecate the trouble which is being made by “Haters of Gentle,” and particularly by an smug priesthood, to exclude the Bible from the Public Colleges of our land; and that we are going to do all in our energy to defeat the well-defined and depraved design of this “Mom of Harlots.”

All through the nineteenth century, “nativist” assaults on “foreigners” and the foreign-born have been actually assaults on liturgical immigrants. Immigrants from Britain or Scandinavia, pietists all, have been “good People” as quickly as they received off the boat. It was the varied tradition of the different immigrants that needed to be homogenized and molded into that of pietist America. Thus, the New England Methodist Convention of 1889 declared:

We’re a nation of remnants, ravellings from the Previous World. . . . The general public college is likely one of the remedial businesses which work in our society to decrease this . . . and to hasten the compacting of those heterogeneous supplies right into a stable nature.

Or, as a number one citizen of Boston declared, “the one technique to elevate the international inhabitants was to make Protestants of their kids.”

For the reason that cities of the North, within the late nineteenth century, have been turning into more and more crammed with Catholic immigrants, pietist assaults on sinful cities and on immigrants each turned features of the anti-liturgical wrestle for a homogeneous Anglo-Saxon pietist tradition. The Irish have been specific butts of pietist scorn; a New York Metropolis textbook bitterly warned that continued immigration may make America “the frequent sewer of Eire,” crammed with drunken and wicked Irishmen.

The rising inflow of immigrants from southern and japanese Europe towards the tip of the nineteenth century appeared to pose even larger issues for the pietist progressives, however they didn’t shrink from the duty. As Elwood P. Cubberley of Stanford College, the nation’s excellent progressive historian of training, declared, southern and japanese Europeans have served to dilute tremendously our nationwide inventory, and to deprave our civil life. . . . All over the place these folks are inclined to settle in teams or settlements, and to arrange right here their nationwide manners, customs, and observances. Our process is to interrupt up these teams or settlements, to assimilate and amalgamate these folks as part of our American race and to implant of their kids. . . the Anglo-Saxon conception of rightousness, legislation and order, and common authorities. . . . 


The molding of youngsters was after all the important thing to homogenization and the important thing normally to the progressive imaginative and prescient of tight social management over the person by way of the instrument of the state. The eminent College of Wisconsin sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross, a favourite of Theodore Roosevelt and the veritable epitome of a progressive social scientist, summed it up thus: The function of the general public official, and specifically of the general public college trainer, is “to gather little plastic lumps of human dough from personal households and form them on the social kneadingboard.”

The view of Ross and the opposite progressives was that the state should take up the duty of management and inculcation of ethical values as soon as carried out by dad and mom and church. The battle between center and upper-class city progressive Anglo-Saxon Protestants and largely working-class Catholics was sharply delineated within the battle over management of the San Francisco public college system through the second decade of the 20th century. The extremely common Alfred Roncovieri, a French-Italian Catholic, was the elected college superintendent from 1906 on. Roncovieri was a traditionalist who believed that the perform of colleges was to show the fundamentals, and that educating kids about intercourse and morality needs to be the perform of dwelling and church. Therefore, when the drive for intercourse hygiene programs within the public faculties received below approach, Roncovieri consulted with moms’ golf equipment and, in consequence, stored this system out of the faculties.

By 1908, upper-class progressives launched a decade-long motion to oust Roncovieri and rework the character of the San Francisco public college system. As an alternative of an elected superintendent responding to a college board elected by districts, the progressives wished an omnipotent college superintendent, appointed by a rubber-stamp board that in flip could be appointed by the mayor. In different phrases, within the title of “taking the faculties out of politics,” they hoped to aggrandize the tutorial paperwork and preserve its energy nearly unchecked by any common or democratic management. The aim was threefold: to push by means of the progressive program of social management, to impose upper-class management over a working-class inhabitants, and to impose pietist Protestant management over Catholic ethnics. 

The ethnoreligious wrestle over the general public faculties in San Francisco was nothing new; it had been occurring tumultuously for the reason that center of the nineteenth century. Within the final half of the nineteenth century, San Francisco was cut up into two components. Ruling town was an influence elite of native-born outdated People, hailing from New England, together with attorneys, businessmen, and pietist Protestant ministers. These comprised successively the Whig, Know-Nothing, Populist, and Republican events within the metropolis. However have been the foreign-born, largely Catholic immigrants from Europe, Irish, Germans, French, and Italians, who comprised the Democratic social gathering.

The Protestants early tried to make use of the general public faculties as a homogenizing and controlling power. The nice theoretician and founding father of the general public college system in San Francisco, John Swett, “the Horace Mann of California,” was a lifelong Republican and a Yankee who had taught college in New Hampshire earlier than transferring West. Furthermore, the Board of Training was initially an all-New England present; consisting of emigrants from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The mayor of San Francisco was a former mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, and each administrator and trainer within the public faculties was a transplanted New Englander. The primary superintendent of colleges was not precisely a New Englander, however shut: Thomas J. Nevins, a Yankee Whig lawyer from New York and an agent of the American Bible Society. And the primary free public college in San Francisco was instituted within the basement of a small Baptist chapel.

Nevins, put in as superintendent of colleges in 1851, promptly adopted the rule of the New York Metropolis faculties: Each trainer was compelled to start every day by a Protestant Bible studying and to conduct every day Protestant prayer classes. And John Swett, elected as Republican state superintendent of public instruction through the 1860s, declared that California wanted public faculties due to its heterogeneous inhabitants: “Nothing can Americanize these chaotic components, and breathe into them the spirit of our establishments,” he warned, “besides the general public faculties.”

Swett was eager sufficient to acknowledge that the pietist academic method meant that the state takes over jurisdiction of the kid from his dad and mom, since “kids arrived on the age of maturity belong, to not the dad and mom, however to the State, to society, to the nation.”

A seesaw wrestle between the Protestant Yankees and Catholic ethnics ensued in San Francisco through the 1850s. The state constitution of San Francisco in 1855 made the faculties much more attentive to the folks, with college boards being elected from every of a dozen wards as an alternative of at massive, and the superintendent elected by the folks as an alternative of appointed by the board. The Democrats swept the Know-Nothings out of workplace within the metropolis in 1856 and dropped at energy David Broderick, an Irish Catholic who managed the San Francisco in addition to the California Democratic social gathering. However this achieve was worn out by the San Francisco Vigilance Motion, a personal group of retailers and New England-born Yankees, who, attacking the “Tammany” ways of Broderick, put in themselves in energy and illegally deported a lot of the Broderick group, changing it with a newly shaped Individuals’s social gathering.

The Individuals’s social gathering ran San Francisco with an iron hand for ten years, from 1857 to 1867, making secret nominations for appointments and driving by means of big slates of at-large nominees chosen at a single vote at a public assembly. No open nomination procedures, primaries, or ward divisions have been allowed, with a purpose to guarantee election victories by “respected” males. The Individuals’s social gathering promptly reinstalled an all-Yankee college board, and the directors and academics in faculties have been once more firmly Protestant and militantly anti-Catholic. The Individuals’s social gathering itself regularly attacked the Irish, denouncing them as “micks” and “rank Pats.” George Tait, the Individuals’s party-installed superintendent of colleges within the 1860s, lamented, nevertheless, that some academics have been failing to learn the Protestant Bible within the faculties, and have been thus casting “a slur on the faith and character of the group.”

By the 1870s, nevertheless, the foreign-born residents outnumbered the native-born, and the Democratic social gathering rose to energy in San Francisco, the Individuals’s social gathering declining and becoming a member of the Republicans. The Board of Training ended the follow of Protestant devotions within the faculties, and Irish and Germans started to pour into administrative and educating posts within the public college system.

One other rollback started, nevertheless, in 1874, when the Republican state legislature abolished ward elections for the San Francisco college board, and insisted that each one board members be elected at massive. This meant that solely the rich, which normally meant well-to-do Protestants, have been doubtless to have the ability to run efficiently for election. Accordingly, whereas in 1873, 58 p.c of the San Francisco college board was foreign-born, the proportion was down to eight p.c within the following yr. And whereas the Irish have been roughly 25 p.c of the voters and the Germans about 13 p.c, the Irish weren’t capable of fill a couple of or two of the twelve at-large seats, and the Germans nearly none.

The seesaw continued, nevertheless, because the Democrats got here again in 1883, below the aegis of the grasp politician, the Irish Catholic Christopher “Blind Boss” Buckley. Within the Buckley regime, the post-1874 college board dominated completely by rich native-born, Yankee businessmen and professionals, was changed by an ethnically balanced ticket with a excessive proportion of working-class and foreign-born. Moreover, a excessive proportion of Irish Catholic academics, most of them single girls, entered the San Francisco faculties through the Buckley period, reaching 50 p.c by the flip of the century.

Within the late Eighties, nevertheless, the stridently anti-Catholic and anti-Irish American social gathering turned robust in San Francisco and the remainder of the state, and Republican leaders have been completely satisfied to affix them in denouncing the “immigrant peril.” The American social gathering managed to oust the Irish Catholic Joseph O’Connor, principal and deputy superintendent, from his excessive put up as “religiously unacceptable.” This victory heralded a progressive Republican “reform” comeback in 1891, when none apart from John Swett was put in as superintendent of colleges in San Francisco. Swett battled for the complete reform program: to make every little thing, even the mayoralty, an appointive relatively than an elective workplace. A part of the purpose was achieved by the state’s new San Francisco constitution in 1900, which changed the twelve-man elected Board of Training by a four-member board appointed by the mayor.

The complete purpose of complete appointment was nonetheless blocked, nevertheless, by the existence of an elective superintendent of colleges who, since 1907, was the favored Catholic Alfred Roncovieri. The pietist progressives have been additionally thwarted for twenty years by the truth that San Francisco was dominated, for a lot of the years between 1901 and 1911, by a brand new Union Labor social gathering, which received on an ethnically and occupationally balanced ticket, and which elected the German-Irish Catholic Eugene Schmitz, a member of the musician’s union, as mayor. And for eighteen years after 1911, San Francisco was ruled by its hottest mayor earlier than or since, “Sunny Jim” Rolph, an Episcopalian pleasant to Catholics and ethnics, who was pro-Roncovieri and who presided over an ethnically pluralistic regime.

It’s instructive to look at the make-up of the progressive reform motion that finally received its approach and overthrew Roncovieri. It consisted of the usual progressive coalition of enterprise {and professional} elites, and nativist and anti-Catholic organizations, who referred to as for the purging of Catholics from the faculties. Explicit inspiration got here from Stanford educationist Elwood P. Cubberley, who energized the California department of the Affiliation of Collegiate Alumnae (later the American Affiliation of College Girls), led by the rich Mrs. Jesse H. Steinhart, whose husband was later to be a pacesetter within the Progressive social gathering. Mrs. Steinhart received Mrs. Agnes De Lima, a New York Metropolis progressive educator, to make a survey of the San Francisco faculties for the affiliation. The report, offered in 1914, made the anticipated case for an “environment friendly,” business-like, college system run solely by appointed educators. Mrs. Steinhart additionally organized the Public Training Society of San Francisco to agitate for progressive college reform; on this she was aided by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally backing progressive reform, and anxious to oust Roncovieri, have been different elite teams within the metropolis, together with the League of Girls Voters, and the distinguished Commonwealth Membership of California.

On the behest of Mrs. Steinhart and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, which contributed the funds, Philander Claxton of the U.S. Workplace of Training weighed in with his report in December 1917. The report, which endorsed the Affiliation of Collegiate Alumnae examine and was extraordinarily important of the San Francisco college system, referred to as for all energy over the system to go to an appointed superintendent of colleges. Claxton additionally attacked the educating of international languages within the faculties, which San Francisco had been doing, and insisted on a complete “Americanization” to interrupt down ethnic settlements.

The Claxton Report was the sign for the Chamber of Commerce to swing into motion, and it proceeded to draft a complete progressive referendum for the November 1918 poll, calling for an appointed superintendent and an appointed college board. This initiative, Modification 37, was backed by a lot of the outstanding enterprise {and professional} teams within the metropolis. Along with those named above, there have been the Actual Property Board, elite girls’s organizations such because the Federation of Girls’s Golf equipment, rich neighborhood enchancment golf equipment, and the San Francisco Examiner. Modification 37 misplaced, nevertheless, by two to 1, because it had little help in working-class neighborhoods or among the many academics.

Two years later, nevertheless, Modification 37 handed, aided by a resurgence of pietism and virulent anti-Catholicism in postwar America. Prohibition was now triumphant, and the Ku Klux Klan skilled a nationwide revival as a pietist, anti-Catholic group. The KKK had as many as 3,500 members within the San Francisco Bay Space within the early Twenties. The anti-Catholic American Protecting Affiliation additionally loved a revival, led in California by a British small businessman, the anti-Irish Grand Grasp Colonel J. Arthur Petersen.

In opposing Modification 37 within the 1920 elections, Father Peter C. Yorke, a outstanding priest and Irish immigrant, perceptively summed up the elemental cleavage: “The trendy college system,” he declared, “just isn’t glad with educating kids the three Rs . . . it reaches out and takes possession of their entire lives.”

Modification 37 handed in 1920 by the slender margin of 69,200 to 66,700. It handed in each middle- and upper-class Meeting District, and misplaced in each working-class district. The upper the focus of foreign-born voters in any district, the larger the vote towards. Within the Italian precincts 1 to 17 of the thirty third A.D., the Modification was overwhelmed by 3 to 1; within the Irish precincts, it was defeated by 3 to 1 as properly. The extra Protestant a working-class district, the extra it supported the Modification.

The majority of the lobbying for the Modification was carried out by the advert hoc Instructional Convention. After the victory, the convention fortunately offered an inventory of nominees to the college board, which now consisted of seven members appointed by the mayor, and which in flip appointed the superintendent. The proposed board consisted fully of businessmen, of whom just one was a conservative Irish Catholic. The mayor surrendered to the strain, and therefore, after 1921, cultural pluralism within the San Francisco college system gave technique to unitary progressive rule. The board started by threatening to dock any trainer who dared to be absent from college on St. Patrick’s Day (a San Francisco custom for the reason that 1870s), and proceeded to override the desires of specific neighborhoods within the curiosity of a centralized metropolis.

The superintendent of colleges within the new regime, Dr. Joseph Marr Gwinn, match the brand new dispensation to a tee. Knowledgeable “scientist” of public administration, his avowed intention was unitary management. The whole package deal of typical progressive academic nostrums was put in, together with a division of training and varied experimental applications. Conventional primary training was scorned, and the edict got here down that kids shouldn’t be “pressured” to be taught the three Rs in the event that they did not really feel the necessity. Conventional academics, who have been regularly attacked for being old style and “unprofessional,” weren’t promoted.

Regardless of continued opposition by academics, dad and mom, neighborhoods, ethnic teams, and the ousted Roncovieri, all makes an attempt to repeal Modification 37 have been unsuccessful. The trendy dispensation of progressivism had conquered San Francisco. The removing of the Board of Training and college superintendent from direct and periodic management by the voters had successfully disadvantaged dad and mom of any vital management over the tutorial insurance policies of public faculties. Eventually, as John Swett had asserted practically sixty years earlier, schoolchildren belonged “to not the dad and mom, however to the State, to society, to the nation.”


Girls’s Suffrage

By the Nineties, the liturgically oriented Democracy was slowly however certainly profitable the nationwide battle of the political events. Culminating the battle was the Democratic congressional victory in 1890 and the Grover Cleveland landslide within the presidential election of 1892, by which Cleveland carried each Homes of Congress together with him (an uncommon feat for that period). The Democrats have been in approach of turning into the bulk social gathering of the nation, and the basis was demographic: the truth that a lot of the immigrants have been Catholic and the Catholic birthrate was larger than that of the pietist Protestants. Though British and Scandinavian immigration had reached new highs through the Eighties, their numbers have been far exceeded by German and Irish immigration, the latter being the best for the reason that well-known post-potato-famine inflow that began within the late 1840s. Moreover, the “new immigration” from southern and japanese Europe, virtually all Catholic—and particularly Italian—started to make its mark throughout the identical decade.

The pietists turned more and more embittered, stepping up their assaults on foreigners normally and Catholics specifically. Thus, the Reverend T.W. Cuyler, President of the Nationwide Temperance Society, intemperately exclaimed in the summertime of 1891: “How for much longer [will] the Republic . . . consent to have her soil a dumping floor for all Hungarian ruffians, Bohemian bruisers, and Italian cutthroats of each description?”

The primary concrete political response by the pietists to the rising Catholic tide was to attempt to prohibit immigration. Republicans efficiently managed to cross legal guidelines partially reducing immigration, however President Cleveland vetoed a invoice to impose a literacy take a look at on all immigrants. The Republicans additionally managed to curtail voting by immigrants, by getting most states to disallow voting by aliens, thereby reversing the standard customized of permitting alien voting. In addition they urged the lengthening of the statutory ready interval for naturalization.

The profitable limiting of immigration and of immigrant voting was nonetheless not sufficient to matter, and immigration would not likely be foreclosed till the Twenties. But when voting couldn’t be restricted sharply sufficient, maybe it could possibly be expanded—in the correct pietist route.

Particularly, it was clear to the pietists that the function of girls within the liturgical “ethnic” household was very totally different from what it was within the pietist Protestant household. One of many causes impelling pietists and Republicans towards prohibition was the truth that, culturally, the lives of city male Catholics—nd the cities of the Northeast have been turning into more and more Catholic—advanced across the neighborhood saloon. The boys would restore at evening to the saloon for chitchat, discussions, and argument—nd they might typically take their political opinions from the saloonkeeper, who thus turned the political powerhouse in his specific ward. Due to this fact, prohibition meant breaking the political energy of the city liturgical machines within the Democratic social gathering.

However whereas the social lives of liturgical males revolved across the saloon, their wives stayed at dwelling. Whereas pietist girls have been more and more impartial and politically lively, the lives of liturgical girls revolved solely about dwelling and fireside. Politics was strictly an avocation for husbands and sons. Perceiving this, the pietists started to push for ladies’s suffrage, realizing that much more pietist than liturgical girls would benefit from the ability to vote.

Consequently, the ladies’s suffrage motion was closely pietist from the very starting. Ultrapietist third events just like the Buck and the Prohibition events, which scorned the Republicans for being untrustworthy moderates on social points, supported girls’s suffrage all through, and the Populists tended in that route. The Progressive social gathering of 1912 was strongly in favor of girls’s suffrage; theirs was the primary main nationwide conference to allow girls delegates. The primary girl elector, Helen J. Scott of Wisconsin, was chosen by the Progressive social gathering.

Maybe the most important single group within the girls’s suffrage motion was the Girls’s Christian Temperance Union, based in 1874 and reaching an infinite membership of 300,000 by 1900. That the WCTU was additionally concerned in agitating for curfew, antigambling, antismoking, and antisex legal guidelines—ll actions lauded by the ladies’s suffrage motion—s clear from the official historical past of girls’s suffrage within the nineteenth century:

[The WCTU] has been a chief think about State campaigns for statutory prohibition, constitutional modification, reform legal guidelines normally and people for the safety of girls and youngsters specifically, and in securing anti-gambling and anti-cigarette legal guidelines. It has been instrumental in elevating the “age of safety” for women in lots of States, and in acquiring curfew legal guidelines in 400 cities and cities. . . . The affiliation [WCTU] protests towards the legalization of all crimes, particularly these of prostitution and liquor promoting.

Not solely did Susan B. Anthony start her profession as an expert prohibitionist, however her two successors as president of the main girls’s suffrage group, the Nationwide American Lady Suffrage Affiliation—Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw—additionally started their skilled careers as prohibitionists. The main spirit of the WCTU, Frances E. Willard, was prototypically born of New England-stock dad and mom who had moved westward to check at Oberlin School, then the nation’s middle of aggressive, evangelical pietism, and had later settled in Wisconsin. Guided by Miss Willard, the WCTU started its prosuffrage actions by demanding that ladies vote in native choice referendums on prohibition. As Miss Willard put it, the WCTU wished girls to vote on this challenge as a result of “majorities of girls are towards the liquor site visitors. . . .”

Conversely, at any time when there was a voters’ referendum on girls’s suffrage, the liturgicals and the foreign-born, responding to immigrant tradition and reacting towards the pietist-feminist help of prohibition, constantly opposed girls’s suffrage. In Iowa, the Germans voted towards girls’s suffrage, as did the Chinese language in California. The ladies’s suffrage modification in 1896 in California was closely supported by the bitterly anti-Catholic American Protecting Affiliation. The cities, the place Catholics abounded, tended to be against girls’s suffrage, whereas pietist rural areas tended to favor it. Thus, the Oregon referendum of 1900 misplaced largely due to opposition within the Catholic “slums” of Portland and Astoria.

A revealing spiritual breakdown of votes on an 1877 girls’s suffrage referendum was offered in a report by a Colorado feminist. She defined that the Methodists (probably the most strongly pietistic) have been “for us,” the (much less pietistic) Presbyterians and Episcopalians “pretty so,” whereas the Roman Catholics “weren’t all towards us”—clearly they have been anticipated to be.  And, testifying earlier than the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of girls’s suffrage in 1880, Susan B. Anthony offered her personal clarification of the Colorado vote:

In Colorado . . . 6,666 males vote “Sure.” Now, I’m going to explain the lads who voted “Sure.” They have been native-born males, temperance males, cultivated, broad, beneficiant, simply males, males who suppose. However, 16,007 voted “No.” Now, I’m going to explain that class of voters. Within the southern a part of that State are Mexicans, who communicate the Spanish language. . . . The huge inhabitants of Colorado is made up of that class of individuals. I used to be despatched out to talk in a voting precinct having 200 voters; 150 of these voters have been Mexican greasers, 40 of them foreign-born residents, and simply 10 of them have been born on this nation; and I used to be speculated to be competent to transform these males to let me have a lot proper on this Authorities as that they had. . . 

A laboratory take a look at of which girls would end up to vote occurred; in Massachusetts, the place girls got the ability to vote in class board elections from 1879 on. In 1888, massive numbers of Protestant girls in Boston turned out to drive Catholics off the college board. In distinction, Catholic girls scarcely voted, “thereby validating the, nativist tendencies of suffragists who believed that extension of full suffrage to girls would offer a barrier towards additional Catholic affect.” Over the past twenty years of the nineteenth century “the extra hierarchical the church group and the extra formal the ritual, the larger was its opposition to girls suffrage, whereas the democratically organized church buildings with little dogma tended to be extra receptive.”

4 mountain states adopted girls’s suffrage within the early and mid-Nineties. Two, Wyoming and Utah, have been merely ratifying, as new states, a follow that they had lengthy adopted as territories: Wyoming in 1869 and Utah in 1870. Utah had adopted girls’s suffrage as a aware coverage by the pietistic Mormons to weight political management in favor of their polygamous members, who contrasted to the Gentiles, largely miners and settlers who have been both single males or who had left their wives again East. Wyoming had adopted girls’s suffrage in an effort to extend the political energy of its settled house owners, in distinction to the transient, cellular, and infrequently lawless single males who peopled that frontier area.

No sooner had Wyoming Territory adopted girls’s suffrage, than it turned evident that the change had benefited the Republicans, notably since girls had mobilized towards Democratic makes an attempt to repeal Wyoming’s Sunday prohibition legislation. In 1871, each homes of the Wyoming legislature, led by its Democratic members, voted to repeal girls’s suffrage, however the invoice was vetoed by the Republican territorial governor.

Two further states adopting girls’s suffrage within the Nineties have been Idaho and Colorado. In Idaho the drive, adopted by referendum in 1896, was led by the ultrapietistic Populists and by the Mormons, who have been dominant within the southern a part of the state. The Populist counties of Colorado gave a majority of 6,800 for ladies’s suffrage, whereas the Republican and Democratic counties voted a majority of 500 towards.

It could be thought paradoxical {that a} motion—girls’s suffrage—born and centered within the East ought to have had its earliest victories within the distant frontier states of the Mountain West. However the paradox begins to clear after we notice the pietist-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant nature of the frontiersmen, lots of them Yankees hailing initially from that birthplace of American pietism, New England. Because the historian Frederick Jackson Turner, that nice celebrant of frontier beliefs, lyrically noticed:

Within the arid West these pioneers [from New England] have halted and have turned to understand an altered nation and altered social beliefs. . . . If we comply with again the road of march of the Puritan farmer, we will see how responsive he has at all times been to isms. . . . He’s the Prohibitionist of Iowa and Wisconsin, crying out towards German customs as an invasion of his conventional beliefs. He’s the Granger of Wisconsin, passing restrictive railroad laws. He’s the Abolitionist, the Anti-mason, the Millerite, the Lady Suffragist, the Spiritualist, the Mormon, of Western New York.

Eugenics and Delivery Management

Thus the ladies’s suffrage motion, dominated by pietist progressives, was not directed solely to attaining some summary precept of electoral equality between men and women. This was extra a method to a different finish: the creation of electoral majorities for pietist measures of direct social management over the lives of American households. They wished to find out by state intervention what these households drank and when and the place they drank, how they spent their Sabbath day, and the way their kids needs to be educated.

A technique of correcting the more and more pro-Catholic demographics was to limit immigration; one other to advertise girls’s suffrage. A 3rd approach, typically promoted within the title of “science,” was eugenics, an more and more common doctrine of the progressive motion. Broadly, eugenics could also be outlined as encouraging the breeding of the “match” and discouraging the breeding of the “unfit,” the standards of “health” typically coinciding with the cleavage between native, white Protestants and the international born or Catholics—or the white-black cleavage. In excessive circumstances, the unfit have been to be coercively sterilized.

To the founding father of the American eugenics motion, the distinguished biologist Charles Benedict Davenport, a New Yorker of eminent New England background, the rising feminist motion was beneficent supplied that the variety of biologically superior individuals was sustained and the variety of the unfit diminished. The biologist Harry H. Laughlin, aide to Davenport, affiliate editor of the Eugenical Information, and extremely influential within the immigration restriction coverage of the Twenties as eugenics professional for the Home Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, burdened the good significance of reducing the immigration of the biologically “inferior” southern Europeans. For in that approach, the organic superiority of Anglo-Saxon girls could be protected.

Harry Laughlin’s report back to the Home Committee, printed in 1923, helped formulate the 1924 immigration legislation, which, along with drastically limiting complete immigration to america, imposed nationwide origin quotas based mostly on the 1910 census, in order to weight the sources of immigration as a lot as doable in favor of northern Europeans. Laughlin later emphasised that American girls should maintain the nation’s blood pure by not marrying what he referred to as the “coloured races,” by which he included southern Europeans in addition to blacks: for if “males with a small fraction of coloured blood may readily discover mates among the many white girls, the gates could be thrown open to a remaining radical race combination of the entire inhabitants.” To Laughlin the ethical was clear: “The perpetuity of the American race and consequently of American establishments relies upon upon the advantage and fecundity of American girls.”

However the issue was that the fecund girls weren’t the pietist progressives however the Catholics. For, along with immigration, one other supply of demographic alarm to the pietists was the far larger birthrate amongst Catholic girls. If solely they could possibly be induced to undertake contraception! Therefore, the contraception motion turned a part of the pietist armamentarium of their systemic wrestle with the Catholics and different liturgicals.

Thus, the distinguished College of California eugenicist, Samuel J. Holmes, lamented that “the difficulty with contraception is that it’s practiced least the place it needs to be practiced most.” Within the Delivery Management Evaluate, main organ of the contraception motion, Annie G. Porritt was extra particular, attacking “the folly of closing our gates to aliens from overseas, whereas having them broad open to the overwhelming progeny of the least fascinating components of our metropolis and slum inhabitants.” Briefly, the beginning controllers have been saying that if one’s purpose is to limit sharply the overall variety of Catholics, “coloured” southern European or no, then there isn’t a level in solely limiting immigration whereas the home inhabitants continues to extend.

The contraception and the eugenics motion subsequently went hand in hand, not the least within the views of the well-known chief of the contraception motion in america: Mrs. Margaret Higgins Sanger, prolific creator, founder and long-time editor of the Delivery Management Evaluate. Echoing lots of the varied strains of progressivism, Mrs. Sanger hailed the emancipation of girls by means of contraception as the most recent in utilized science and “effectivity.” As she put it in her Autobiography: 

In an age which has developed science and trade and financial effectivity to their highest factors, so little thought has been given to the event of a science of parenthood, a science of maternity which may stop this appalling and unestimated waste of womankind and maternal effort.

To Mrs. Sanger, “science” additionally meant stopping the breeding of the unfit. A loyal eugenicist and follower of C.B. Davenport, she the truth is chided the eugenics motion for not sufficiently emphasizing this significant level:

The eugenists wished to shift the contraception emphasis from much less kids for the poor to extra kids for the wealthy. We went again of that and sought first to cease the multiplication of the unfit. This appeared a very powerful and best step towards race betterrnent.


Progressivism was, to an excellent extent, the end result of the pietist Protestant political impulse, the urge to manage each facet of American life, financial and ethical—even probably the most intimate and essential features of household life. Nevertheless it was additionally a curious alliance of a technocratic drive for presidency regulation, the supposed expression of “value-free science,” and the pietist spiritual impulse to avoid wasting America—and the world—by state coercion. Usually each pietistic and scientific arguments could be used, generally by the identical folks, to realize the outdated pietist objectives. Thus, prohibition could be argued for on spiritual in addition to on alleged scientific or medicinal grounds. In lots of circumstances, main progressive intellectuals on the flip of the 20th century have been former pietists who went to school after which transferred to the political area, their zeal for making over mankind, as a “salvation by science.” After which the Social Gospel motion managed to mix political collectivism and pietist Christianity in the identical package deal. All of those have been strongly interwoven components within the progressive motion.

All these tendencies reached their apogee within the Progressive social gathering and its nationwide conference of 1912. The assemblage was a gathering of businessmen, intellectuals, lecturers, technocrats, effectivity consultants and social engineers, writers, economists, social scientists, and main representatives of the brand new career of social work. The Progressive leaders have been center and higher class, virtually all city, extremely educated, and virtually all white Anglo-Saxon Protestants of both previous or current pietist issues.

From the social work leaders got here upper-class girls bringing the blessings of statism to the plenty: Lillian D. Wald, Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, and above all, Jane Addams. Miss Addams, one of many nice leaders of progressivism, was born in rural Illinois to a father, John, who was a state legislator and a religious nondenominational evangelical Protestant. Miss Addams was distressed on the southern and japanese European immigration, individuals who have been “primitive” and “credulous,” and who posed the hazard of unrestrained individualism. Their totally different ethnic background disrupted the unity of American tradition. Nonetheless, the issue, in keeping with Miss Addams, could possibly be simply remedied. The general public college may reshape the immigrant, strip him of his cultural foundations, and rework him right into a constructing block of a brand new and larger American group.

Along with writers {and professional} technocrats on the Progressive social gathering conference, there have been skilled pietists galore. Social Gospel leaders Lyman Abbott, the Reverend R. Heber Newton, and the Reverend Washington Gladden have been Progressive social gathering notables, and the Progressive candidate for governor of Vermont was the Reverend Fraser Metzger, chief of the Inter-Church Federation of Vermont. The truth is, the Progressive social gathering proclaimed itself because the “recrudescence of the spiritual spirit in American political life.”

Many observers, certainly, reported in surprise on the strongly spiritual tone of the Progressive social gathering conference. Theodore Roosevelt’s acceptance handle was considerably entitled, “A Confession of Religion,” and his phrases have been punctuated by “amens” and by a continuing singing of Christian hymns by the assembled delegates. They sang “Onward, Christian Troopers,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and eventually the revivalist hymn, “Observe, Observe, We Will Observe Jesus,” besides that “Roosevelt” changed the phrase “Jesus” at each flip.

The New York Instances of August 6, 1912, summed up the weird expertise by calling the Progressive assemblage “a conference of fanatics.” And, “It was not a conference in any respect. It was an assemblage of non secular fans. It was such a conference as Peter the Hermit held. It was a Methodist camp following executed over into political phrases.”

Thus the foundations of in the present day’s huge state intervention within the inside lifetime of the American household have been laid within the so-called “progressive period” from the 1870s to the Twenties. Pietists and “progressives” united to manage the fabric and sexual selections of the remainder of the American folks, their ingesting habits, and their leisure preferences. Their values, the very nurture and training of their kids, have been to be decided by their betters. The non secular, organic, political, mental, and ethical elite would govern, by means of state energy, the character and high quality of American household life.


It has been identified for many years that the Progressive Period was marked by a radical progress within the extension and dominance of presidency in America’s financial, social, and cultural life. For many years, this nice leap into statism was naively interpreted by historians as a easy response to the larger want for planning and regulation of an more and more advanced economic system. In recent times, nevertheless, historians have come to see that growing statism on a federal and state degree might be higher interpreted as a worthwhile alliance between sure enterprise and industrial pursuits, on the lookout for authorities to cartelize their trade after personal efforts for cartels and monopoly had failed, and intellectuals, lecturers, and technocrats in search of jobs to assist regulate and plan the economic system in addition to restriction of entry into their professions. Briefly, the Progressive Period re-created the age-old alliance between Large Authorities, massive enterprise corporations, and opinion-molding intellectuals—an alliance that had most not too long ago been embodied within the mercantilist system of the sixteenth by means of eighteenth centuries.

Different historians uncovered an analogous course of on the native degree, particularly that of city authorities starting with the Progressive Period. Utilizing the affect of media and opinion leaders, upper-income and enterprise teams within the cities systematically took political energy away from the plenty and centralized this energy within the arms of city authorities attentive to progressive calls for. Elected officers, and decentralized ward illustration, have been systematically changed both by appointed bureaucrats and civil servants, or by centralized at-large districts the place large-scale funding was wanted to finance election races. On this approach, energy was shifted out of the arms of the plenty and into the arms of a minority elite of technocrats and upper-income businessmen. One outcome was a rise of presidency contracts to enterprise, a shift from “Tammany” kind charity by the political events to a taxpayer-financed welfare state, and the imposition of upper taxes on suburban residents to finance bond points and redevelopment schemes accruing to downtown monetary pursuits.

Over the past twenty years, academic historians have described an analogous course of at work in public, particularly city, college programs. The scope of the general public college was vastly expanded, obligatory attendance unfold outdoors of New England and different “Yankee” areas through the Progressive Period, and a strong motion developed to attempt to ban personal faculties and to power everybody into the general public college system.

From the work of academic historians, it was clear that the leap into complete state management over the person and over social life was not confined, through the Progressive and certainly post-Progressive eras, to authorities and the economic system. A much more complete course of was at work. The growth of obligatory public education stemmed from the expansion of collectivist and anti-individualist ideology amongst intellectuals and educationists. The person, these “progressives” believed, have to be molded by the tutorial course of to adapt to the group, which in follow meant the dictates of the ability elite talking within the group’s title. Historians have lengthy been conscious of this course of.  However the accruing perception into progressivism as a enterprise cartelizing gadget led historians who had deserted the simple equation of “businessmen” with “laissez faire” to see that each one the aspects of progressivism—the financial and the ideological and academic—have been a part of an built-in entire. The brand new ideology amongst enterprise teams was cartelist and collectivist relatively than individualist and laissez faire, and the social management over the person exerted by progressivism was neatly paralleled within the ideology and follow of progressive training. One other parallel to the financial realm, after all, was the elevated energy and earnings accruing to the technocratic intellectuals controlling the college system and the economic system.

If the motion of enterprise and mental elites in turning towards progressivism was now defined, there was nonetheless a big hole within the historic clarification and understanding of progressivism and subsequently of the leap into statism starting within the early twentieth century. There was nonetheless a necessity to clarify mass voting habits and the ideology and applications of the political events within the American electoral system. This chapter applies the illuminating findings of latest “ethnoreligious historians” to vital adjustments that befell through the Progressive Period within the energy of presidency over the household. Particularly, we talk about the motion to increase the ability of the general public college and the educationist elite over the household, in addition to the ladies’s suffrage and eugenics motion, all essential options of the Progressive motion. In each case, we see the important hyperlink between these intrusions into the household and the aggressive drive by Anglo-Saxon Protestant “pietists” to make use of the state to “make America holy,” to stamp out sin and thereby guarantee their very own salvation by maximizing the salvation of others. Particularly, all of those measures have been half and parcel of the long-standing campaign by these pietists to scale back if not remove the function of “liturgicals,” largely Roman Catholics and high-church Lutherans, from American political life. The drive to stamp out liquor and secular actions on Sundays had long term into profitable Catholic and high-church Lutheran resistance. Obligatory public education was quickly seen as an indispensable weapon within the process of “Christianizing the Catholics,” of saving the souls of Catholic kids through the use of the general public faculties as a Protestantizing weapon. The uncared for instance of San Francisco politics was urged as a case examine of this ethnoreligious political battle over the faculties and therefore over the best of Catholic dad and mom to transmit their very own values to their kids with out struggling Anglo-Saxon Protestant obstruction. Girls’s suffrage was seized upon as a method of accelerating Anglo-Saxon Protestant voting energy, and immigration restriction in addition to eugenics was a technique of lowering the rising demographic problem of Catholic voters.

In sum, latest insights into the cartelizing drive of assorted enterprise pursuits have supplied an essential clarification of the fast progress of statism within the twentieth century. Ethnoreligious historical past supplies a proof of mass voting habits and political social gathering applications that neatly complement the cartelizing clarification of the actions of enterprise elites.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here