While a number of the most important reform movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries grew out of efforts to combat the negative effects of industrialization, the main focus of their efforts was not the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the natural environment. Although some reformers, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, were deeply worried about the consequences of economic development on the natural environment, the most influential, most effective reformers were primarily concerned with the impact of the rise of big business on small businesses, industrial workers, and consumers, and with corruption in government that reformers believed resulted from the economic power of large corporations.
Farmers were upset at what they regarded as arbitrary and excessive railroad rates and abuses such as rebates to big business like Standard Oil. These farmers were among the first and most outspoken advocates of reform in the late 19th century. Pressure from the Farmers’ Alliances convinced Congress to pass and President Cleveland to sign the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, a piece of legislation designed to regulate railroad rates and prohibit corrupt practices such as rebates. By 1890, these Farmers’ Alliances had entered politics in a number of Southern and Midwestern states and succeeded in pressuring Congress to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act, outlawing all “combinations in restraint of trade.” By 1892, a national People’s Party had been organized, nominating a third-party presidential candidate and electing several members of Congress. The Populist movement, a reform movement attempting to combat the negative effects of industrialization and the rise of big business, was now in full swing.
Beginning at the state level and with strong support in many urban areas, a new progressive movement reached the national level during the first years of the 20th century. Supported by President Theodore Roosevelt, progressive reformers, like the Populists, sought to strengthen railroad regulation and both enforce and further strengthen the antitrust laws. In 1902, President Roosevelt not only forced mine owners to submit to arbitration to settle a nationwide coal strike, he also asked his attorney general to file an antitrust suit against the Northern Securities Company, a large railroad holding company. After the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to break up the Northern Securities Company in 1904, Roosevelt went on to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Commission’s ability to regulate railroad rates by pushing the Hepburn Act through Congress in 1906. A few years later, another progressive reformer, Woodrow Wilson, succeeded to the presidency, and he managed to further strengthen the antitrust laws by pushing the Clayton Antitrust Act through Congress in 1914.
While railroad regulation and antitrust actions attracted the most attention of reformers during the period 1880–1920, some efforts were made by reformers to mitigate the effects of industrialization and commercial expansion on the natural environment. President Roosevelt used his executive authority to put thousands of acres of public lands aside for national parks, saving them from commercial exploitation. In 1908, he convened a conservation conference at the White House in an effort to further mitigate the damage that mining and manufacturing were doing to the natural environment, especially in the West. President Roosevelt also pushed for the establishment of the forest service and appointed a conservation-minded ally, Gifford Pinchot, to head that agency. Finally, even after retiring from office, Roosevelt supported Pinchot in his efforts to prevent President Taft’s secretary of the interior, Richard Ballinger, from opening additional public lands to commercial exploitation.
Thus, both the populist and progressive movements sought to combat the negative effects of industrialization and economic expansion by focusing primarily on railroad regulation and the strengthening and enforcement of antitrust legislation. Nevertheless, some progressive reformers like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot did pay significant attention to preventing further damage to the natural environment and helped to found the modern conservation movement.
History of Immigration in the United States Essay
1839 Words8 Pages
Throughout the history of the United States immigration has become apart of our country’s fabric which, began centuries ago. Only to become a hot topic in the US in recent years with its primary focus being illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration is when people enter a country without government permission. As of 2008 the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the US which is down from 2007‘s 12.5 million people. Although the Center for Immigration Studies estimates are very different from other estimates that range from 7 to 20 million. While the Pew Hispanic Center estimated in March of 2009 there are 11.1 million illegal immigrants and that number is from March 2007’s peak of 12…show more content…
Then there was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred certain laborers from migrating to the United States. Between 1885 and 1887 the Alien Contract Labor also, prohibited specific laborers from immigrating to the US. In 1891 the Federal Government took on the duty of admitting, inspecting, rejecting, and processing all immigrant in search of admission to the United States. On January 2, 1892, a Federal US immigration station opened on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. In 1903 a reaffirmed provisions that were in the 1891Act. The US immigration Act of 1907, reorganized the states bordering Mexico that includes Arizona, New Mexico and a large part of Texas. Between 1917 and 1924 there were a series of laws were ratified to limit the number of new aliens. These laws established the quota system and forced passport requirements. They also expanded the categories of excludable aliens and banned all Asians except the Japanese. A 1924 Act was created to reduced the number of US immigration visas and allocated them on the foundation of national origin. In 1940 The Alien Registration Act required all non-U.S. citizens within the United States to register with the Government and receive an Alien Registration Receipt Card, which was later called a Green Card. The Passage of the Internal Security Act of 1950 depicted the Alien Registration Receipt Card even more