Partisans And Progressives: Private Interest And Public Policy In Illinois, 1870-1922

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At the turn of the twentieth century, Illinois was an expanding industrial giant and its urban center, Chicago, was peopled with competing ethnic and economic groups. Drawn to the city by the promise of factory jobs and social mobility, newcomers found instead the universal conditions of the working poor: cramped tenement flats, unclean food, unsafe streets and schools, and sweatshops. Enter the progressives, including Jane Addams, John Dewey, Graham Taylor, and Charles Merriam. Dedicated to a new concept, "the ...
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Overview

At the turn of the twentieth century, Illinois was an expanding industrial giant and its urban center, Chicago, was peopled with competing ethnic and economic groups. Drawn to the city by the promise of factory jobs and social mobility, newcomers found instead the universal conditions of the working poor: cramped tenement flats, unclean food, unsafe streets and schools, and sweatshops. Enter the progressives, including Jane Addams, John Dewey, Graham Taylor, and Charles Merriam. Dedicated to a new concept, "the public interest," they tried to implement a policy of justice and efficiency. Instead, the progressives fell prey to complex social divisions that were widened farther by such incendiary issues as the centralization of public schools, Chicago home rule, and the regulation of industry and saloons. The progressives' good intentions and concerted efforts failed to reform; in fact, their pursuit of governmental efficiency perpetuated injustice by solidifying the dominance of party machines in Illinois. Thomas Pegram shows how progressives won certain battles even as they lost the war. The progressives popularized their various reform ideas but failed to control the all important process of shepherding these reforms through the legislative and bureaucratic systems. The largely unspoken irony of the progressive movement was that, in attempting to open up the political process, it fostered more economical and efficient forms of government. Eventually, this economy and efficiency led to the entrenchment of party bosses. Pegram chronicles the development of fragile coalitions of intellectuals, settlement-house workers, and civic club leaders, all committed to promoting separate political agendas. Ultimately, these coalitions failed to produce a genuine democratic society, or even to promote the general welfare. Drawing on hitherto unexplored documents of the Progressive Era, Partisans and Progressives sheds new light on this pivotal period in American history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252018473
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Pages: 312

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. 1 Interest Groups and the Public Interest
1 Progressivism and Public Policy 3
2 Agricultural Organization and Progressive Reform 25
3 Controlling Factory Regulation 61
Pt. 2 Reforming the City: Efficiency and Democracy in Chicago Public Life
4 Defining Home Rule: Mainstream Reform, Alternative Culture, and the Chicago City Charter Movement 87
5 The Public versus the People: Controlling Schools and Streetcars in Chicago 121
Pt. 3 Political Machinery: The Irony of Progressive Reform
6 Nonpartisan Reform and the New Politics, 1893-1912 151
7 The Failure of Administrative Reform, 1912-1922 183
8 Conclusion: Progressivism and American Politics 213
Notes 225
Selected Primary and Unpublished Sources 281
Index 287
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