Progressive Era Web Sites
She Resisted ★★★★★
PBS has created a brand-new multimedia presentation on the fight for women’s suffrage. The site is interactive and very thoroughly covers the movement. Also included is an interactive “suffrage map,” showing the status of suffrage in each state by the year.
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 ★★★★☆
A Harvard University web-based collection, this site contains a huge collection of primary sources on immigration to the United States, including 1,800 books and pamphlets, 13,000 pages from manuscripts and 9,000 photographs. The collection has very broad coverage and though the amount of information could be overwhelming, the web site is easy to navigate. Documents from the Progressive Era (1900 – 1919) include Dillingham Commission, California’s Alien Land Law, and the Immigration Act of 1917.
Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University ★★★★☆
A site dedicated to the study of Roosevelt’s life and legacy. With an attractive presentation, this site features quality articles, a timeline, and a good digital library of primary source documents..
Theodore Roosevelt Association Teaching Resources ★★★★☆
Find quotes, speeches, lesson plans, and more at this excellent site covering Theodore Roosevelt.
Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film ★★★★☆
This Library of Congress presentation features 104 films that record events in Roosevelt’s life from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to his death in 1919.
TR, The Story of Theodore Roosevelt ★★★★☆
A companion to the PBS American Experience video series, this site features real audio interviews, biographies, a timeline, a teacher’s guide and a discussion of Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. Learn about TR’s Progressive Era reform initiatives as well as his legacy in environment and the Panama Canal. Listen to a discussion of Theodore Roosevelt by noted historian David McCullough.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Acts and Legacy (History.com video) ★★★★☆
A Vital Progressivism ★★★★☆
This 26-minute video from Annenberg Learner reflects on the Progressive movement’s impact on the lives of everyday Americans. The video especially focuses upon the struggles of Indians, Asians, and Black Americans in the context of Progressivism’s traditionally White history..
Impact of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle on Food Safety ★★★★☆
Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle portrayed shockingly unsanitary conditions in Chicago stockyards more than 100 years ago and led to significant progressive era reforms, notable the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Listen to this National Public Radio podcast and hear Morris Dickstein of the City University discuss the book’s impact.
Meatpacking: Still a ” Jungle” out there? ★★★★☆
Learn about meatpacking in the U.S. and watch PBS Now video inside the world’s largest pork processing plant, located in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Read about how labor unions have changed over the years.
The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920 ★★★★☆
This Library of Congress web site documents the development of the conservation movement and offers a collection of books, pamphlets, federal statutes and resolutions, prints and photographs, a motion picture, and more.
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 ★★★★☆
This website is a project of the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York at Binghamton. About a fourth of the projects on Women and Social Movements remain freely available; the other projects, in addition to 25,000 pages of primary documents and enhanced searching tools, are available through Alexander Street Press. In the Teacher’s Corner there are twenty comprehensive lesson plans with over a hundred lesson ideas and six DBQ units, although some of these materials require a subscription.
The Triangle Factory Fire ★★★★☆
This website provides a detailed account of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City on 25th March, 1911 that claimed the lives of 146 young immigrant workers and highlighted inhumane working conditions. The Traiangle fire helped lead to progressive era labor reform.
A History of American Sweatshops ★★★★☆
This Smithsonian exhibition explores the history of American sweatshops. There are three History sections: 1820-1880, 1880-1940, and 1940-1997. View images of artifacts from each period complete with historical context.
Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony ★★★★☆
This PBS companion site to the Ken Burns documentary film features an interactive, virtual trip through the women’s suffrage movement. It also provides biographical and primary source information about Stanton and Anthony, classroom resources, and more.
Half the People: 1917-1996 ★★★★☆
Part of PBS’s People’s Century television series, this site focuses on women’s fight for equal rights in the progressive era and beyond. There are interviews, a timeline, and a teacher’s guide.
Agents of Social Change ★★★★☆
Smith College offers an on-line exhibit and several lesson plans drawn from its collections. The lesson plans are directed at middle and high school students and make use of both the text-based documents and visual images that can be found at the curriculum portion of the Web site. They highlight women’s part in struggles for social change in the 20th century including labor, socialism, civil liberties, peace, racial justice, urban reform, welfare rights, and women’s rights.
Inside A Factory: Westinghouse Works, 1904 ★★★★☆
This Library of Congress site has 21 films of the Westinghouse companies that were intended to showcase the company’s operations. There is background information on the factories, a timeline, an index, a search function, and recommended sources.
The Fight to End Child Labor ★★★★☆
In this History.com video, students discover how unions put an end to child labor in factories during the early 1900’s, along with excessive hours and pay cuts. Due to factory owners’ lack of care for the safety of their workers, children were welcomed as laborers; the fact that children made half the money adults did made children even more than welcome in factories. As labor unions formed, so did striking and rebellion–but their hard work paid off when rising social pressures forced the U.S. to outlaw child labor.
Child Labor and Child Labor Reform in American History ★★★★☆
A three-part presentation by the Ohio State History department featuring an appeal to end child labor in coal mining, and both articles and images from the The Child Labor Bulletin.
History of Child Labor in the United States ★★★★☆
This Talking History audio presentation features a conversation with Kristi Lindenmyer and commentary by David Larson, Creighton University labor law professor, on why Labor Day should be celebrated.
America at Work, America at Leisure, 1894-1915 ★★★★☆
This Library of Congress research collection features 150 motion pictures depicting life and leisure around the beginning of the 20th century.
Life of Henry Ford ★★★★☆
This introduces visitors to Henry Ford’s life and his Ford Motor Company. Learn about his work as an engineer and the formation and development of The Ford Motor Company. Visit the online “showroom” for images of the Model, as well as related advertising samples and sales literature.
Henry Ford: This Day in History ★★★★☆
This page from the Library of Congress links to varied LOC sources related to Henry Ford, the automobile, and his times.
Museum of Women’s History: Parading Progress ★★★★☆
Provides a clear overview of the suffrage movement in words and pictures.
Lucy Burns Photograph (History.com video) ★★★★☆
See related “Jailed for Freedom” pin at the National Museum of American History.
Digital History: Progressive ★★★★☆
Digital History features resource guides by topic and period. Reference resources include classroom handouts, chronologies, encyclopedia articles, glossaries, and an audio-visual archive including speeches, book talks and e-lectures by historians, and historical maps, music, newspaper articles, and images. The Progressive section leads to maps, images, fact-sheets, and more.
American Leaders Speak ★★★★☆
Here you can listen to 59 sound recordings of speeches by American leaders from 1918-1920. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the First World War and the subsequent presidential election of 1920. From the Library of Congress.
This National Geographic site offers interactive presentations, maps, and articles to help students explore the history of the Titanic.
Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities and more
Teaching With Documents: Political Cartoons Illustrating Progressivism and the Election of 1912
This National Archives Lesson plan documents prompts students to analyze political cartoons that, among others, satirize Roosevelt’s reversal of his anti-third term promise and his assumption of leadership of the Progressive Party.
Triangle Shirtwaist Lesson Plan:
This lesson plan takes students through the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, one of the deadliest industrial disasters in U.S. history and a pivotal catalyst for the passage of progressive reforms. Eyewitnesses included Frances Perkins, who would go on to lead the Department of Labor and create crucial New Deal legislation.
Conservation at a Crossroads – Lesson Plan
This Library of Congress lesson plan presents two independent units that use the decision to dam the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park as a means to explore the history of the conservation movement. The first unit focuses on major conservation thinkers such as Thoreau, Muir and Pinchot, and how the movement diversified over time; students also draw parallels to current environmental debates. The second unit focuses specifically on the debate over using the Hetch Hetchy to supply San Francisco with water; students engage in a mock debate to explore different sides and tease out differences between “preservationists” and “conservationists.” Both units feature pre-selected materials from Library of Congress collections, including writings by conversation advocates and opponents and Congressional documents. Designed for grades 11 and 12, but adaptable to grades 7 through 10.
Teacher Lesson Plan: Music and Reform History
After receiving background on industrialization and the Progressive Era, students explore sheet music to identify themes within songs and address the broader question, “How does society respond to change?” Students use four different Library of Congress American Memory collections documenting American music from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to explore how reform issues were reflected on and editorialized in songs. The lesson facilitates a discussion of what role music played in reform and how it has been utilized as a means of free speech. Provided by the LOC, recommended for grades 7-12.
Suffragists and Their Tactics – Lesson Plan
This Library of Congress lesson plan utilizes close analysis of three different primary sources (photos, broadsides and period articles) to explore the fight for women’s suffrage in terms of how and why women advocated change. Designed activities focus on what inferences can be made from primary sources and how to evaluate the efficacy of suffragists’ arguments in the time period they were made. For grades 10 to 12.
Women, Their Rights & Nothing Less – Lesson Plan
This relatively succinct lesson teaches students about both the different societal roles of women from 1840 to 1920 and the methods they used to achieve desired reforms. Using primary sources from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections, students learn how tactics in the early women’s rights movement changed with the times, ultimately leading to women’s suffrage. The lesson culminates in a student-made timeline, which uses primary sources to explain the movement’s transformation over time. Designed for grades 9 to 12.
United We Stand – Lesson Plan
To understand American working conditions at the end of the 20th century, students explore primary materials from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections. Using photographs, music, newspaper articles and editorials, the lesson allows students to explore the poor conditions that precipitated the rise of unions and determine how such primary sources can be used to justify arguments of those who claimed organizing labor was necessary. The lesson includes links to many specific, relevant documents from the American Memory collections. Designed for grades 8 to 10.
The Progressive Movement: Practice Test
High-school-level multiple-choice quiz on Progressivism from Prentice Hall.
Then and Now: Public Health From 1900 to Today
Throughout the 20th Century, the world has become a healthier place, for example, life expectancy has increased by almost 30 years. These changes can be attributed to improvements in public health, disease control, sanitation, immunization, better maternal and child health, and healthier lifestyles. This lesson plan will examine the public health issues and diseases doctors faced during the 1900’s.
Doing the Decades – Lesson Plan
This is a broad, 10-week project where students focus on the major trends and changes in the United States from 1890 to 1941 and how these changes affected groups and individuals. Students are broken into groups by decade and cover six primary themes (such as immigration, industrialization and the growth of capitalism) and a series of topics. Students identify and utilize primary sources to discuss these changes, using materials from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections and other materials they gather. Designed for grades 6 to 12.
The Progressive Movement: Document Based Essay
This Prentice Hall DBQ is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents and is based on the accompanying documents (1-6).
Interpreting Primary Sources
Digital History provides brief excerpts from primary sources and statistics and questions to think about. Check out “Urban Political Machines,” “Immigration,” “Problems of Youth,” and “Progressive Reform and the Trusts.”
Digital History Resource Guides
The Digital Resource Guides provide links to American history web sites by period and provide historical overviews, readings (online textbook chapter, Reader’s Companion), primary source documents (documents, maps, cartoons), teaching resources (chronologies, maps, quizzes), audio-visual resources, and additional resources. The Guides are an excellent and comprehensive teaching resource.
HistoryTeacher.net: AP United States History Quizzes
A New York teacher has produced a great general site for history teachers that offers AP-level United States history quizzes on many different periods and topics.
AP United States History DBQs: 1875-1925
These student-created DBQs are part of the excellent Historyteacher.net site
Rounding the Bases – Lesson Plan
This lesson challenges students to investigate the roles that race and ethnicity have played in the United States by utilizing the lens of baseball. Covering the period from 1860 to 1959, students are divided into groups each investigating a 20-year segment of time and use primary sources from the Library of Congress’s American Memory collection to develop and defend a unique historical hypothesis about race and ethnicity. Students draw parallels between the changing role of race and ethnicity in the history of baseball to the changing role these factors played in broader American society. Designed for grades 9 to 12.
Nature’s Fury – Lesson Plan
Students draw from a vast collection of primary sources from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including poems, diaries, photographs, motion pictures, interviews and more, to investigate human experience with and reaction to natural disaster. Drawing from 16 of the Library of Congress’s American Memory collections, students learn enough about a single natural disaster’s effect on the population to present a mock first-person account of the event as if they were a witness to it. Designed for grades 5 to 8.
Technology in America (PBS)-Timeline
From Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod to the Hubble Space Telescope, this timeline covers some of America’s technological innovations and inventions.
World’s Transportation Commission Photograph Collection
Contains nearly nine hundred images by American photographer William Henry Jackson. Library of Congress.