America in Class Lessons

Progressivism in the Factory

Author: Schramm, Richard R. (NHC Vice President for Education Programs, 1984–2016)

Advisor: Binford, Henry (NHC Fellow, 1990–91)

During the Progressive Era, from the 1890s through the 1920s, the idea of progress manifested itself in a variety of ways from cleaning up slums to eliminating government corruption to Americanizing immigrants to standardizing industrial practices. Such initiatives often sought to improve life by applying insights derived from the newly emerging social sciences—disciplines like sociology, psychology, economics, and statistics. Relying on extensive data gathering, professional expertise, and careful management, this scientific strand of Progressivism sought to bring rationality and efficiency to legislative chambers, factory floors, even household kitchens.

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Subjects: Sociology; History; Education Studies; American History; Progressivism; Social Sciences; Management; Factories