Analysis of the Role of Industrialization and Progressive Era in the History of America

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Between the years of 1877 and 1900 became some of the most momentous and dynamic moves in American history took place making technology and social reform platforms in hopes to make an American socially and economically advanced for all who sought a better life and freedom. Immigrants were leaving their home countries looking for work, better opportunities, and to live freely in the new formation of the United States. Firstly, the Industrial Revolution featured the construction of machines, systems, and factories that allowed goods to be manufactured at a faster rate at a lower cost. Secondly, there was a great social and economic divide between the wealthy owners and the poor workers, which gave rise to the mass’s vulnerability to the advent of extreme socialism.

During this era, thousands of immigrants migrated to America in hopes of escaping Britain to avoid constrictions on becoming open to new trades as well as other trading opportunities. In the late 19th century, with the help of France and breakaway from Britain formed was America becoming the United States of America. The railroads made it easier to travel across the country. The government provided millions of acres of land for the building of the railroads for free. Railroad construction drove economic development that created new means of production and system of labor. Immigrants took the opportunity to work on the railroads for years to make a good pay and provide for their families in the country and from their home countries. Then technology advanced and manufactured machines to build these railroads which caused many workers to lose their jobs. Industrial capitalism was the main reason for immigrants moving to America. The immigrants and their children made up sixty percent of most northern cities. These families moved into ethnic neighborhoods and started their communities to keep their culture and traditions alive. They would write to their families from their home country and suggest they move into America also. This started many chain migrations in northern urban cities. Many Italians and Eastern Europe only planned to work until they could save enough money to purchase land or make a better life for their families and themselves back in their home country.

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The Progressive Era was a period of broad social advocacy and political reform across the United States, spanning the 1890s to the 1920s. The Progressive Era started as a social movement that developed into a political movement proving opportunities to slaves who were promised their freedom after being told enlisting in the armed forces would guarantee their freedom. The Progressive Era introduced constitutional change to government and corporations and increased political power to many Americans. The activist of the Progressive Era worked to make society a better place. Activist also believed women should have the right to vote, African Americans should be treated equally to their white counterparts and Jim Crow laws should be abolished. Several election reforms such as the recall, referendum, and direct election of Senators, and businesses would be held accountable by activist if they were corrupt towards eradicating the suppression of blacks establishing their freedom. They gradually formed society as a democratic world. These advantages were restricted to white Americans; African Americans and other people of color continue to experience racism and oppression. Social progressives, like Jane Addams, and reporters, like Jacob Riis and Ida Tarbell, were powerful voices for progressiveness. The advocates of the Progressive Era gained a powerful voice when former President Theodore Roosevelt was in office in 1901. He demonstrated a willingness of the United States to perform in the internal affairs of Western Hemisphere countries to avoid 'chronic wrongdoing.' He also thought that monopolistic tendencies had to be monitored to guarantee that corporate greed did not get out of control. They exposed the evils of corrupt corporations, fought for immigrants, and brought political consciousness.

State legislatures enacted restrictive legislation that made voter registration and election rules more complex for African Americans. As literacy tests and other limitations could be implemented subjectively, the majority of blacks voted strongly as a result of these modifications. These discriminatory procedures were not prohibited until the 1950s and later. Racism pervaded the majority of the progressive reform attempts, as demonstrated by the suffrage movement. Women who campaigned for a vote on behalf of women's suffrage, that it was a needed reform to counter the impact of 'corrupted' or 'ignorant' black electors on the poll booth. Civil rights and progressive reforms were mostly discriminatory schemes that had a little true impact on each other in the early twentieth century. The Progressive Era was defined by vague, multi-faceted, and ambiguous objectives that hindered reformers' attempts and often pitted political leaders against each other, most dramatically in the Republican Party. For instance, domestic progressive politicians such as Roosevelt appealed for enhanced federal regulation to facilitate big business activities, while others, such as Wilson, pledged to legislate for fair competition. Significant advances in social, economic justice, and reform have been produced on a case-by-case basis, with little national attempt to coordinate reformers on a broad platform of problems. The Industrial Revolution became a major turning point in history and in the way people lived. Their careers, living situations, location, values, and daily routines all changed, and they needed it desperately. The progressive movement had limited time and effort spent on helping improve the lives of African Americans and other minorities, the movement benefited the white democrats most of all.

When I think of an industrialized American I tend to think of transitions between machinery and transportation however the most vital component I have found was the unkempt promise of a “better life” to immigrants in search of wealth and opportunity.

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Analysis of the Role of Industrialization and Progressive Era in the History of America. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
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