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Civil Rights and Progressive Reforms during The Progressive Era: Analytical Essay

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The Progressive Era

The 'Progressive Era' was a period of vast social advocacy and political reform across the United States from the 1890s to the 1920s. The Progressive Era started as a social movement that developed into a political movement providing four amendments that changed women’s and minorities’ lives. 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. They gradually formed society as a democratic world. Activist also believed women should have the right to vote, corruption should be corrected, and Americans should directly vote for senators. This was the era where the 16th, 17th, 18, and 18, the amendment was passed.

The 16th amendment was the creation of direct income tax. This meant the federal government gathered all Americans’ income tax. The 17th amendment gave voters the power to elect senators directly. The 18th amendment was the banning of alcohol in 1919. It was not effective and was later appealed after 13 years. The 19th amendment gave women the opportunity to vote. The law stated that no vote could be denied because of sex. 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. 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. Throughout history and the way people operated, the Industrial Revolution became a major turning point. All things have changed and needed their professions, living situations, places, principles, and daily routines. The progressive movement had limited time and effort to help improve the lives of African Americans and other minorities, most of which benefited white democrats.

“Social Darwinism” is a group of people who are openly racist and against immigration. They believe in a society with laws of natural selection as plants and animals. The theory was against women, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, Jews, Catholics, and African Americans. In the 19th century, this theory was used to eradicate political topics, militarism, and racial conflicts. Herbert Spencer and many others have promoted political conservatism, colonialism, and discrimination, as well as the prohibition of change and reform. People like Jane Adams, Jacob Riis, Ida Tarbell were advocates of the Progression Era and spoke up against Social Darwinism.

“Great Railroad Strike of 1877” was a major strike against the working conditions and wages of the railroad companies. On July 14, the wages were cut for the third time resulting in workers striking. Local militants and federal troops intervened due to the economic pressures of the Great Depression and killed over 100 workers. There were over 100,000 workers in support of the strike making a dramatic impact on economics and the industrial revolution. It is known as “the most violent labor-management confrontation” in history.

The 'Dawes Act of 1887' was the subdivision of Native Americans reserve land holdings into allocations for Native Americans that was ahead of families and individuals. This transfer was reserved land tenure systems to government-imposed private ownership systems by ordering Native Americans to 'assume a capitalist and proprietary relationship with property' that was not pre-existing. This Act was introduced by Henry Dawes, who wanted to break up land settlements from the past with Native Americans and take their reservations, and minimized the land. The “Five Civilized Tribes” were exempted from the Dawes Act and signed the Dawes Commission. The plan was to disassemble the tribes and take over the Native Americans’ land.

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“Homestead Acts” are laws in the United States that gave the government ownership of property or public lands. This provided any citizen, or a citizen who wasn’t born in the United States, could apply and claim the land. Declared by President Lincon, in 1862 theses laws enhanced western immigration by giving the people 160 acres of public land. In return, the settlers paid a fee for 5 years before getting ownership of the land provided. The citizens were required to better the land by building and cultivating the land.

“Jim Crow Era” were local laws that enforced racial segregation, especially in the Southern States. In the 19th century prohibited African Americans from having certain rights legally. These laws meant African Americans weren’t allowed to use public restrooms, live in white neighborhoods, use public pools, hospitals, jails, and more. African Americans had to use their own public items that were labeled “colored or “negro”. These laws violated the 13th through the 15th amendment and were argued as a “badge of servitude”.

“Chain Migration” was the social process of immigrants from a certain city have someone follow them to the same destination or somewhere in the country. Immigrants would write their families from the United States which was a factor in the chain migration. The cause for chain migration where families would move to the United States and send money to their families to buy land. When the families saw the successes of the move the family decided to migrate too. They also built their own communities, started their own businesses, and

The “Open Door Policy” was a policy in the 19th century that allowed a system in trade with China open to all countries equally. Created by the United States Secretary of state in 1899, the open door policy was used to give European powers and other countries to have equal access to China’s trade. John Hay was the founder of this policy that lasted until 1949 when China’s Civil War ended. This was in support of Chinese territorial and administrative integrity. It was put in place to maintain Chinese independence and American trading rights in China.

The “Roosevelt Corollary” was used to keep others out of power and secure financial solvency. In 1904, President Roosevelt made a drastic change in American Foreign policy. The Corollary gave a right to intervene to “stabilize” economic affairs in smaller states in the islands such as the Caribbean and Central America because they could not pay back their debt from other countries. President Theodore Roosevelt justified “American intervention” throughout the western hemisphere. He issued this policy to Monroe Doctrine to ensure the protection of the Panama Canal from interest from European involvement.

The “Atlanta Compromise” was an agreement between Booker T. Washington and Southern White leaders. The agreement was the African Americans from the south would work and surrender to the white political rule. In return, they would receive education a process in law. African Americans were not looking for justice but they were looking for funding for their education. The northern whites eventually funded the African Americans’ “educational charities”.

The “Jungle” was a novel by Upton Sinclair that explained the harsh working environment of industries and how these workers were exploited. In larger cities such as Chicago was the reason for the industrial revolution because of certain industries. He compared the working environments and wages to slavery due to the critical conditions and low pay to the workers. It shows the horrors of capitalism that the United States allowed. It tells a story over how inhumane and brutal the industrial revolution workplace was.

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Civil Rights and Progressive Reforms during The Progressive Era: Analytical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from
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