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Critical Analysis of Changes within the Progressive Era

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The beginning of the twentieth century was a time of great social change and economic growth in the United States. The Progressive Era was a time in which Americans were innovating in social welfare. The Progressive Era had major reform and change in the United States which began from 1890 to 1920. Progressivism was a group of different ideas concerning how to fix the problem that affected the American society. The major goals of the progressives were to promote the ideas of morality, economic reform, efficiency, and social welfare. The Progressives had many different methods and ideas on how to solve social problems. The Progressives in the Progressive Era were very successful in creating lasting changes for the American society.

To start, a Progressive is “a person who is interested in change and progress”. For example, you're a progressive thinker if you like to think up new ways of doing things and you’re open to change. You have a progressive attitude if you try to challenge current stereotypes like how someone is dressed. This word applies to lots of things that slowly increase or keep making progress. The Muckrakers were “a group of people that informed about wrongdoings in the face of society”. The most important Muckrakers were Upton Sinclair and Jacob Riis, which were writers who exposed the corrupt politicians and also pressured them into introducing new reforms. Some of the differences that the Progressive Era had was that they wanted the government to become more efficient by applying many basic principles of the scientific management methods. Many others wanted much more democracy in society. One man named Robert M. La Follette, the governor of Wisconsin, was one of the most influential politicians that wanted more democracy, and he also stated the requirement of political parties to hold a direct primary.

Another big movement during the Progressive Era was the women's suffrage movement which began to get the attention of many people during the early 1900's. “Women began protesting and also would go on long hunger strikes to be recognized by society”. Alice Paul, the leader of the National American Woman Suffrage (NAWSA), was one of the leaders of these types of protest. The senate finally took these women seriously by passing the 19th amendment on August 26, 1920, which guaranteed the ever wanted right to vote for women. Although the “cause of equal opportunity in the workplace was pushed back by the Progressive's argument that women were weaker than men”, women finally did get the right to vote. The fact that women were able to get the right to vote was huge for them because it meant that there could be more than one kind of opinion from only men. This shows why more women vote in elections than men currently, they want to be able to have a say in a voting matter.

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More movements that happened during the Progressive Era were the idea of social welfare. The people who agreed with this were “people who wanted to stop child labor and put major regulations on the big businesses”. A Temperance Act was also created during this time and many new laws were put into use to make sure that many of the social problems in the community were to be fixed. Women also helped enforce these laws after gaining their right to vote. It is good to see women enforcing these kinds of laws because it shows that women can have a say in the government like men do. Just because there are two different genders doesn't mean that one should be treated more equally than the other.

Theodore Roosevelt was a big leader in the progressive movement. Roosevelt moved through offices very quickly because of his fame as a war hero and then moved into presidency after the assassination of President Mckinley in 1901. Roosevelt was really known for breaking up company trusts like Northern securities, which was a railroad trust. Roosevelt was known as the trust-buster among the business owners. In 1902 “a coal strike began with the United Mine Workers, which left the people of America cooked and desperate for the heat”. Roosevelt had intervened for the best of the American people and created federal arbitration between unions and the cooked employers. The book 'The Jungle '' caused Roosevelt to push congress to pass many new reforms like the Meat Inspection Act, the Pure Food Act, Drug Act and they also created a new department of commission (ICC) and also the labor with a bureau of corporations that could investigate corporations. It’s great to see how some of the muckrakers were able to change how the conditions were and express their feelings during this time period just by writing a book. It shows that they really cared about other people and the conditions around them. Roosevelt also “conserved over 50 wildlife sanctuaries and parks that are still in use today”, he also set many new foreign acts. Roosevelt made the U.S the police of the Americas and made sure that no foreign countries would try to overrule or enforce any rules on any country of the Americas. Roosevelt also built the Panama Canal which made trade much easier to other countries and help the time travel. This was a good accomplishment because people were able to get their goods faster than ever before and they were able to transport more goods at one time. Faster transportation means more money for the businesses. These are some of the things made during the Progressive Era.

Lastly, Progressivism was a political philosophy that changed how the Progressive Era resulted. It was a reform movement that ran from the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th century, during which leading intellectuals and social reformers in the United States sought to address certain questions. These questions were economic, political, and cultural that had risen in the context of the rapid changes brought with the Industrial Revolution and the growth of modern capitalism in America. The Progressives believed that these “changes marked the end of the old order and required the creation of a new order appropriate for the new industrial age”. We end up seeing these changes later in history and it plays a huge role in how the later years ended up.

As noted, the Progressive Era was essential for reform throughout American. The Progressive Era improved upon living conditions, safer working conditions, social problems, corruption of government, and workers rights. Many great individuals reformed and cleaned up the American economy and society. Without the changes in the Progressive Era, many American's lives would not have improved. The changes and improvements throughout the Progressive Era could also be implemented today. These are the reasons as to why the Progressives were successful in creating lasting change in American society.

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Critical Analysis of Changes within the Progressive Era. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
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