Influence of Progressives on Society and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels

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From the 1890s to the 1920s, America experienced a time called Progressivism. During this era, a group of reformers called the Progressives wanted to improve and industrialize the economy for the better. Progressives were against many factors in everyday life. These factors included monopolies, corruption, inefficiency, and social injustice. Their battle cry was to strengthen the city and make society better. Because the economy was advancing, immigrants from all over the world decided to come to America and make a living. These immigrants wanted freedom and immigration during this time was ideal because of industrialization and the decrease in agriculture. In addition, it was more normal for women to work during this time. Gender roles changed greatly and now women were allowed to work for wages. Working women became a symbol of freedom for all women. And thanks to people like Henry Ford, workers got paid more than usual. Ford paid everyone $5 a day so that his workers would be able to afford his cars. As a result of everyone getting equal pay, the ‘American way of life’ had a positive impact on everyone. As more people demanded goods, workers joined labor unions and fought for higher pay.

Reformers during this time attempted to tackle the power of the federal government to eliminate unfair business practices, as well as reducing corruption. Politics during the Progressive era were changed in many ways. The Progressives believed that in order for America to prosper, the political rules must change. Therefore, states and governments began to take control during this era. Democracy was called for by the people. Those who wanted to strengthen democracy did it by putting the power of the politics back to the citizens for their benefit. This would create peace in the divided classes. The major theme of a progressive society was efficiency and good management. In other words, a ‘master’ was needed to solve the problems in society. Therefore, in order to solve those problems, two goals were made where government power had to control the trusts. The other goal was to stem the rise of socialism by improving a lot of the classes.

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Progressive reformers at this time were praised by the lower class and immigrants. What was special about these reformers was that a majority of them were women. And by reforming, they stood up for the democratic side of progress. These ‘new women’ were educated, were part of the middle class, and wanted to do some good in their society. Some famous reformers were Jane Addams and Ida Tarbell. Jane Adams was the founder of the Hull House in Chicago. This house was to help immigrants get used to the American way of life. Similarly, was Ida Tarbell. She was a ‘muckraker’, who exposed the corrupt business practices of the oil company. Therefore, after that conflict, President Wilson and Roosevelt decided to enlarge the power of the federal government to establish regulations on private businesses and companies. Also, they added more protections for the workers, consumers, and the environment.

Furthermore, the Progressives were able to positively impact city management as well as education. Despite, the progressives wanting to have more interferent in local affairs, they mostly focused on reforming the state government to create better ways to arrange services as cities get more populated. As a result, the ‘municipal admin’ was created in order to effectively manage legal processes and contracts in businesses. In addition, was education. One progressive reformer named John Dewey argued that education was very important. And if the public weren’t educated, then democracy wouldn’t be successful. Therefore, he made sure that education would be expanded and advocated to be improved at all levels. In 1917, two outcomes were made in the U.S. constitution. These were the 18th Amendment and the 19th Amendment which were important during the Progressive Era. The 18th outlawed the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, while the 19th gave women the right to vote.

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Influence of Progressives on Society and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
“Influence of Progressives on Society and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
Influence of Progressives on Society and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2024].
Influence of Progressives on Society and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from:

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