Major Events During the Progressive Era

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The first two decades of the 20th century was known as the Progressive Era. During the Progressive Era, many things happened. For example, Henry Ford created the Model T and made mass production easier with the creation of the assembly line. Also, there was a rise in women’s suffrage and feminism. Socialism has also reached its greatest effect in America during this time period. The Progressive Era was full of expansions of political and economic freedom.

In the Progressive Era, women were making more of a public appearance. Women began to work for wages. White native-born women worked in offices and as telephone operators. Foreign-born women worked lower paying jobs located in factories. When more women started earning their own money, they took notice into fashion and entertainment. They liked to spend their money on new clothing, makeup, and leisure activities like amusement parks, dance halls, and cinema theaters. Feminism grew extensively and started to enter more political conversations. This generation of women used the word ‘feminism’ for more freedom with there sexual and reproductive choices.

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The American Socialism influence was increased in the beginning of the Progressive Era. The Socialist Party believed that the United States should make reforms such as make college education free, Legislation should improve the working conditions, and there should be democratic control over the economy. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a union created for radical and socialist workers. This union represented mostly privileged American workers, skilled industrialists, and craft laborers. They consisted mostly of white, native-born men. Another union was then established, The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which was formed with the people who were excluded from the AFL. It was made of immigrant factory workers, women, African Americans, agricultural workers, and the Chinese immigrants in the West.

The economy grew due to the increased industrial production, the expansion of the consumer marketplace and the rise in population. A mass consumer society emerged from the large department stores, the neighborhood chain stores, and the retail mail-order houses. The consumer marketplace expanded because there was a broad display of goods and Americans also could buy their own time-saving machines like washing machines, electric sewing machines, and vacuum cleaners. The rise in population was due to mass immigrants moving to America and into the cities. Between the years 1901 and 1914, thirteen million immigrants moved into the United States. This increase in population helped the economy boom.

Immigrants were moving to America because America was known as ‘the land of the free’. They wanted to enjoy equality, economic opportunity, and to be liberated from their home country’s social hierarchy. Immigrants moved for economic opportunity, but worked long hours in dangerous environments for low wages. The wages were still higher than their home country wages but in America they were still low wages.

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Major Events During the Progressive Era. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“Major Events During the Progressive Era.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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