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Success of Reformers and the Federal Government during The Progressive Era: Argumentative Essay

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The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, drew out new views relating to equality and liberty in an effort to achieve justice for their society and freedoms. In establishing equality among the citizens of the United States of America by extending the right to vote, it’s progressive message soon came to protect the national government’s duty to defend its citizens by providing the appropriate resources and beneficial force required in order to create a safe life for each citizen. The Industrial Revolution continued through until the mid-1800s in which it was entangled in a decrease of manual labor such as the cottage industry and a fluctuation of more industry based work done in factories which increased productivity and led to economic growth in the United States. This time period saw the opening of the First Transcontinental Railroad which allowed for expansion into the west that displayed the progressive actions being taken that lead into the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age flowed from the aftermath of the American Civil War with more immigrants from Europe being drawn in by the multiple job opportunities America could provide. It promoted gradual growth with new industrial products being made everyday, a greater common standard of living, outrageous growth of cities, and imperialism but it also experienced severe economic concerns due to political figures being corrupt and useless to the greater good of citizens. To a more significant degree, the Progressive Era reformers and federal government were not successful in conducting reform at the national level in that it only generally benefited the average white male American while the minority was grasped into the Jim Crow era which perceived discrimination and segregation against African Americans. However, to a more minor degree, the Progressive Era reformers and the federal government were undeniably successful in prompting the increase of political potential that many American citizens received and mostly removed political corruption in the government.

The Progressive Era reformers and the federal government proved to be unsuccessful in drawing out reform in the United States as its benefits only went to white American men and only addressed problems whenever damage truly ensued. In Document 4, Herbert Croly had released a magazine article addressing how the United States needed to be able to balance large businesses rather than just getting rid of them all together. Croly’s article provides identification of continuity as it is now addressing problems that have yet to be addressed but will make a dramatic change for the future. Document 5 of Alice Paul, a suffragette, holding a banner to silently protest against President Woodrow Wilson of behalf of women’s rights. This was not the first time that women had protested for rights and would not be the last time they did either showing the issues they fought for were continuations of previous ones. The audience of this banner was directed towards suffragists, anti-suffragists, and most importantly President Wilson as the suffragettes picketed on the White House grounds in order to provoke the government further and using Wilson’s own speeches against him as he promised freedom to everyone but neglected the women. One person who would have agreed with the statement these women were trying to make would have been Susan B. Anthony, the leader of women’s suffrage groups, who advocated on behalf of women's voting rights and founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Document 6 is a Supreme Court case regarding Congress’s decision to allow states to determine the child labor laws as it was considered unconstitutional for the Congress to make universal rules for every single factory and workplace with child laborers in every single state. This document shows the continuation of what laborers protested against as now any state could decide the work hours and if children could work depending on the economy of that state which could be considered an advantage for the workers of states who are economically thriving but also immoral to those in states who were failing. Document 7 is an excerpt from a portion of a magazine called The Crisis by W.E.B. DuBoid, an African American activist, in which he addresses his hope that African Americans involvement in war on behalf of America would help to end racism. The authors point of view reveals to have a significant role as he himself, an African American who had experienced inequality his whole life, was the main delegate for African Americans who spoke against racism and fought for African Americans civil rights This document proves the continuation of racism and lack of American help for freedom as DuBois tells African Americans to keep fighting for equality even though the problem of inequality has been addressed many times before, America still chooses to do nothing even when African Americans have chosen to help them. Although Progressive Era did promote reforms, the goals were too loose and limited to provide serious change, and inequality among genders as well as race continued even with the problems being addressed previously.

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Despite the fact that Progressive Era reformers and the federal government were generally unsuccessful, they also proved to be successful in that it was able to give citizens more of a political voice and assist in removing corruption in businesses. This is seen in Document 1 as the Washington Post has released a cartoon showing Theodore Roosevelt as the hero that has equipped the anti-monopoly policies in order to oppose monopolies and trusts to improve the welfare of citizens. The actions of Roosevelt commit this documents claim to be counterintuitive as he was showed to be “killing” off the bad trusts but in return, he also scared the good trusts into reform. Roosevelt also really only worked to benefit the white American citizens and not the minorities, so to call him a hero to all is hardly the case as he described the minority as a burden to whites with his “job” being to save the perfect society. Nonetheless, this document does grant the audience to see the transformation Roosevelt brought as he destroyed bad trusts full of corruption but he also gained control of the good trusts who posed no threat to society at that time. Document 2 continues to express the ideas of reform through a report that is explaining the horrendous conditions of meat industries to influence the reader to push for greater rectification of places such as these. The purpose of this document is important as it is giving audiences a legitimate and truthful insight into the conditions that food is being prepared in, resulting in citizens demanding reform. Document 3 conducts more evidence to the Progressive Era’s success in reforms as it delineates women arguing for more than their rights but are now pushing for the reform of education. This shows improvement as she encourages change and explains how through education, the American society could be a successful, working whole. The point of view for this document extends the evidence further as it is exhibiting one of many female reformers, Jane Addams who was well educated from a young age and showed that women are just as equal to men with the right form of education. The accomplishments of Jane Addams such as her creation of the Hull House which provided new European immigrants with housing proved that there were more favorable outcomes of the Progressive Era. Through the coverage of social reforms such as education and working conditions, the Progressive Era can be considered, to a smaller degree, successful although some reformers were not all around reformers.

The Progressive Era had seen the addresment of old and new issues, some resolved but many remained untouched. Admittingly, this era did provide some change such as the success in creating more political potential for some American citizens while also removing the corruptions brought on by trusts and monopolies. However, there were just too many economic and social issues such as inequality among citizens and the lack of an actual plan for set reforms that the Progressive Era should have improved upon from prior years but did not and continued through the years with little to no reform evident. The Progressive Era, 1890-1914, did not fulfill the kind of reforms and changes that it had originally claimed to do, therefor deeming the Progressive Era more unsuccessful than successful in bringing about reform at the national level.

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Success of Reformers and the Federal Government during The Progressive Era: Argumentative Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
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