The public’s outcry for change prompted the Progressive Era presidents to take action toward radical reforms. These radical reforms addressed issues from trust busting to constitutional amendments. The Progressive reformers and the federal government improved social, economic, and political conditions in the United States.
Social changes came into effect once light was shed on the poor conditions that many minorities faced. Muckrakers, like Upton SinClair and W.E.B. Dubois, highlighted great injustices that led to government intervention. Upton SinClair’s “The Jungle” made government aware of awful meat packing conditions which prompted Roosevelt to push for the Meat Inspection Act (Document B). W.E.B. Dubois’s “The Crisis” inferred that progressive reform had failed to advance the civil rights of black Americans despite their service during World War I (Document I). One of the many great reforms of the era, the 19th amendment, assured women’s suffrage. Even though women reforms tried so vehemently to gain this support from President Wilson many eligible women did not take advantage of their new freedom (Document H). In fact, it was found that the number of female voters declined during presidential elections from 1900-1920 (Document J).
Due to the vicious bind on the economy that the monopolistic enterprises had, progressive reformers took aim to break their power. President Teddy Roosevelt, the presidential spear header of the progressive era, began by being the first president to successfully invoke the Sherman Antitrust Act against monopolies. Roosevelt worked to break up “bad” trusts but firmly believed in allowing “good” trusts to continue with some restraints.(Document A) President Wilson also sought to improve the economy by creating a centralized bank system under public control. The Bank system the Federal Reserve would be able to stabilize the economy in times of panic.
Progressives also sought...