Between 1890 and 1915, progressive reforms swept the nation, with some leading to improvements for society. Although some of these reforms led to radical behavior, either for the reform or against it, most were civil. The areas of most concern for the reforms were industrial conditions, urban life, and politics.
Industrial conditions were atrocious during the early 1900’s. There were many difficult aspects to being a factory worker. The first was unfair wages. Workers could work eight-hour days and still receive barely a dollar a day. Along with unfair wages were the dangerous conditions. There were thousands of injuries and deaths each year because of the unsafe use of the machinery. Another problem was child labor. As soon as a child was able to work a certain part of a machine they were sent to work in factory where they could be easily harmed. In response to all of these horrible things labor unions were formed to try and create safer work places. For example, the National Labor Union was formed to unite all the other labor unions, push for an eight-hour workday, and also push for labor reforms. Other labor unions also sprang up, but many did not last long and faded away. Their attempts to better working conditions were somewhat successful, but did not create as much of an effect as was desired.
Another area of reform was urban living conditions. Cities were constantly growing due to the increasing availability of jobs. This led to a need of lots of housing, quickly. It was built cheaply and most areas in the city turned into tenements and slums where crime went unpunished. Many families were crammed into the small buildings, most of which were unsanitary. Thus, disease quickly spread. However, the industrial revolution the nation experienced around the early 1900’s led to improved city housing. This is because of the new technology that let richer people move farther out of the city and ride back in on the new automobiles and trolley systems. Since...
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