Ironies of the Progressive Era

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Carla Hernandez
History 101


Industrialization, Immigration and Urban expansion were some elements that characterized the growth of the US. Moreover, great businesses were developed, and also cities. Many Americans were concerned about their future and how their lives where heading. This is when the movement known as progressivism was born. The progressive era improved the citizens’ quality of life and most of all helped the people to become more democratic. This was made possible when the government placed several constitutional reforms. The 16th amendment permitted the congress to introduce and income tax. The 17th amendment gave the people the power to elect senators who had been previously assigned by the legislatures of their states. The 18th amendment prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages. Everything was well planned and ready to put into action. In many cases, the progressives where successful but not all of these victories brought what they expected. An inconsistency of the progressive era is that many workers still worked in really bad conditions for terrible pay and some people at the top got overly wealthy. Progressivism was supposed to be about improving people quality of life. But it seemed to have benefitted some more than others.

Something curious that I realized while doing this assignment is that nowadays we actually are following some of these rules. Each year we all file our income tax forms. We are banned of drinking on the beach and allowed to smoke only on several areas. This is related to the 18th amendment back in the day. Furthermore, the government uses taxation to run the economy of our country. In conclusion an inconsistency about the progressive era I believe is that in fact many people were benefitted with this reform but also many others were still struggling with salary and discrimination. I deducted that progressivism was about improving people life and to be...
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