Progressive Era

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During the period of 1900 to 1920, Progressive Era reformers and the federal government were only able to get partial reform at the national level. Both helped with such reforms as to limit the control of trusts, enact child labor laws, improve sanitation, and give voting rights to women. Though, these changes were not as effective as they may seem, since corporations and individuals often neglected them, making them of no useful value. What is known as the time of progress was hardly of any benefit to African-Americans, who still were harshly mistreated and discriminated against in many situations. Thus, although changes were made, most were often conservative and had little effect on the actual improvement of society.

Progressive Era reformers and the federal government both worked to limit the power of corporations and trusts, although little improvement was truly made. When Theodore Roosevelt became president he sympathized with workers, unlike the other leaders of the past who usually helped corporations. During this time the Federal Trade Commission was also established, which helped to limit the power of trusts. As illustrated in Document A, Roosevelt is hunting down the “bad trusts,” while putting a leash on the “good trusts” as a means of regulating them. Then in 1914, the Clayton Antitrust Act was put into place that stated, “nothing contained

in the antitrust laws shall be construed to forbid the existence and operation of labor organizations” (Document E). For the first time, the government was helping the workers, and not just siding with the employers. Matters seemed to change though in September 1919, when 350,000 steelworkers in various eastern and midwestern cities left their job to strike against bad working conditions. They wanted to have an eight-hour workday and acknowledgment of their union. The strike was, “long, bitter, and violent –most of the violence coming from the...
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