The progressive reforms during the period 1890-1915 in the areas of urban life and politics were mixed successes, with some reforms working well and others not, but were overall largely successful. In urban life, the progressives worked hard to improve the conditions for all, to better the cities themselves. In politics, the progressives (who had felt as though their needs were not being represented) attempted to make the system less corrupt and more fair and equal for all. The less successful reforms in both areas, however, often times caused more problems than they fixed.
Perhaps the Progressive's most successful reforms were in politics, due to their own overriding concern for the system and its relationship with the Progressives themselves. The Progressives wanted a say in the election of the Senate, a position they had no power over. This urge was partially inspired by the fear of political machines an dpartially by the desire to choose all of their representatives in Congress, not simply those who spoke in the House. Because of this, the Progressives pushed for the direct election of Senators, which allowed citizens more say in the government by choosing the man or woman that represented them.
Another successful political move by the Progressives was the institution of city commissions - where only a part of the five seats were elected and the others appointed so as to stem the power of political machines. The creation of the commissions was largely an accident that resulted from the chaos in Galveston after a hurricane decimated the island there. However, the commission largely worked. Progressive thinking in Politics is perhaps best exemplified by LaFollete in Wisconsin, creator of the Wisconsin Idea. He called upon professors at the University to help him decide what reforms were needed. This idea of educated experts helping and advising the government, a very Progressive idea, probed to be very successful, as shown by the success of the Wisconsin Idea...
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