Progressive Era Dbq

Topics: Woodrow Wilson, History of the United States, Sherman Antitrust Act Pages: 4 (1487 words) Published: March 4, 2013
By the turn of the century, a reform movement had developed within an array of groups and individuals with a common desire to improve life in the industrial age. Their ideas and work became known as Progressivism or the belief that changes in society were badly needed and that government was the proper agency for correcting social and economic ills. Starting up around when Theodore Roosevelt became president and lasting though World War 1, America went through many changes. New reform organizations, laws, and amendments continually shaped this era for better or for worse. During the Progressive Era, many reformers were able to successfully create reform at a national level; however, the benefits of the federal government’s actions were more strongly felt economically and even politically rather than socially. Americans were beginning to believe it was their duty to start action in order to see change. This frame of mind had to do with the philosophy of pragmatism. John Dewey, one of the leading advocates, defined “truth” in a way that Progressives found appealing: good and the true cannot be known in the abstract and fixed ideals, people should take a practical approach to morals and knowledge. Progressive thinkers adopted this philosophy because it enabled them to challenge fixed notions that stood in the way of reform. However to act, citizens first must be informed. Muckrakers, a term coined by Roosevelt, were journalists who wrote to the middle class about corruption, greed and schemes in politics. Lloyd, a reporter, fully exposed the corruption of the monopoly, Standard Oil. With the public fully informed about these dominating companies, Roosevelt took action on a poorly written law, the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, and began Trust-Busting. Roosevelt decided which trusts were good and bad, and the ones who caused harm to the public and stifled competition were broken up, while the good trusts were regulated as seen in document A. He badly wanted to bust...
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