Throughout history the United States went through many periods of “purifying” the country. The Progressive Era was a period in American History when people took control and fixed some of the country’s problems. The Progressive Era was a time of social activism and political reform. This era which thrived from the 1890’s to the 1920’s had numerous effects in three specific areas; Industrial monopolies, temperance, and women’s suffrage.
At the beginning of the Progressive Era the country was full of corrupt big businesses, but by the end of the Era the percentage of corrupt big businesses drastically decreased. Reformers at the time said the large business were unfair and sought to only monopolize and make money at the cost of harsh business practices. These big business later became known as monopolies. Many people fought the monopolies like Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. Theodore Roosevelt nicknamed the “trust-buster,” attacked bad monopolies that hurt consumers, worked fair compromises in labor issues by not taking sides, and he moved to protect consumers from tainted meat and falsely labeled products. The most famous compromise he made was the Square Deal which took control of corporations, provided consumer protection, and conserved natural resources. Following Roosevelt, William Howard Taft only expanded the attack on monopolies. One of Taft’s more significant pieces of legislation to be passed was the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910, empowering the Interstate Commerce Commission to suspend railroad rate hikes and to set rates. This act made the monopolies lose money. Lastly Woodrow Wilson followed Taft and worked to transform the country. He attacked the “triple wall of privilege” including banks, tariffs, and monopolies. Wilson most notably act was the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 which restricted monopolies and set up a Federal Trade Commission to stop unfair practices which potentially could...
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