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Progressive Reform Essay

By abmartinez Dec 05, 2013 802 Words

The Progressive Reform Movement !
The modern America that society enjoys today pays homage to the reforms of the progressive era. Numerous positive changes occurred during this time through the efforts of progressive reformers, however, the most important social, economic, and political reforms were as followed: finalizing the right's of women to vote, improvement in products, and the governments new way of regulating growing businesses and outlooks on government. Among those who benefited from the reforms were middleclass white women, consumers, and local, state, and national politics. Collaboratively, this era represented a time of improvement in American society by working toward achieving the long-term goal of equality and promising growth. ! Although women had been fighting for their rights for nearly half a century by this era, a rise in the efforts from larger more powerful groups presented itself once again before the government granting women the right to vote. “A new generation of women’s rights leaders came together in the suffrage movement.” 1 This reform had every  

intention of creating a more humanitarian society for the growing nation. It also brought on many changes for society. It “inspired American activists to develop new tactics and


Jacqueline Jones et al., Created Equal: a History of the United States, Fourth ed. (publication place: Pearson, 2013), 467.!

international alliances.” 2 Several states followed and favored women to obtain their  

right to vote. This impacted the government and it’s people in many ways and in return “united around the goal of enacting a federal amendment,” 3 that we know today as the  

19th amendment. Along with women’s voting right’s came more dependence for women and the beginning of a new woman in society. !
Despite efforts from social reformers such as Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, few advances were made on improving living and working conditions for citizens instead, his efforts affected the economic reforms of the era. Although his publication aimed to obtain these luxuries we experience in the modern workplace, what he got in return fell short of his expectations. Instead, the government focused on the quality of products consumers were purchasing in order to assure the consumers were satisfied with the product. Sinclair’s expose was a “brutal exploitation of immigrant workers in the meat packing plants,” 4 that created a doubt in societies faith in purchasing of quality  

products. His publications excited and enraged consumers and The Pure Food & Drug Acts & Meat Inspection act soon followed the publication. These reforms “satisfied consumers and industry leaders, but left Sinclair’s primary concern - working conditions in the plants - largely unchanged.” 5 Working conditions remained the same but changes  

in products had an impact on the consumers and sales, which benefited businesses. These reforms also, “prohibited adulterer or fraudulently labeled food and drugs from


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interstate commerce.” 6 With these reforms, the government “would provide a seal of  

approval to reassure citizens who would purchase their products, so they could reap the rewards of the free enterprise system.” 7 These along with other successful reforms  

improved goods and business for the economy. !
The progressive era also gave rise the historical changes in politics. Theodore Roosevelt utilized his presidency to “regulate big business, intervene in labor disputes, control the issues of the natural environment and extend the reach of the nation across the world.” 8 His successor, William Howard Taft, also supported and helped execute  

the vision that Roosevelt had envisioned. “Roosevelt hoped to strengthen the federal government at home, develop the nation’s military and commercial might and extend American power abroad.” 9 Out nation became a major force to allies due to the  

credibility developed through these political reforms. Countries looked to the U.S. for support and trusted us to fight even if the battle didn’t involve Americans. The Bull Moosers, supporters of Roosevelt, withdrew from the Republican party and formed the progressive party. “Their reformist platform called for extensive controls on corporation, minimum wage laws, child labor laws, a graduated income tax, and women’s suffrage.” 10


These reform efforts affected many by creating political advancement and leadership

that would help shape the modern presidency as we know it. !


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Jones, 456

The 1930’s marked the end of the progressive era. The historical era gave rise to many break through reforms that benefited and shaped the government, society, and economy we experience today. Without the efforts from progressive reformers and labor activists, the equality and luxuries of the decades to follow would cease to exist. A stronger government the people believed in and supported, movement in the direction of social equality, and developing economy were the most important reform efforts and successes of the time. After researching this era, a great deal of appreciation should be applied to the progressive reformers and activists, wouldn’t you say so? ! !

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