Progressivism

Topics: Progressive Era, Progressivism, Progressivism in the United States Pages: 5 (1817 words) Published: August 7, 2008
Progressivism was an era that desired movement toward reform; it was not single instance but based on a series of advancements. With a new urban-industrial American on deck came the socioeconomic challenges of every day life. At a basic level, it was a response to the political and cultural changes that plagued the nation, the challenges as side effect of an industrial society. Many people were involved in Progressivism, especially the middle class. Even the immigrant, slum dwellers, and hard laborers took some initiative in hopes to refine the system. Collectively, the people mobilized the series of actions that demanded and granted changes the society of the nation, creating an era that was recognized for the progressive movement that led to outcomes that changed the socioeconomic status of America. Major concerns engulfed the nation’s society, thus leading to the desire for reform. Some of the central issues included the spread of poverty, the exploitation of labor, monopolies, the breakdown of democratic government, and social injustice. Overall the problems promoted a rapid movement toward financial and industrial concentration and the people were simply a side affect. Most jobs were performed under hazardous conditions and for very little in wages. Wages were not even enough to support a family let alone feed their starving children. There was an absence of sick day, vacation time and certainly no benefits. Many workers were injured on the job and some even died as result, an example of the atrocities can be seen in many of the exposes by Lincoln Steffen, The Shame of Cites (1901) and Jane Adams encouraged that a workers level they demand better conditions (Democracy and Social Ethics [1902] and Twenty Years at the Hull House [1910]). From miners inhaling toxic substances causing respiratory disease (Granites Cutter Journal), to textile mills burring to the ground with no chance for escape due to locked doors as exemplified in the incident of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, children often labored for long days and at very young ages. Corporations also grew at an alarming rate, determining monopolies and this controlling the prices of the good produced from them. Clearly at prices in which the common man, usually defined as the unskilled worked who maintained a barely there income could not afford. The determination for financial gain by corporate leaders was at the expense of the middle class and rural labors. The abuse of political power was on the rise and resulted in fraudulent elections and bribery created by party loyalties. There was also little government support for those drowning in poverty, slums were in abundance and social morale was at an all time low. The only ones who seems to be afloat the poverty line and enjoying their lives were the corporate and scandalous political leaders who turned a blind eye to the reality of the society and the ruins it laid in Since many Americans were worried that the economics in conjunction with political power would distract from the historic traditions of responsible democratic government and free industrial opportunity they began to form what we know today as the progressives. The progressives included much of the middle class which consisted of business men, teachers, lawyers, social workers, and people of religion. Often times new, middle class professionals suggested that the application of the professions would aid reforming the problems noted in society. Muckraking journalists were also known as progressives. The journalist sought to attack and sensationalize corruption and scandal with a sense of moral outrage. Also involved with the progressive movement were groups of frustrated workers who longed to stamp out capitalism. In addition, women too played an integral role in the successes of the Progressive Era as well. They pursued voting rights for woman and social welfare (playgrounds, nurseries to the slums, and banning of unsafe food...
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