The Progressive Era in America is usually defined as the first two decades of the 1900’s when economic changes brought millions of people to cities, creating many changes and problems in society. This era has had an impact on our culture today in many ways, including the growth of consumerism, the rise of women’s rights, and the relationship between the people and the government. Job opportunities during this period caused many immigrants and people from rural areas to move to cities. However, many of these jobs did not pay well, which resulted in bad living conditions and the formation of ghettos. Many Americans thought that only the government had the resources to be able to improve these miserable conditions, such as installing water and sewer systems or passing laws to protect them.
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Moving to cities eroded small town values and made people, especially women, more independent. This newfound independence, however, clashed with the cultural perception of the time that women were fragile. Moving to cities also created a new consumerism, since more people had discretionary income and created a demand for consumer products such as automobiles. Although consumerism raised America’s standard of living, it also made debt commonplace in urban society. There was a difference of opinion between reformers on how to handle problems in this era, causing both more democratic and oppressive measures like allowing women to vote, but not African-American women.
My parents think the impact on our culture today is that the government plays a bigger role in solving economic and social problems, that women’s rights have expanded, and that consumerism is an important part of America’s culture. There is still a debate raging on whether the private sector or the government is better suited for solving our problems. The government has been very involved in trying to make things better with funding improvements in cities and protecting people by passing legislation. We have also come a long way in women’s rights, but there is still an inequality that people are trying to address. The rise of the Me too movement is one current example where women are fighting to get rid of sexual harassment in the workplace and get equal pay for equal work. Consumerism is an important part of American culture today, where trends in fashion, the latest it thing to have, like an iPhone, and other latest consumer products causes Americans to spend money more than they save it. In summary, the Progressive Era brought many important changes to American society, and its effects are still being felt even today, such as the role of the government, women’s rights, and the importance of consumerism.
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Impact of the Progressive Era on Our Culture Today. (2019, Jun 24).
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