Progressivism in the United States

Progressivism extended in American cities and faced political control over countries full of cruel business owners and tyrant leaders. Progressivism was exclusively based on the progression of public ownership of the government ran by city leaders and commissioners. People who believed in progressivism were called progressives. Progressives are professional, middle-class citizens who want to reform America. The progressives wanted to reduce dilemmas that were caused by immigration, urbanization, and tyrannical government actions. Progressives based their belief solely on the scientific method, and fact-checking all issues that were brought before them. In the area of social reform, the main predicaments that were put at the task were poverty, education, living conditions, and women’s rights. To help solve these problems, for example, settlement houses, created by people such as Jane Addams, provided social and educational opportunities for working-class people–many of them recent immigrants–in the surrounding neighborhood. Others attempted to improve living conditions by seeking legislation; in 1911, for example, the New York legislature commanded strict health and safety regulations on homes, thus providing a model for other cities and states. Finally, although as late as 1910, women could only vote in four western states, women’s dynamic role in progressive reform movements revitalized the suffrage cause.Similarly, in the area of economic reform, the progressive movement sought to regulate corporations and labor laws.

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At the time, industries were evil and had no direct intervention by the government. The government then created the Federal Trade Commission which investigated violations of federal regulations. Many businesses were buying each other out and causing cartels which in turn caused the government to transfer the Clayton Antitrust Act to help neutralize any unfair business monopolies. The workforce was another area that was in extreme need of reform. Many children at the time were forced into child labor to provide for their families and themselves. They worked long tiresome hours in dangerous conditions. Advocates spoke out about the working conditions, and the public began to pay attention. The government then passed child labor laws to prevent the overworking of children which in turn permitted them to receive education. After child labor laws were understood, legislatures sought to improve the work-day of the average worker. Many workers worked more than twelve hours every day, with no compensation. As such, President Teddy Roosevelt passed a new law that changed the workday to an eight-hour period as well as promoting safety and compensation with minimum wage laws.In the area of ethical reform, the progressive movement sought to decrease immorality and disorder. For example, reformers campaigned to regulate amusement parks, dance halls, movies, and the darkened nickelodeon’s, which they saw as detrimental. Likewise, unions across the U.S. formed to promote prohibition to improve lives for the better.

One of the most powerful unions was the WCTU or the Women’s Christian Temperance Union which heavily advocated prohibition. Building on the WCTU’s crusade, reformers also targeted prostitution and even managed to pass the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport a woman across a state line for immoral purposes.The last goal of Progressivism was to enhance efficiency, for example, using science and technology along with education and expertise to make things better and simpler. For example, Henry Ford used the assembly line which allowed quick production of cars and cheap prices so everyone could afford a car. Teddy Roosevelt supported the National Reclamation Act, which set up the Reclamation Service to assemble dams and fertilization projects for water management in dry western regions. And the passage of the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 made sure that any product found unfit for eating was not distributed. Similarly, the Pure Food and Drug Act required ingredient labels to be accurate and the sale of contaminated foods or drugs was prevented. Such national reforms encouraged city architects like Daniel Burham to produce such plans as the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which offered a vision of a city both more productive and beautiful.

By 1917, reformation had given way to war. Even so, the progressive movement had, by then, changed America’s political and social point of view. The progressive movement allowed new laws, organizations, and regulatory agencies to raise and address the consequences of urbanization, industrial expansion, and corporate growth, and while the progressive’s reforms didn’t always work as planned, their accomplishments, nevertheless, left a powerful legacy.

In fact, there are still progressive measures and movements today that try to make America a better place. For instance, in December 2010, both houses of the legislature abolished the American military’s anti-gay policy commonly known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This policy banned military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants while stopping openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. This policy was finally annulled after years of effort from gay rights activists and their Democratic allies. Similarly, since 2000, many states have allowed same-sex marriages to become legal, beginning in Vermont in 2000 and most recently in New York in 2011. While this movement is still ongoing, there are those that are seeking to pass regulations to allow gays to have the same rights as straight couples in other instances besides marriage. Lastly, the latest movement to reform healthcare in the United States became law on March 23, 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act concentrates on reforming the private health insurance market to provide better coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, developing prescription drug coverage in Medicare and elongating the life of the Medicare trust fund by at least 12 years.

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Progressivism in the United States. (2019, Jun 24). Retrieved December 7, 2022 , from
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