The Progressive Era Began as a Social Movement Grew Into a Political Movement

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The early progressives rejected Social Darwinism, the survival of the fittest. The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, from the 1890s to 1920s. The main objective of the Progressive movement was eliminating corruption in government. The movement primarily targeted political machines and their bosses. They took down corrupt representatives in office and also sought regulation of monopolies and corporations through antitrust laws.

The antitrust laws were seen as a way to promote equal competition for the advantage of legitimate competitors. There were many progressives that supported prohibition in the U.S. because they wanted to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons. There were many issues during the movement which brought constitutional change. Some causes of the progressive era consisted of: Urbanization in America, Rise of big businesses or corporations, U.S. labor unions, U.S. immigration laws, Industrialization in America, Women’s suffrage, Black populism, and Social Darwinism.

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Woman suffrage

Woman suffrage began in the 1900’s, when a woman’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. The meeting was not the first in support of women’s rights but suffragist’s, later viewers it as ‘the meeting that launched the suffrage movement’.

The woman suffrage supporters worked to educate the public about the validity of woman suffrage. Overtime woman begin to realize that in order to achieve reform, they needed to win the right to vote for those reasons following at the turn-of-the-century the woman suffrage movement began a mass movement. In the 20th century leadership of the suffrage was passed to do organizations.

The first was the national American woman suffrage (NAWSA), under the leadership of Carrie Chapman chat which was a moderate organization. The second group was the National Woman’s Party known as the (NWP) which was under the leadership of Alice Paul and it was more of a militant organization.

It took radical actions including picketing the White House, in order to convince Wilson and the Congress to pass the woman’s suffrage amendment. The 19th amendment, enfranchising women was finally ratified due to the combined efforts of the NAWSA and the NWP.

Right to vote

During the 1800s and early 1900s woman and women’s organizations began to work and gain the right to vote. They also worked for a broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms. During the 1800s and 1910 woman organizations began to work and gain the right to vote.

The number of employed women in the United States increased from 2.6 million to 1,000,000 during this time. Women began to be employed in businesses and industries. The majority of better paying position to continued to be given to men. Men got paid more than what woman got paid even if the woman did more work.

In 1896, women began to gain the right to vote in four states such as Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah. Women organizations worked on behalf of many social reform issues not only the right to vote. During the beginning of the new century woman’s club and towns and cities across the nation were working to promote suffrage, better education, regulate child labor, woman in unions, and liquor prohibition.

Significant achievements of the Progressive Era

Some significant achievements during this era were: The 1887 Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), an early example of Progressive Reforms and other helpful laws followed, Antitrust legislation was passed to prohibit monopolies, Big Business and corporations were regulated as the process of arbitration was included in the negotiation process, The Unionization of all the important industries, The commission system of local government, replacing the mayor, city council and political machine was introduced, The crusading muckrakers raised awareness of social issues which led to the formation of pressure groups and reform, The federal government started to act as mediators between opposing sides, The number of hours that children were allowed work were limited, and education improved, Laws were passed to protect the environment and address pollution, The 17th amendment to the Constitution was ratified to counter Senate corruption, The 18th Amendment was passed prohibiting the sale and manufacture of alcohol, The 19th Amendment was passed that gave women the right to vote.

Brown v. Board

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was the court case which eliminated Separate but Equal. This all began when Linda Brown wanted to attend a white school to have a better education, but this was not made possible because of separate but equal. Separate but Equal was the belief that blacks and whites could be together but not use the same classrooms, bathrooms, restaurants, or even water fountains, same as segregation.

Linda’s parents wanted for her to get a better education and that mean to attend a predominately white school where resources were vast and more accessible. When she attempted to go into this institution she was banned for being black. This was the for the law suit to the board of education of Topeka. The issue was that Linda and other children of color were being deprived of their education because of a belief. In the court case Linda came out victorious and thanks to her and her parents children of all races attended the same schools with the same educational tools.

Cities

During the progressive era, many people began to immigrate because it was beneficial. Although it was beneficial to many to others it was another problem added to the ones they were attempting to escape. The middle class began benefitting from growing incomes and increased in leisure times. Many people began to move to suburbs because there were many job opportunities. The city expanding caused them to have many advantages. Many thousand poor people lived in the cities, they were promised.

Along with the boost in the economy there was also a boost in the population. The baby boom was the large numbers of babies born as a cause of the end of war. The baby boom was also very significant because the mothers were now also working which was very new to everyone still.

Significant women to the era

During this era there were many significant women that impacted other women to speak their voices to be heard. One of the most impactful was Rosie the Riveter. She most known for the inspirational You can do it poster in which she appears with a red headband and blue shirt. Rosie was one of the very first to take action into the Women movement. When men were being drafted into war the jobs left behind needed to be filled. The only ones left to fill them in were women, which were never allowed to work in society. Rosie was used as advertising to recruit women to join the industrial jobs.

She served as motivation and inspiration for many women to change the status quo, she continues to be used as an inspiration to many women and her poster is shown in many well-known women organizations.

Arkansas Four

The Arkansas Four were a group of students, black, were going to attend a high school in Little Rock Arkansas with a predominantly white population. The significance of the Arkansas four was that on their way to the high school there was people on the sides of the street yelling at them and calling them names.

These actions were so horrific that the military had to escort them and the armed forces had to intervene in order for the students not to get hurt. The entire time the students walked to get to the school they were taunted and it did not stop there. When they finally began to attend the school they continued to be bullied and taunted for their skin color. {18}

Never did the students give into all the insults they instead stayed focus on what they were there for and continued to strive for their education. The Arkansas four also served as an inspiration to many students to follow their dreams and not anybody out them down for the color of their skin.

Mass Production

Mass production began during the time of war with interchangeable parts. Mass production is the production of the same items simultaneously. Products that were being made in a mass amount were products like: cars, everyday house utilities, and necessary everyday items.

Immigrants

During this time period there were many new jobs available and many misfortunate people in need of them. This caused for many people to migrate to the north and take the jobs that were vacant. Along with immigrants coming into the U.S to take the jobs they also brought their customs and traditions to the citizens.

An immigration group who caused a major impact in society were the Germans. The Germans impacted the U.S with their foods and customs. The main food was their sausage which caused many Americans to want it more and more.

Although the Germans arrival was a good one it did not stay like this for long. During the fight against the Germans the German-Americans were discriminated because they were thought to be bad and violent people. Prohibition also happened because of this. Prohibition was the action of not being able to buy or drink alcohol. It was illegal to sell alcoholic beverages to any German.

Then bootlegging occurred. Bootlegging was the illegal selling and distribution of alcohol to Germans.

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