The Progressive Movement

The progressive era began as a social movement then grew into a political movement. 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.

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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.

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.


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.


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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The Progressive Movement. (2019, Jul 15). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from

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