The Progressive Era

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The Gilded Age yielded many problems for the Progressive Era. Some of these problems were no government control on big business, unsafe working conditions, child labor, gender inequality, corrupted politics, and racial inequality. Numerous amounts of these issues were dealt with during the movement but some were not. The political, social, and economic reforms of the Progressive Movement addressed many of the problems of the Gilded Age through government regulation of business and a more democratic political system; however, the movement failed to address the problems of racial inequality.

During the Progressive Movement, government regulation of big business was a prominent theme. This theme was primarily shown in President Roosevelt’s idea of the ‘Square Deal.’ In 1904 he advocated this domestic reform program which called for government control of corporate abuses. The ‘Square Deal’ was his campaign slogan in the election of 1904. It basically meant that when big business abuses its power, the government will step in to make business equal on all sides, like a square. This ensured that business was fair for all. In 1902, Roosevelt put his idea into use during the United Mine Workers Strike when the workers wanted a raise, shorter hours and recognition of their union but their employers refused to give them what they wanted. Roosevelt called both sides to the White House and forced a compromise. The workers were given shorter hours and a raise but not recognition of their unions. In another instance, Roosevelt applied his plan when he passed the Elkins and Hepburn Acts in 1903 to give the Interstate Commerce Commission power to regulate railroads, prohibit better rates to ‘favorite’ customers, and allow the ICC to set ma...

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...Ferguson, where the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was constitutional as long as all facilities were equal. There were often times where blacks were denied jobs that they were qualified to do by employers because of skin color. Employers frequently gave jobs to less qualified white people.

Along with the necessary regulation of business, the Progressive Era opened the door to a lot of positive change in the United States by eliminating and fixing some of the problems of the Gilded Age. Reforms in the social, political, and economic aspect were made. Government regulation on business and a more democratic political system were achieved during this time period. On the contrary, racial equality was not. Inequality between races was a recurring theme. While many of the issues needing reform were attended to, racial discrimination against blacks was not.

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