The Progressive Era

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The Progressive Era was a time period between the years 1900-1920 and it marked a time in American history in which society was bursting with enthusiasm to improve life in the industrial age by making political and social changes through government action that ultimately led to a higher quality of life for American citizens. Progressives were known for their beliefs in limiting the power of big business, strengthening the power of the states, and were advocators against corruption and social injustice. These progressive reformers as well as the Federal Government successfully managed to improve the quality of life and establish a precedent for a move active government, although neither was completely successful in solving significant issues the nation faced. With the dawning of the 20th century came an emergence of social awareness as muckrakers, investigative journalists who were reform minded and generally wrote for popular magazines and newspapers that exposed the ills of society and corruption in the government, opened the blind eye of ignorant Americans to these issues. One of the first to strike was Lincoln Steffens as he exposed how city officials worked in league with big business to maintain power while corrupting the public treasury. It became clear to the government that reforms were desperately needed, and Theodore Roosevelt provided the nation with just that as he sought broad reforms and regulations at the national level during his presidency. Roosevelt utilized his domestic program, the “Square Deal”, to take action against bad trusts, or large monopolies like the Northern Securities Act as well as restrain the good trusts. He distinguished between these trusts, describing “good trusts” as good services that provide... ... middle of paper ... ...t vote. (DOC H) Eventually, women reached their goal with the passage of the 19th amendment, prohibiting the denial of the right to vote based on gender, but African Americans didn’t see major change for decades to come. The Progressive Era marked a time of change for America, as lifestyle for millions was improved but change was slow to come, and in major groups in society no change was seen at all. But it was a time period in which the government worked more with the people than it ever had before, and the president took the concerns of his people and incorporated them into his policies. While many efforts were made to regulate business, child labor, and sanitization laws, significant issues such as civil rights for African Americans and equality for women were not effectively covered at the national level by progressive era reformers and the federal government.

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