Some worked for women suffrage, lowering the number of divorce, improvement in education, government inspection of food and drugs, abolishing prostitution and abortion, temperance, immigration restriction and improvement in wages and working conditions of many workers, especially for working mothers and children. Some progressives supported these reforms, but others just focus in one cause, such as breaking up the monopolistic companies. Reformers sought monopoly as a mockery to the free market principles. Progressive believed that the involvement of the Federal government in the economy was necessary to secure the liberty and values of America. Not until the Populist and Progressive movement, government had often intervened.
Progressivism is basically a label for a group of individuals, mostly urban college-educated middle class supporters, who demanded reform from the government and businesses to improve working conditions, eliminate health hazards and give the public more control in the government. This movement was brought about in response to the monumental changes due to modernization, the large growth of corporations and railroads and the fear of corruption in American politics. One group in particular, labeled the “muckrakers”, which consisted of writers and journalists, reported the offensive actions of businesses and government and the terrible health and living conditions of the worker. Many wrote what was considered fictional novels that were based on the actual atrocities that were occurring in the nation at this time. Writers like Frank Norris wrote about the intimidation of the railroad companies against the farmers.
The purpose of Roosevelt’s speech was to encourage the American people to push for the removal of corruption in big business, politics, and the media through peaceful means and to preach for middle class progressive reform. Around the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s speech in 1906 public interest was aroused by investigative journalists who published truthful reports about political corruption, industrial monopolies, and fraudulent business practices in the hopes of trying to spark reform. The problem was that during this time period a majority of these articles were written with intentionally false information meant to trick readers or were written using exaggerated facts meant to sell more articles this was known as yellow journalism. Roosevelt believed as president it was his duty to be the moral compass for his nation. Roosevelt was vehemently against this corruption but at the same time was for the honest reporting of this corruption.
The Progressive Era was a period that exposed the contradictions found in American society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Theodore Roosevelt summed up the Progressive/Reform feeling in his "Square Deal" speech - that it was all about morals, not economics. His goal was the "moral regeneration of the business world." He preached that it was wrong for some people to get ahead in business and politics by tricks and schemes, while others were cheated out of the opportunity. This was the kind of talk that millions of Americans from all areas of society could understand and respond to.
Two of the most prominent figures in this time period that brought out the most change were President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and President Woodrow Wilson. While both contributed greatly to the reform and improvement during the Progressive Era, they both differed in how they did so. Economically, both presidents passed legislation to keep monopolies and corrupt companies out of power, however President Roosevelt sought to keep the good monopolies whereas President Wilson sought to destroy all monopolies. Politically, both Wilson and Roosevelt passed legislation to help the people and bring equal representation, such as with Roosevelt’s New Nationalism Plan and Wilson’s New Freedom Plan. Socially, both presidents worked hard to improve the working conditions of laborers; however Roosevelt focused on the area of conservation whereas Wilson focused on foreign affairs.
To begin with, Roosevelt made many important modifications to the way the government should be run. Roosevelt’s major plan to help America was his “Square Deal.” Roosevelt was a big believer in compromise, and he believed that the square deal would help compromise power between workers and their employers. This outlined consumer protection, control of ... ... middle of paper ... ...the most part followed Roosevelt’s lead. All in all, Roosevelt and Wilson’s domestic policy made an improvement on the progressive movement and America. However, they both ignored did hurt the aspect of civil rights.
The Progressive Era is defined as the period of social activism and political reform in the United States that took place from the 1890s to the 1920s. Historians George Mowry, Gabriel Kolko, and Joseph Huthmacher all have different opinions and reasons as to whom the most influential Progressives were and what they reformed. Mowry does an excellent job explaining how the “solid middle-class” was the most impactful Progressives and how they reformed in attempt to create a classless society. Kolko expressed some good points as to why the big businesses were the majority Progressives, but only focused on business-government relations and didn’t look into social-justice. Huthmacher thoroughly explained why the urban lower class was the main Progressives and made good points on the “Bread-and-butter” issues.
During the progressive era, both Roosevelt and Wilson put in great effort to defend smaller businesses. Theodore Roosevelt’s policy of prosecuting monopolies, or “trusts,” that violated federal antitrust laws was known as “Trust-Busting.” This forced industrialists and monopolistic corporations to consider public opinion when making business decisions, which benefited the consumer and helped grow the economy. One way that Wilson and Roosevelt tried protecting these smaller businesses was by removing trusts that were much bigger than they were. Under Wilson’s authority in 1814, the Clayton Anti- Trust Act was passed, which abolished interlocking directorates. This law was passed as an amendment to clarify and supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
He shocked society by describing this industry as disease ridden, filthy and unsanitary. These writers helped build major public support. The public out cried for regulation and reform in many corrupt businesses and industries. The Muckrakers were very crucial to the progressive movement. Some even say that with out the muckrakers there would’ve been no progressive movement.
Teddy Roosevelt changed America forever with his ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ policy. This policy was a kick-start to the progressive era, in which many strove to achieve social change and improvement. There is reason to believe that progressive movements had little effect on society. However, through progressive presidents, awareness of factory conditions, and activists seeking to broaden rights, several amendments were passed between 1900 and 1920. The progressives made a long lasting, though not immediate, impact on society.