Women in the Progressive Era

explanatory Essay
2111 words
2111 words

In the 1890s, American women emerged as a major force for social reform. Millions joined civic organizations and extended their roles from domestic duties to concerns about their communities and environments. These years, between 1890 and 1920, were a time of many social changes that later became known as the Progressive Era. In this time era, millions of Americans organized associations to come up with solutions to the many problems that society was facing, and many of these problems were staring American women right in the face. Women began to speak out against the laws that were deliberately set against them. Throughout this time period, women were denied the right to vote in all federal and most state held elections. Women struggled to achieve equality; equality as citizens, equality in the work place, and equality at home. During this time, Americans worked to fight corruption in government, reduce the power of big business, and improve society as a whole. Just as the Irish wanted good work and the farmers wanted a good banking system, women wanted equality. Women and women's organizations worked for various rights for different groups of people. They not only worked to gain the right to vote, they also worked for political equality and for social reforms. But how did this all start to happen? It didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t a one-person battle. Women wanted the same rights as men already had. But they didn’t just stop there, women played a major role in the rise of the child labor laws, stood up for minorities, and they wanted prostitution to end. Most people who opposed woman suffrage believed that women were less intelligent and less able to make political decisions than men were. Opponents argued th... ... middle of paper ... ... “75 Suffragists.” Women’s Studies.(29 October 2003). Berkeley, Kathleen C. The Women’s Liberation Movement in America. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999. Frankel, Voralee and Nancy Schrom Dye. Gender. Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1991. Freeman, Julie. The Progressive Era. 11 February 2002. (04 November 2003). Kerber, Linda K., Alice Kessler-Hessler and Kathryn Kish Sklar. US History as Women’s History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. “Living the Legacy: The Women's Rights Movement 1848 - 1998." The National Women's History Project. 1997. (30 October 2003). Muncy, Dr. Robyn. Women in the Progressive Era. 30 March 2003. (04 November 2003). Schneider, Dorothy. American Women in the Progressive Era 1900-1920. New York: Facts on File, 1993.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that american women emerged as a major force for social reform in the 1890s and 1920s. they organized associations to come up with solutions to society's problems.
  • Explains that women struggled to achieve equality as citizens, equality in the work place, and equality at home.
  • Explains that women and women's organizations worked for various rights for different groups of people, such as the right to vote, political equality, and social reforms.
  • Explains that women wanted the same rights as men, but it wasn't a one-person battle. they fought for minorities, prostitution, and child labor laws. opponents believed women were less intelligent and less able to make political decisions.
  • Explains that progressivism was not just a single movement, rather it was several different organizations of people trying to accomplish their own goals.
  • Explains that progressives saw that the future for a new america ultimately depended on changing the government and politics.
  • Describes how women acted through various organizations during the progressive era, such as the young women's christian association, the national consumers' league, and other trade unions. they won minimum wage and maximum hours for women workers through muller v. oregon, public health programs for pregnant women and babies and improved educational opportunities for children and adults.
  • Explains that florence kelley, jane addams, ellen swallow richards and susan b. anthony had an impeccable impact on the way everyone, not to mention women, live life today.
  • Opines that florence kelley was among the many famous and powerful women associated with the progressive era. she had many roles in many movements, including the abolishment of child labor, the passage of protective legislation for working women, and the establishment of minimum wage laws.
  • Explains that kelley helped establish sixty-four local consumers' leagues throughout the united states, and is best known for the successful defense of the ten-hour-working-day legislation for women in the 1908 u.s. supreme court decision.
  • Explains that kelley was not alone when it came to her battles in the progressive era. they tended to be old-stock, upper-middle-class americans who wanted to preserve traditional american values against what they believed was a threat against their way of life.
  • Explains that the progressive era had an immigrant problem. many of these female reformers were educated in colleges, but were banned from most professional careers.
  • Explains that the temperance union sought to eliminate the dominantly male immigrant worker's habits, including drinking, saloons, and prostitution.
  • Describes how the settlement houses were renovated, maintained, and lived in. they were located within ethnic neighborhoods to improve' the people who resided there and at the same time, americanize them.
  • Explains that working in the settlement houses was considered 'women's work', however, american women’s proper' place was still seen as being married and staying at home.
  • Explains that most of the settlement houses were founded by women, and that they became sites of new ideas, such as the national association for the advancement of colored people
  • Narrates how albion fellows bacon was a sanitation committee member of the evansville civic improvement society in indiana. she believed substandard housing was the cause of many social problems.
  • Explains that the progressive era was not limited to white reformers, but the african-american community also worked to improve their living conditions. black women's clubs grew dramatically thanks to one particular woman, ida b. wells-barnett.
  • Explains that the national women's trade union league (nwtul) was formed in 1903 to develop a good relationship between working and wealthy women.
  • Explains that the nwtul was successful in training rank-and-file labor women who went on to help promote labor organizations and reforms.
  • Opines that progressive reformers created many policies that we accept as a natural part of our national life today, and women's actions in the progressive era was just one step towards equality of the sexes.
  • Describes the women's liberation movement in america, including frankel, voralee, and nancy schrom dye.
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