Did The Progressive Era Change American Life?

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Anyone can affirm that there were many events that occurred or time periods during US history that changed life as we know it. There have been wars, and each had its own effect on the citizens of the United States. On a smaller scale, there have been movements that have also changed America drastically. One of these movements, which is also one of the more recent ones of them all, was the Progressive Era (1890’s-1920’s). Some could argue that other times or events have been more influential, but the Progressive Movement is without a doubt the most significant. To what extent did the Progressive Era change American Life? To begin, one main thing that drove the Progressive Era forward were the Muckrakers. Muckrakers were writers that analyzed…show more content…
In Sinclair’s novel, he graphically described injuries obtained in the industries, such as severed fingers which spread diseases and blood poisoning. Besides just injuries, Sinclair also provided many details on the diseased meat, dead rats in the meat, and rat poison that got into the meat processors (“Meat Inspection Act,” 2015). He also detailed how the meat packing industry was corrupt, exploitative, and oppressive to go alongside the dangers that faced both the consumers and workers (Cherny, “The Jungle and the Progressive Era). From his work, the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) was created to provide safer food for citizens, and it established sanitary standards for both slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. The MIA was designed to go hand in hand with the Pure Food and Drug Act, which was created at the same time as the Meat Inspection Act in 1906. The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Acts weren’t the only things that improved the meat packing industries. The new workmen’s comp laws also made things better both for the corporations and the workers. Before the Progressive Movement, work spaces were very cramped and there was poor lighting and many young children (Hine, “Seafood Workers”). These factors combined to make for disorderly working conditions causing…show more content…
In regular factories, there were many risks, especially since child labor made up most of the work force, there were many accidents because the kids would be careless, or get stuck, or multiple other reasons. In a picture taken in 1912 in a textile factory, two children are seen working the machines. They’re both 10 years or younger, and standing on the machines barefoot. The children could easily slip and fall, get their fingers or toes crushed, or numerous other deadly accidents. A census from 1890 showed that over one million children between the ages of 10-15 years old worked in America, and that number increased drastically, by two million, in 1910 (Davis, “Progressive Era Reform”). While children from the ages of 5 and 6 weren’t included in the census, they still worked the same shifts as the older kids, which were 18-20 hours a day, 6 days a week. During the Progressive Era, these conditions improved dramatically for the children working, and for all the other workers as well. In 1904, a group of reformists created the National Child Labor Committee, and started lobbying to end the abuse that was child labor. Eight years later, a Children’s Bureau was established to examine all matters pertaining to the welfare of children (“Working Conditions in Factories (Issue),” 2000). President Woodrow Wilson later signed for the Tax on

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