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Progressive Era Dbq Analysis

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Both Progressive Era reformers and the federal government sought to bring about reform at the national level. Examples of such reforms they wanted to make include: trust-busting, consumer safety, restrictions on child labour, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. Overall, the Progressive Era reformers and the federal government were effective in their efforts from 1900 to 1920, however there were some limitations. During the Gilded Age, and prior, the quality of America was unsatisfactory. Big businesses were more powerful than the national government due to trusts. Establishing trusts allowed for these big businesses to run their competition out of business and raise the price of a given product. Thus, consumers had no other option but to…show more content…
Theodore Roosevelt was aware of this and presented his idea of “New Nationalism” and the Square Deal. For example, to prevent corruption, Roosevelt spoke out for “direct nominations by the people”, (document D) and he was successful because the 17th amendment, preventing former representatives from picking the new ones, was ratified in 1913. Also within Roosevelt’s plans, he wanted to regulate big business and their trusts, which can be seen in the 1907 Washington Post political cartoon. In the cartoon, Roosevelt has his left leg upon a slain bear that represents “bad trusts”, such as the Northern Securities Company, and a gun in his right hand. To his left side there is a fearful bear representing “good trusts” on a restraint. (document A) This cartoon demonstrates that Roosevelt would be able to recognize and destroy bad trusts and regulate the good trusts, since not all trusts are bad. Successes in doing so included the Clayton Antitrust Act, which made it “unlawful for any person engaged in commerce… to discriminate in price between different purchases of commodities which commodities are sold for use, consumption, or resale within the United States.” (document E) Ensuring consumer protection was also successful due to acts such as the Federal Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. They allowed for the improvement of dangerous conditions and the…show more content…
Child labour laws did come to exist, but during 1900 to 1920 they were “purely a state authority.” So they did not achieve national recognition. As for civil rights, W.E.B. DuBois and other African-Americans “fought gladly and to the last drop of blood” for America, but were repented with “gloats in lynching, disfranchisement, caste, brutality and devilish insult”. (document I) Eventually later child labour laws and civil rights would be achieved at the national level, but progress can take time. Herbert Croly stated in the New Republic, that those who believe “the fundamental wrongs of a modern society can be easily and quickly righted as a consequence of a few laws… casts suspicion either upon his own sincerity of upon his grasp of the realities of modern social and industrial life.” (document F) Croley was pointing out that more reforms are needed to make the quality of America satisfactory, which would take some
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