The Progressive Movement: The Reconstruction Era And Gilded Age

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Stemming from some of the Populist party’s ideas and following the turbulent times of the Reconstruction Era and Gilded Age, the Progressive movement arose in the 1890s in the United States as a means of utilizing the federal government to achieve national development. This was a huge step forward for the common man, as the industrialization of the nation and rise of big businesses, which exploded around the 1860s, left him robbed and mistreated. But this backtrack no longer reigned with the development of the Progressive Era, which brought prosperity through major reforms. This movement was a nationwide event, not bound to any singular political party or social class, but rather a mix, demonstrating its widespread success. The Progressive…show more content…
This connection is embodied by Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive president from 1901-1909, who, in his New Nationalism Speech said, “A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy,” demonstrating the period’s forward ideas. During this time, the connection between government and people solidified, forming a more uniform and flourishing nation through allegiance. This cohesion led to federal focuses that better fit the needs of the people. Progressive presidents tailored their ideals to give the people what they wanted, namely limits on big businesses and fairness in the workplace. Chief among these policies was Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal program, which sought to control the corporations, protect the consumer, and conserve natural resources. Roosevelt fought on the side of the people, seen in his challenge of the Northern Securities Company in 1902, in which the Supreme Court ruled in his favor and dissolved the corrupt railroad trust company. Similarly, he helped the citizens of the nation with his passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which ensured that corporations could no longer flagrantly poison their consumers. Additionally, Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom program, which advocated for stronger antitrust legislation, banking…show more content…
The first of these setbacks was the failure of the Prohibition. Though initially successful, the nationwide movement of abstinence from alcohol ultimately failed when the Eighteenth Amendment, ratified in 1920, was later repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933. Additionally, the labor unions that formed and were strong advocates of progressivism harbored harsh xenophobic and anti-foreign sentiments against immigrants for being strikebreakers and blamed them for harsh conditions and low wages. These feelings ultimately led to the passage of many isolationist and frankly un-American laws, such as the Immigration Act of 1924, which discriminately curbed immigration in America by limiting quotas of foreign countries to a tiny percentage. Most heinously, however, from the Progressive Era was the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, a violent, racist, anti-foreigner, extremist paramilitary group that terrorized and tortured many innocent people. This backwards and sinister group of white-supremacists from the Midwest and South was actually supported by President Woodrow Wilson, a leading Progressive. However, these glaring setbacks, over time, diminished. Alcoholism, anti-foreignism, and the Ku Klux Klan shrank as major problems decreased in severity. Though they may have not been eradicated, they no longer burn as deep a hole in the fabric of

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