Reform During The Progressive Era

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During the Progressive Era, a period of reform in the early twentieth century sparked by rapid industrialization, immigration, and urbanization, three presidents raced to improve our country in three different areas. These men being Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, three progressive presidents who tackled attacking big businesses, the abuse of the working class, and environmental destruction. Although all three of the progressive presidents made many efforts of reform during this time period, Theodore Roosevelt was the most overall progressive president, for he gained control of corporations, fought for consumer protection, and conserved many natural resources using his “Square Deal” policy. During this time…show more content…
In 1902 the coal workers of Pennsylvania went on strike, demanding a twenty percent pay raise and their workday to be reduced by one hour. This left the country facing a coal shortage, and the president debating whether or not he should intervene. Though he had no official authority on the matter, Roosevelt decided to step in when heating shortages become more evident. Inviting both the mine owners and the union representatives to meet with him in the White House, Roosevelt was in full support of the miners. When management refused to negotiate, Roosevelt threatened to seize the mines and use troops to force them to run as a federal operation. With so much now at stake owners agreed to compromise, giving the miners a ten percent pay raise, and reducing their workday from ten to nine hours. Roosevelt proceeded to give his administration the nickname “Square Deal,” as he felt that everyone benefited fairly from the agreement. In 1906 Roosevelt gave a speech where he first used the term “muckrakers.” This term is used to describe the investigative journalists and reporters who used media to expose scandals and abuses in their era. Roosevelt had recently read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” which exposed in graphic detail the horrors of the meatpacking industry. He was shocked and disgusted, and responded by appointing a special investigating committee to look into the food handling processes in this industry. Coming back with reports confirming much of what Sinclair had written, Roosevelt began pressuring Congress to address the issue. Though he realized the devastating effects these reports could have on the meatpacking industry, he chose to put consumer protection first. Congress soon passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 after much pressure from Roosevelt. These new laws
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