Professor Atkins Mid-term Exam What was the Progressive movement? Explain some Progressive policies and ideals while also discussing some of the leaders of the Progressive movement and their role in American society. With in the last quarter of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century industrial growth spurred both positive and negatives with in American society. In an effort to cure society of these wrong doings, a movement took place which became a period of widespread social activism and political reform known as the Progressive movement. Many goals of this movement included reforming government and the acts in which they performed.
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
The progressive party was born in 1912. Progressives wanted to put an end to corruption, end monopolies, and make a clean government. Efficiency and perfection were two other goals progressives believed they could reach by eliminating social problems. If a problem could not be solved, an alternative solution would be considered. Prior to the Progressive Era, child labor was very common as well as the lack of temperance.
“The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, from the 1890s to the 1920s”(www.dictionary.com). Mowry, Huthmacher, and Gilmore talk about the social origins of the progressive reform movement in their articles. In these articles it talks about the progressives, how they were defined differently, and what social classes/occupations/ethnic groups did they represent. George Mowry talks about the objectives of the progressive movement in “Progressivism: Middle-Class Disillusionment”. Majority of the reformers came from the “middle class”.
Women were now able to work and organize labor unions instead of being a domestic housewife because of the National Women’s Trade Union League founded in 1903. This gave them more opportunities, created more organizations, jobs and higher class careers that improved the economy’s growth and helped with the financial issues. Other resolved problems during the Progressive Era came from the living conditions in cities such as food sanitization, settlements houses, education systems, entertainment and health improvements. Education during this Era was not thriving very well due to poor citizens who could not afford it and the lack of available teachers which made learning very difficult. In 1850 the National Education Associations was founded and it boosted the job opportunities for teachers, professors and students that could get a chance to learn and hold a steady middle class job.
In addition, the war’s circumstances led to the decline of the German economy. Moreover, the German Ludendorff offensive, which is a colossal German attack on the Western Front, also had a huge role in the initiating German defeat. Furthermore, these reasons coalesced to induce the German defeat in WW1. The figure above (Figure 1: Germany Troops, 1918) shows
Once reconstruction had been unraveled, Americans were eager to progress the United States and better this nation socially, politically and economically. Progressive People during this time desired to move from the original farming scenario, into more urban settings and city like areas. Some progressive people rejected social Darwinism and challenged the ideas of the Laissez-faire, and idolized the ideals of pragmatism—which is relying on human experience to define any truth—but that was just the beginning. Many of the progressivists wanted to reform the government and economic systems, due to accelerated urban growth and imbalance in economic power between the upper-class and the lower-class. Leaders like Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt are highly associated with aiding with these political issues of progressivism.
The progressive movement was formed with an effort of cure to all the ills which had developed in the United States during the time of industrial growth in the last quarter of 19th century. The Progressive Era aimed at reforming the conditions for all workers and also to humanize how prisoners and mentally ill people were being treated. Another reform effort was during the period of reconstruction which lasted up to the time that America entered into the First World War. The reform was to address the issues of women rights and the temperance movement during the Progressive Era (Fox & Picillo, 2016). The US thought of the issues caused by urbanization and industrialization.
Governmental corruption saw much improvement in regulation and law enforcement during the Progressive Era for women’s rights in politics. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the movement sought to refine female welfare and injustice within America. Progressives sought two main goals regraded politics: to use the state and control power and trusts, and to improve individual conditions of life and labor (Kennedy, Cohen, Bailey, pg 708). After the Civil War, colleges for ambitious and goal-oriented young women rose around various locations in the country. An improved school system created a generation of college-educated protestors who were aggressive in their beliefs and protested even more passionately.