Pros And Cons Of The Progressive Era

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During the late 19th century, newly introduced methods of thinking and living swept across the households of Americans. These movements and their corresponding facets captivated millions of people, but in doing so, also created corruption and opposition that, many times, brought out countless negative and precarious situations. Advancements in technology, such as steel, electricity, and the telephone, connected more people than ever before. Industrialization and urbanization moved people closer to the cities but also created danger in many living and work places. Despite the positives that appealed to so many, there also existed the downsides, which largely began to appear in the Gilded Age of American politics. As time went by and new advancements…show more content…
Big businesses, such as oil and railroad companies owned by John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, tended to dominate politics. Even businesses on smaller scales did very little to provide security for workers, which fueled the desire for reforms even more. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 was a catastrophic event that proved a change was desperately needed, but when the owners were sentenced and merely fined, it only seemed to, once again, prove that the courts did not side with the victims. In response, more and more people, such as Rose Schneiderman, began to attempt to organize unions because of the lack of support from the government. Although the government did make attempts to stop monopolies and trusts, such as the Sherman Antitrust Act, the attempts were not strong enough to make any progress. However, during the Progressive Era, this began to change—President Roosevelt, known as the “trust buster”, became the first president to join sides with the workers in their plea for reform. Following the Coal Strike of 1902, Roosevelt himself became involved with the matter, and helped to create a compromise of the sorts that, ultimately, worked in favor of the unions’ demands. Not only did this change the little pay that workers received for working countless hours, a new image of Roosevelt had been projected across America—people began to look to Roosevelt as someone they could trust to help them. In addition to this, many muckraking journalists sought to expose corruption and act as a voice for the people that corporations tended to ignore. Upton Sinclair, a prime example, worked to expose the conditions of the meat industry, and his publication of The Jungle appalled countless Americans. Not only did the publication depict the harsh conditions that
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