Social Reform Dbq

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Teddy Roosevelt proved not only to be an economic reformist but also a social reformist as he transitioned from trust-busting into directly benefitting and protecting the lives and wellbeing of consumers. Before any reforms took place, however, Roosevelt noticed that American meet was being shut out of European markets due to it being unsanitary. This problem along with Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, drew the major problems of sanitation and working conditions right to Roosevelt’s eye. Therefore, in an attempt to correct this problem, Roosevelt with help of Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 which said that the preparation of meat would be inspection by the federal government when transferred over state lines. This act not…show more content…
During this time period, progressive women, like Roosevelt honed in on factory reforms such as eliminating unsafe and unsanitary sweatshops. However, as an underdeveloped and underappreciated class, these women focused on their needs and that of children. For example, reformist Florence Kelley, leader of the National Consumers League who fought for laws safeguarding women and children in the workplace, won the Muller v. Oregon case in 1908 in which the Supreme Court agreed to the constitutionality of laws protecting women workers. This reform, although positive in the sense that it provided protection for women also came with future backlash. This verdict ultimately promoted the concept that women were weaker than men therefore discriminating against women and closing “male” jobs off to women workers. To women of this time period, this limitation of such a prominent reform was unacceptable considering how far women have progressed in society. In addition to this setback, was another Supreme Court case, Lochner v. New York which took place in 1905. This case not only nullified the law establishing a ten hour work day for bakers but also upheld a ten hour day for factory workers. However, this law was meaningless because it went unenforced as seen in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Company incident which led to the death of a multitude of women workers. These limitations by such reforms although negative and the opposite of protection for women workers as established by the Muller v. Oregon case led to much stricter laws such as a regulation of hours and conditions for sweatshops and worker compensation laws. In this sense, women faced several limitations while trying to become more prominent in the progressive community, however their defeat and
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