The Progressive Movement: The Gilded Age

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The Progressive Movement, occurring between the 1890s-1920s, arose to ameliorate the deficiencies of the Gilded Age. Although the Gilded Age was a prosperous time for the U.S. economy, the wealth was not distributed evenly. Yes, the Progressive Movement failed to address racial equality, but there were milestones in remedying political corruption, making the free market less monopolized, and improving the quality of life for the population which made the progressive movement overall-effective.
Prior to the Progressive Movement, during the Gilded Age, the U.S. was plagued with corrupt politicians. These corrupt politicians, who went hand-in-hand with corrupt businessmen, spurred the economy forward but built their success upon the suffering
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The Tenement House Act of 1901 was a start to the improvement for workers who lived in cramped tenements. Toilets were mandatory on each floor and fire escapes and windows were also installed. Today, people consider these features to housing fundamental, which displays how primitively poor laborers were forced to live. In addition, regarding working conditions, unions were formed, such as the National Labor Union which supported an eight hour work day, banking reform, and an increase in wages. The Department of Labor formed in 1913 thus, wage earners finally had an official government body dedicated to improving working conditions. Moreover, regarding the unsanitary food, the Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed to enhance the quality of food and prevent the spread of disease. The heightened standard of living in various parts of society displays the Progressive Movement was indeed effective. The icing on the cake towards an improved standard of living was the passing of the 19th amendment, women’s suffrage. With this, at least one disadvantaged group of people gained equality. Although the same right was not granted towards African-Americans until decades later, this was the first step, and displayed change was possible.
Overall, the Progressive Movement was effective in that it lowered the corruption in businesses and government and it heightened the standard of living in the United States despite the lack of lowering racial discrimination. The Movement overall was a benefit to American society, and through the progress made, it lives up to its
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