Weaknesses Of Progressivism

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The reform movement that ran from the late 1800s through the early 1900s is known as Progressivism. Progressivism was marked with numerous leading intellectuals and socialists who sought to fix the cultural, economical, and political issues that had arisen due to the changes brought about by both the Industrial Revolution and the rapidly growing capitalism in America. Progressivism was founded on the belief that the creation of a new order - a new dynamic, democratic, and involved government - was needed in order to appropriately handle whatever the new industrial age brought with it. Though many of the reform movements were very successful, there were some that were unsuccessful as well. An entire book could be written about various Progressive…show more content…
For example, the reformers believed the poor and working class part of society were an “inferior” people - a people prone to crime, disease, idiocy, and imbecility. This was seen with the idea of eugenics and its compulsory sterilization program that would rid society of these unwanted people through selective breeding. Even many settlement house workers, though they did provide relief, hope, and solutions to immigrants’ bleak conditions, still held a very condescending attitude toward immigrant populations. White, middle-class values were imposed on the immigrants and their cultures were dismissed. Another weakness was that segregation was also viewed as progressive, and even needed, for safety by some reformers. Finally, many of the main Protestant churches were actually supporting the social and political establishments that the reformers were speaking out against, so they had difficulty making the connection between issues such as child labor and the robber barons’ domination with their own church congregations. Thus, these churches did not do anything to address the suffering of the poor around them. The Progressive era consisted of several different reform movements. Some were very successful, while some were not. Two reform movements that were very successful include the Settlement House Movement and the Cleaning Up Urban…show more content…
The Closing Red Light Districts Movement and the Woman Suffrage Movement are two such examples. The anti-prostitution reformers urged against the urban prostitution that was, indeed, prominent. During 1909-1912 they helped get several brothels closed, and Congress even passed the Mann Act in 1910, which prohibited the transportation of prostitutes across state lines. While this was a good thing, the closing of the brothels actually worsened the prostitutes’ working conditions because they no longer had their “madams” that protected them, ensured rules were followed, paid them a good wage, and got them medical care. Instead, prostitution hit the streets, which led to more violence and problems than before. The Woman Suffrage Movement can also be viewed as an unsuccessful movement. Though the purpose of the movement - to secure women the right to vote - was honorable, racism pervaded the reform effort. The majority of the Progressives often would argue in support of woman suffrage by stating that it was needed in order to combat the ignorant black voters at elections. Thus it took on more of an exclusionary purpose than it should have. Though the significant victory of a woman suffrage amendment was finally passed in 1920, it took fifty years to convince the public of its validity, partly due to its racist

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