The word progressive can be defined as change, improvement, and reform. This can be then opposed to wanting or hoping to maintain things the way they are, especially in politicals and political matters. The Progressive Era was just that a set of changes that enacted a movement in the ways that people behaved for many years or sought a better life. At the heart of the nation in the 1890’s was the industrial revolution (Goldfield, et. al. , 2011). This brought great wealth to the country and great changes to the world that we now see today.
Many governments and big businesses believed these changes were wonderful, unfortunately the rest of American citizens suffered greatly so they soon learned how to fight back. The people soon realized if they stuck together and created a wave of changes that things seemed to get better at work and in their lives. Reform became a hot topic for Americans in 1900 as people did not like what was happening around them and they wanted to reform anything and everything they could to change.
Progressives were seeking change, offered solutions to problems that they say, organized their supporters, and attempted to change public opinion (Goldfield, et al. , 2011). They did this by lobbying and demonstrating as nonpartisan pressure groups to have other join them in their fight for changes. Reform started to work at city and state levels where the poorer people and conditions were bad all the way up to the governmental levels. This extensive effort was responsible for women’s rights and empowerment, child labor laws, government reform, and bringing forth presidents who would reconstruct corporate business and social services.
In 1904 the National Child Labor Committee was organized and began to fight to end child labor (Goldfield, et al. , 2011). Because women were being forced into the workplace, social reformers campaigned and fought for laws regulating the wages, hours, and working conditions of women (Goldfield et al. , 2011). With males dominating, the public sphere woman had to take a stand. Many Progressive women were well educated at the new women’s colleges but where banned from obtaining employment so they began to form associations in order to be active in public life (Goldfield, et al. 2011). These associations became one of the major influences of change. In addition to fighting for child labor reform, Americanizing immigrants, and banning alcohol, women also began fighting for women’s suffrage (Goldfield, et al. , 2011). Woman suffrage began in the mid-nineteenth century and was the foundation for woman’s rights. This is what gave woman the right to vote along with creating equal rights for women. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was enacted.
The Nineteenth Amendment is the constitutional revision that gave woman citizens’ the right to vote (Goldfield et al. 2011). The first person to have ever been considered a progressive president was Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt consistently tried to control the power of corporate businesses by making them work with their employees and deal with companies who would check them. The way he handled the coal strike in1902, by offering to have both the owners and union leaders at the White House and “declared that the national interest made government action necessary” (Goldfield et al. , 2011) to work out the issues surrounding the strike was just the beginning of the way he handled conflict.
Theodore Roosevelt paid attention to the formation of large businesses while paying closer attention to the public’s anxiety over corporate power. By not putting into effect “the foolish antitrust law” he decided to go with government regulations to help prevent corporate abuse and protect the public’s interest (Goldfield et al. , 2011). The election of 1912 became an important turning point in the Progressive era. This election and the events that followed are probably one of the main reasons American is the way it is today.