Progressive Era

2 February 2017

The progressive reform movements were important on American society before and during WW1. There progressive’s main points were business regulation, the end of laissez faire, consumer protection, labor protection, and election reforms. They accomplish many of their goals all the way to WW1. The progressives were very successful with business regulation, consumer protection, and government reforms. Business regulation was a major component to the progressive movement. During the progressive era, Roosevelt and Taft regulate trusts. Roosevelt only managed to break up very few trust.

Roosevelt managed to merge the steel company. Taft destroyed many trust throughout his presidency. Trust, according to the progressives, have to much power in government. The progressives were successful because when the trust were regulation it opened doors to start to reform the government. Progressives believed that every level of government (national, state, & local governments) were outmoded, inefficient, and corrupt. Progressives also believed the two dominant political parties (the Democratic & Republican Parties) were corrupt, undemocratic, and traditional.

The progressives implemented the “Secret Ballot or Australian Ballot”. This ballot chipped away at the power of political bosses and political parties and increased the power of the voters. Also election recall gave voters the right to remove a public official from office at a special election which could be called after voters collected the required amount of signatures on a petition to recall a governmental official. They were successful because they gain major support from Women and Social Workers. The last major reform was consumer protection. During the progressive era, there were a lot of unsanitary places.

One of the worst was the food industry. Muckrakers would expose corruption in the government. The most famous muckraker would be Upton Sinclair. Sinclair exposed the meat-packing industry. He wrote a book called “Jungle” which exposed the horrors of the meat packing industry. Because of this book, there were two laws to protect the consumer. The Pure Food and Drug Act which is an Act for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes.

Also there was the Meat Inspection Act which empowers the Department of Agriculture to inspect all types of cattle including sheep, goat, and horses, when slaughtered and processed into products for human consumption. These were successful because the people were concerned about their safety. The progressive era was a success because it gave more power to the people, protected the consumer, and regulated the business. The progressive era changed the fabric of American society. We still use some of the progressive ideas today, which shows how much of an impact that it had on the American citizen.

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