The progressive era directly followed the post-civil wartime of chaos and corruption. The United States of America desperately needed change. As a result of this desire for change a varied group called progressives (which were largely composed of white middle class), pushed to improve America’s current condition and created a set of goals. A majority of these goals were achieved pushing America to having increased social justice, corporation control, and regulations on consumer products. However not all hopes of change were granted and some failures still remained.
The progressive era was a time of major reform and for the most part took strides of success towards its myriad of goals, which the U. S. desperately needed to achieve. This era completely contrasts with the post civil war era, and created a better America. A large reason why this time of reform could occur is because during this time America had politically progressive thinkers. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated much of his presidency to increase and improve America as a democratic nation with an abundant source of justice and liberty.
Roosevelt formed the new square deal which (the 3 co’s) controlled the corporations, had restrictions on consumer products, and allowed direct nominations. In the 17th amendment it was stated that elections should be nominated and controlled by the people. Document D describes the shift from the previous system of indirect voting through the electoral college, to the new direct nominations made from the people. This signified the power of the people and increased democracy ideals. Another one of Roosevelt’s contributions to progressivism was the regulation of meat, food and water.
Document B illustrates the horrifying unsanitary conditions of meat packaging, but during the progressive era acts were passed to make restrictions and laws about the sanitation of consumer products. There were also regulations on water purity, and systems were developed to improve piping systems and created healthy water available to the public (especially in urban areas). The diseases and health issues portrayed in Doc. B were dramatically lessened as these regulations were put into place and medical advances were made.
Roosevelt also contributed to the much needed act of trust busting. The cartoon in Doc. A shows T. R. using his big brandishing stick to crush monopolies and corrupt trusts which controlled big industries. However after T. R. ’s terms as president Woodrow Wilson went on a trust busting frenzy and together they stamped out a majority of trusts (T. R. crushed 44 trusts in 7 years while Wilson busted 70 trusts in only 4 years). In the Clayton antitrust act, laws against unjust ways of business were put into place.
It became illegal to “discriminate in price between different purchasers…. any line of commerce…”(Doc. E) This act states that no discrimination in cost could be used and it made monopolies illegal. This act also kindly noted that labor organizations were legal. Another achieved goal during the progressive era was the economic positive aspects that were put into place. The federal reserve act insured that money would be controlled and divided to ensure its safety and conservation. The progressive era also was the final push women needed to secure their suffrage.
There were helpful constrictions of labor and the hours and conditions improved. Public schooling also was improved and increased during this era. Also an environmental movement occurred. An innumerous amount of achievements and successes resulted from this reform movement. Although ultimately the progressive era brought a positive light over America it had some minor failures. For most of this movement it was backed politically but Taft (besides trust busting) was a set back to this revolution.
In addition, Wilson didn’t place any laws against the KKK or ant lynching laws. Document I shows the discrimination against races and the ability to preform (perform) hate crimes without legal restrictions. Another social injustice was the lack of passing the equal rights amendment. The picture in Document H shows how equal rights weren’t set into place under Wilson. Although Wilson was a progressive in some aspects he was a racist and sexist in other areas. An economic problem cause by this era was the idea of “credits. Credits were used to increase consumerism but in reality it just created large devts, which is a cause of the great depression. In general the progressive era led to a number of successes, but it also had its drawbacks. In conclusion, the progressive era led to various economic, social, and political reforms, most of which were positive. Even though it has some negative outcomes, in reality, some of these issues can never be completely solved, even today. All in all, the progressive era worked to produce a better nations and created many successes for the United States of America.