The Progressive Era

The Progressive Era was a period of social and political reformation that flourished under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson. When the United States entered World War 1 on April 6, 1917, the whole nation was united under a moral cause. However, the war quickly busied Americans creating no time for Progressive movements and the events following the war put an end to the Era all together. During the beginning of the war, Wilson’s foreign policy was to remain on a neutral tide.

With his reelection, he even won against Charles Hughes under his slogan, “He kept us out of war”, that persuaded Americans that choosing Hughes would lead them into direct contact with the war. Americans united under this foreign policy trying to stay out of European affairs under the philosophy of isolationism. When Germany’s unauthorized submarines caused for the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and their efforts chose to continue unrestricted submarine warfare the United States was infuriated.

This is one factor that kept the United States busy with working to remain excluded from war. However, President Wilson addressed to Congress and declared he wanted “to make the world safe for democracy”, leading America into World War 1, under this moral cause. (Doc 2) Now that the United States was in the war, Americans started to become less concerned with social reforms and busier working, supporting, and fighting the war together. Women, for one, took over the jobs of all the men who went out to war, and worked to supply the belligerents, keeping women very busy.

The United States Food Administration, under Herbert Hoover, promoted rationing of food through “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays”. This helped to conserve food and save for those fighting overseas. (Doc 6) Trench warfare was how most of World War 1 was fought and living in these trenches was rather a tough condition. This ensured that supporting and working hard together in America for our men was required to aid their health and capability of being able to fight effectively. (Doc 3)

The war ended with a high number of casualties for America. Many of these casualties resulted from the influenza epidemic that attacked the world’s population and battle fights, such as those that occurred highly within the use of trenches. (Doc 3) This high death effected lives of Americans and their families, keeping them from being motivated to continue the Progressive movement. The Treaty of Versailles created at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, put an end to World War 1, but did so with a lot of problems.

President Wilson, as devised in his 14 Point Peace Plan called for a creation of a League of Nations, an international peace organization. This organization caused for a split in American views. The United States, as a majority, voted not to join, as it took away the power of Congress to declare war and would ruin America’s self-determination. (Doc 9) This split in decision effected formally agreeing and creating more social reforms. The Progressive Era ended with World War 1, as many Americans were too busy with a plethora of events to help the United States fight the war.

When the United States entered the war, they were morally united under a new crusade. However, they had to put their further ideas of reformations on hold as the war demanded serious attention to be fought effectively. The further Americans became deeply involved into the war, the further attention was dragged away from the progressive movement. Even after the war was over, Americans were still busy caught up in dealing with the aftermath and the approach of another worldwide outbreak.