The Progressive Era was a thirty year period in which the United States was completely reformed. Actions were taken to improve working conditions for laborers, create a sexually unbiased work system and regulate the economy. President Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both helped create a more direct democracy in which the people would have a voice. During those thirty years, amendments 16 to 19 were ratified to regulate and reform the country. Muckrakers were writers who worked for the printing companies exposed the public to all of the corruption that was occurring both openly and behind closed doors.
By exposing the public to the corruption, American society was enlightened and inspired to reform itself. During this era, President Theodore Roosevelt worked diligently to regulate and conserve everything that was necessary. Even though Roosevelt believed in big businesses, he still believed in regulation and fair trade. He took the Sherman Anti-Trust act which had been dormant for many years and enforced it so that companies could price their products and made sure that no one specific company could take control of the market thus ridding the economy of bad trusts and preventing companies from creating a trade monopoly.
Working conditions were horrible during the progressive era, and it was widely known because Muckrakers wrote only about the bad that happen in society. The safety of the nation’s meat supply is highly important because meat is consumed throughout the whole nation. The Meat Inspection Act was passed to rid factories of their gruesome and uncleanly working habitats and protect the nation’s food supply. Many people who came to the United States to live during the end of the 1900’s were unable to sustain a normal life because they were in such poverty.
Settlement houses were created so that settlement workers could service the neighbors who wanted to find a place to get away from poverty. These settlement houses were places to gather and create a sense of unity amongst the poverty stricken. As people of these houses became more aware of the conditions around them, they proposed changes that would drastically change the way of life for them. Woodrow Wilson wanted to create a democracy, but he did not allow women to vote. What kind of a democracy did Wilson want if he did not allow how the population to vote?
There were many women’s reform groups that wanted sexual equality so that women would have equal say which promoted women to take charge leading to the passing of the 19th amendment allowing women to vote and opening a whole new world for a woman’s voice. Blacks fought for the ideals of America in World War I but they did not receive any recognition for their hard work. Instead, they were still put under the “Jim Crow” laws which prohibited them from voting and segregated them from their superior races.
This explains the decrease in percentage of eligible voters who vote from 1900 to 1920. The Clayton Anti-Trust Act targeted business monopolies that could easily control the whole economy. Wilson being the arrogant president that he was, created a few minor laws that would not greatly improve the economy. It would be the next successor of the president that would be left with all these problems. President Theodore Roosevelt believed highly in a direct democracy, he favored the idea of people deciding what they want with government.
Later on, the 17th amendment is ratified allowing the direct election of the senate. Overall, the Progressive Era was full of reform in the economy, politics and society. Conservation and reform were the most important things and ideas during this era. Women’s right and racial desegregation were also accomplished during this time. The press was also a big part of the spread of information giving people new ideas and philosophies. The people who were presidents during this time greatly influenced the ideas of the people and in turn, reformed the nation into something better than before.