The Progressive Era was the period in the history of the United States that was dominated by reform ideals from 1890 - 1920. The Progressive Movement covered social reform issues relating to female suffrage, education, working conditions, unionization, the problems of urbanization, industrialization and child labor. The Progressive Movement called for political reforms attacking bribery and corruption, the political machines and the regulation of Big Business and corporations and reducing the power of the Robber Barons and unfair business practices.
What caused the Progressive Movement?
Bribery and Corruption in politics that had been encouraged by the Spoils System
The Political Machines that controlled the towns and cities
The Negative impact of Industrialization that led to the emergence of poor working conditions in the factories
The rapid Urbanization in America and lack of planning that led to appalling housing and squalid living conditions in the towns and the cities
The economic system of Free enterprise and the concept of 'Laissez-Faire' by which private businesses operated in competition and largely free of state control.
The Rise of Big Business and Corporations and the greed and unchecked and unethical practices of the Robber Barons
The crusade against Alcohol, its effects on society and the call for prohibition
Discrimination and inequality on the grounds of race, religion and ethnic background
Discrimination against women - refer to Women's suffrage
The rise of crime in the cities during the Urbanization in America
The call for banking reform to help small businesses and the farmers
The call for labor reform relating to wages, working conditions and unionization
Protests against the use of Child Labor and the need for improved education
Progressive Movement Goals
Progressive Movement for kids: Who were the Progressives?
Progressive Movement for kids: Names of the Leaders of the Progressive Movement
Robert La Follette and the Progressive Movement
The ideals of Socialism are based on a democratic, non-racist, classless and feminist socialist society in which working people had control over their lives and Robert La Follette, "Fighting Bob", fought for all these issues. His radical, left wing political views, attracted women, organized labor movements, minority groups including many African Americans and farmers. His militant, Progressive platform earned him the nickname of "Fighting Bob" and the admiration of the working classes and the fear of the establishment. He called for the government takeover of the railroads and the coal industry and fought for the rights of workers and unions and the abolishment of child labor. Robert La Follette ran for President on the Socialist platform in 1924 and gained 5 million votes.
Progressive Movement Accomplishments
The 1887 Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was an early example of Progressive Reforms and other helpful laws followed (refer to the timeline below)
Laws were passed to protect the public’s health and welfare
Anti-trust legislation was passed to prohibit monopolies
Big Business and corporations were regulated as the process of arbitration was included in the negotiation process
The Unionization of all the important industries
The commission system of local government, replacing the mayor, city council and political machine was introduced
The crusading 'muckrakers' raised awareness of social issues which led to the formation of pressure groups and reform
The federal government started to act as mediators between opposing sides
The number of hours that children were allowed work were limited, and education improved
Laws were passed to protect the environment and address pollution
The 17th amendment to the Constitution was ratified to counter Senate corruption
The 18th Amendment was passed prohibiting the sale and manufacture of alcohol
The 19th Amendment was passed that gave women the right to vote - refer to Women's suffrage
Progressive Movement for kids: The Limits of Progressivism
Progressive Movement for kids: The End to Progressivism
|US American History|
|1881-1913: Maturation Era|
|Urbanization in America|