THE PROGRESSIVE ERA 4
Inthe early years of the twentieth century, there was a great socialand economic growth in the United States. It was a reconstruction eramostly referred to as Gilded Age. There was rapid industrialization,urbanization, railway road constructions, technological innovations,and the rise of great business. During this era, the nationexperienced moral, material, and political ruin. Corruption wasrampant with cases of bribery on the rise. The public opinion wasbeing silenced while laborers received low wages. The reality of thisera was characterized by corruption and patronage (Flehinger,2013).However, the increasing number of immigrants in around 1800s andearly 1900s, the rise of middle class such as women who started thesettlement house movement wanted to improve the society. The rise ofbig business and need to regulate the rising economy led to the riseof Progressive Era. The aim of the Progressive Movement was to betterthe American politics and society.
Ibelieve the progressive philosophy was effective in protecting thesmaller companies and the society as a whole. The progressives cametogether and regulated the power of giant trusts, which had createdunfair competition through the establishment of monopolies. Anexample of such corporation was US Steel. Through the effort ofinfluential writers like Henry George and Edward Bellamy,progressives were able to expose the corruption and unfair practiceof the trusts. Effectiveness of the philosophy is also evident in thefight against big businesses in America. People formed militantunions, which participated in violent strikes aimed to pressure thegovernment into focusing on social issues such as safe wages and safeworking conditions.
Ithink women and children were the biggest beneficiaries of theProgressive Movement. The 19thAmendment afforded women the right to vote. Women also gained theright to control their earned money. The movement helped in curbingthe exploitation of children through the Keating-Owen Act. It onlyallowed children to work after school hours and those under the ageof 18 not to hold jobs hazardous to their health.
Itis therefore my view that the Progressive Movement’s vision was asuccess. The ideas and concepts of the movement are even evident inthe today’s society. For example, writers and journalists just asevident during the progressive era are today exposing government andcorporations’ ills, thus helping in fighting corruption.
Flehinger,B. (2013). The1912 election and the power of progressivism: A brief history withdocuments.Boston: Bedford/St. Martin`s.