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Christian Selca
History 2
Mr. Smith
4/20/18

The Progressive Era was a time of social activism and political reform within the
United States during the early 1900’s. Many reforms were passed during this time and
many government officials took very responsible and key roles. ?The main objectives of
the Progressive movement were eliminating problems caused by industrialization,
urbanization, immigration, and corruption in government. Given those issues were the
main focus of resolution, the Progressive Era changed America because of the reforms
that were passed and the lengths that were reached in fixing the country.
The Progressive movement primarily ? focused on political machines and their
bosses and exposing corrupt businesses. By taking down these corrupt representatives
in office, the means of a direct democracy would be established. They also sought for
the removal of monopolies (which is known as Trust Busting) and corporations through
antitrust laws. These antitrust laws were seen as a way to promote equal competition
for the advantage of smaller business competitors (Allen 118). Other than the busting
of trusts, many food and drug companies were put under fire when the age of mass
media went through a rapid expansion of national advertising. Journalists would expose
many food and drug companies for their unsanitary and inhumane way of production to
the public. Journalists who specialized in exposing waste, corruption, and scandal were
known as muckrakers (Allen 145) . These muckrakers would often write for popular

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magazines to expose what goes on behind closed doors and share the information with
the public. The most famous piece of muckraking material is Upton Sinclair's “The
Jungle”. The 1906 novel exposed the unsanitary and unhealthy practices of the meat
packing industry and ultimately changed the public’s view on the meatpacking industry.
Muckrakers worked to expose social ills and corporate and political corruption.
Muckraking magazines not only exposed the food and drug industry but raised public
awareness of chronic urban poverty, unsafe working conditions, and social issues like
child labor.
After the assassination of President Mckinley, Theodore Roosevelt took office in
1901. Roosevelt had broad democratic sympathies thanks to his experience as police
commissioner of New York City and governor of New York state, he was the first
president to have an intimate knowledge of modern urban problems (Cohen 71). During
Roosevelt's administration he ?attempted to strike a balance between employers and
employees in labor disputes and pledged to give Americans a "Square Deal”. On the
other hand Roosevelt also ended segregation within New York schools. As well as
inviting African American Civil Rights Activist, Booker T. Washington to dinner at the
White House (Cohen 217). Other than Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson played an
important part of the Progressive Era and accomplished great feats during his
presidency which helped restore the American economy. Al ?though he achieved passage  
of a 1914 measure to create a Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the regulatory body  
became co-opted by business interests. Wilson lowered the tariff, introduced the  

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income tax, and instituted the Federal Reserve System to reform the national economy  
(Goodwin 101).    
 
Rather than government officials trying to pass reforms, the government itself  
had many reforms. ? The Progressives were dedicated to changing and reforming every
aspect of the society and economy. These significant changes were achieved at the
national levels which led to the inclusion of an income tax with the Sixteenth
Amendment, direct election of Senators with the Seventeenth Amendment, Prohibition
with the Eighteenth Amendment, election reforms to stop corruption and fraud, and
women's suffrage through the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Allen
140).

To conclude, The Progressive Era was a very significant and important time
period in the history of the United States. The reasoning behind it is due to the roles that
were taken by government officials like Roosevelt and Wilson, and the actions that were
taken in the matters of the people’s hands like muckrakers for exposing the food
industry and the passed reforms like the act of Trust Busting.

 
 

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