The Progressive Era Essay Examples and Topics

Essay Examples
Essay Topics
Brief overview

1869 - 1916



Main Information

The Progressive Era, which started in the 1890s and lasted into the 1920s, was a progressive movement towards a political and social reform in the USA. The purpose was to use the power of the federal government to impose fair and ethical business practices within all states, reduce the negative social consequences of industrialization, and eliminate corruption.

During this period, laws for protecting consumers and workers were passed, and the government finally granted women the right to vote.

Notable Characters
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Julia Lathrop
  • Jane Addams

The movement was born from people’s frustration from the negative effects of urbanization, industrialization, political corruption, and immigration. The progressives mostly belonged to the middle class. They strived to achieve a more direct democracy, first targeting the corrupt representatives in office. Many of the progressives advocated for alcoholic beverages prohibitions. The reforms also affected churches, railroads, finance, medicine, public education, and other aspects of society.

Major Achievements

There was a rapid growth of labor unions, which protected workers’ rights. Across the nation, the women movement pushed towards reforms in public health, child-saving, and women’s suffrage. There was a progress in the rule of citizenry over politicians, bosses, and circumvent machines.

Arguments For

The progressives stressed out major social issues, such as the brutal treatment of factory workers, unethical business practices, and women’s oppression. In general, a major social improvement was achievement during this era.

Arguments Against

The progressives were guilty of promoting discriminatory policies, especially during the period of Wilson’s administration. This racial agenda segregated the federal government and enabled the Ku Klux Klan to revive itself.

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