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The Progressive Movement made a lot of headway towards achieving their goals in some areas. Here are three examples:
- They did a lot to clean up (from their point of view) state and local governments. They introduced the secret ballot in a lot of places. They got non-partisan and at-large elections in many cities. They introduced referendums and initiatives in many states.
- They also managed to get more control of the national government. They did this by having Senators be elected by the people.
- Finally, you can say that they achieved one of their big moral objectives -- Prohibition.
The Progressive Movement attempted to fix much of the negativity that had occurred during industrial growth. It occurred in the later part of the nineteenth century. Even though industry was booming, wealth was not fairly distributed. Just to name a couple injustices, there were horrible and very dangerous working conditions and children were forced to work. The Progressive Movement tried to change this.
Progressivism was successful partially to muckrakers. Muckrakers were writers who wrote about some of the horrible conditions that were going on such as child labor, poverty, and very dangerous working conditions in the industries. They brought these issues out into the open.
They also accomplished anti-trust legislation, though it wouldn't be enforced until later, as big corporations and monopolies were targeted under Teddy Roosevelt and Taft to follow him. They became a national movement that helped to get these progressive Presidents elected.
Progressives introduced the ideas of child labor laws, minimum wage, a 40-hour work week ("Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will" they would say) and they were the first to form unions and collectives. In addition to Prohibition, they were also eventually able to achieve women's suffrage, both constitutional changes that would become permanent.
I think that the Progressive thinkers did a great deal to ensure that all voices in the political discourse are heard and to promote the general welfare of American citizens. The reforms of the political establishment, ensuring that leaders are responsive the needs of its citizens and curtailing the abuses of those in the position of power cannot be ignored. At the same time, the emergence of a battle for workers' rights and the need to ensure that the relationship between industrialists and those who work to make the money for them is a bit more representative in terms of demands of work compensation, hours, and conditions. Finally, the idea of focusing on "how the other half lives" was not only something seen in the work of Jacob Riis, but actually a theme of the Progressives' movement with the work of the Muckrakers as well as the overall motivation of the movement.
In USA history progressive movement refers to the movement for economic, political and social reforms that began around mid 1890's and lasted upto entry of USA in World War I in 1917.
Rapid industrialization of USA during the nineteenth century caused problems that could be traced to factors like rise of business monopolies, dishonesty in politics, crowding of cities and development of slums, and poor working conditions of labour force. The progressive movement made considerable contribution in 1890's and early 1900, campaigning by many reformers helped in introducing laws aimed at reducing these problems.
The reforms of progressive movement included regulation of business practices, tax reforms, control on monopolies. The tax reforms included taxes based on income rather than property.
Many reformist politician occupying government offices also worked to end corruption in law enforcement, public transportation, and other city services. Also political powers of the voters was increased by legislation which gave them additional powers such as recall of a person from public office before his or her term ended. Also cities were given right to home rule. Under referendum laws the voters could pass laws without the need for the state legislature's approval, and overrule laws adopted by the legislature. The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution adopted in 1913, provided for the direct election by the people of U.S. senators.
In the area of social reforms many states passed housing regulations to help improve the conditions in crowded slums. Centres called settlement houses were established by reformists where reformers and slum residents met and worked to improve slum conditions.
To improve working conditions of labour state laws were introduced that required safety precautions in factories and provided for compensation to workers for injuries suffered at work. Also minimum wage were introduced by some states.
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