According to the Progressives who deserves greater protection, laborers or capitalists?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Progressives believed the laborers deserved greater protection because the capitalists had most of the power. The Progressives wanted to reduce the power of the capitalists while increasing the power of the laborers.

Progressives were concerned about the conditions the workers faced. The workers weren’t being treated well. They had long hours, low pay, and unsafe working conditions. Kids were working in factories instead of going to school. Progressives set out to change this by passing child labor laws, providing workers with compensation if they were injured on the job, and passing health and safety regulations that factory owners had to follow. Some workers got an eight-hour day. Compulsory school attendance laws were also passed.

Laws were passed and agencies were established to protect working class people. The Meat Inspection Act required the federal government to inspect meat before it could be sold. The Pure Food and Drug Act prevented businesses from falsely labeling foods and medicines. The Hepburn Act gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the power to set railroad rates. The Bureau of Corporations could investigate businesses while the Bureau of Mines could watch the activities of the mining companies. The Clayton Antitrust Act prevented the practice of price discrimination. This is when businesses charged different prices to different customers. The government went after big business mergers that weren’t in the best interests of the people of the country.

The Progressives believed the system favored the capitalists. Through a series of reforms, the Progressives set out to change the system to help protect the workers.

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