How would you describe the successes and failures of the progressive era? What were some of the successes and failures?
In looking at the Progressive Era, there were many successes and a few failures. The successes centered on dealing with many of the problems that existed in our society.
One success of the Progressive Era was getting people more involved in politics. As a result of the 17th Amendment, the citizens began to elect the United States senators instead of the state legislatures doing this. With the 19th Amendment, women received the right to vote. Citizens could introduce legislation in the state legislature as a result of the initiative. Citizens could remove elected offices from office before their term was up as a result of the recall. Citizens could vote on proposed ideas as a result of the referendum. The Progressive Era helped citizens become more involved in politics.
The Progressive helped workers. Working conditions in factories were poor. People worked long hours often in unsafe conditions. As a result of the Progressive Era, worker compensation laws were passed to help workers who were injured while working. Health and safety laws were passed to improve the dangerous conditions that existed in factories. Child labor laws were passed to reduce the number of kids working instead of going to school. Compulsory school attendance laws were also passed.
The Progressive Era was responsible for taking on big businesses. The presidents of the Progressive Era broke up many big businesses. These businesses used a variety of arrangements to reduce competition and increase prices. Laws were passed to regulate the actions of businesses. The Bureau of Corporations could investigate businesses. The Hepburn Act allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to set railroad rates. The Meat Inspection Act allowed for the federal government to inspect meat that was processed in the meat factories. The Bureau of Mines allowed for monitoring of the mining companies. The Clayton Antitrust Act prevented price discrimination by businesses.
One area of failure was the lack of help provided to African-Americans who were facing discrimination. The Jim Crow Laws continued to exist. Lynching continued to occur. African-Americans were not able to see a significant improvement with the inequalities that they continued to face.
While unions were allowed to exist as a result of the Clayton Antitrust Act, it wasn’t until the National Labor Relations Act, called the Wagner Act, was passed during the New Deal that unions really began to benefit from laws that allowed unions to exist.
The Progressive Era had many more successes than failures. Much was accomplished to improve conditions in our country during the Progressive Era.