The Progressive Movement had several goals. One goal was to get the average person more involved in politics. Through a series of reforms, politics was changed. The 17th amendment allowed people to directly elect their United States Senators instead of having them chosen by the state legislature. The recall allowed people to remove an elected from office before his or her term was up if that person wasn’t doing what he or she was supposed to do. The referendum gave people a say on proposed laws. With a binding referendum, the vote of the people was final. The initiative allowed people to be able to get their elected officials to introduce their ideas into a proposed law.
The Progressive Movement wanted to control the actions of big businesses. There was a concern that big businesses had too much power. By using the Sherman Antitrust Act, President Roosevelt and President Taft broke up many big corporations. The Clayton Antitrust Act prevented businesses from doing unfair business practices such as charging different prices to different customers. It also gave unions the legal right to form.
Helping workers was another goal of the movement. Workers had no compensation if they were injured on the job. That changed with the development of worker compensation laws. Workers faced unsafe and unhealthy conditions in factories. Health and safety regulations were developed during the Progressive Era. For example, fire escapes couldn’t be locked while workers were on the job. Laws were passed to regulate child labor. Kids weren’t allowed to work in certain industries under a certain age. Children were also required to attend school. Workers often worked long hours each day. Railroad workers got an eight-hour day with the passage of the Adamson Act.
Laws were passed to protect consumers. The Meat Inspection Act required the federal government to inspect and to approve meat before it could be sold. The Pure Food and Drug Act made it illegal for companies to sell improperly labeled food and medicine. These laws were designed to protect consumers and to deal with dishonest business methods.
The Progressive Movement had many goals. These goals were designed to protect the average person in many areas of life.