What tactics did Progressives use to cause social change? Explain each in detail.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Progressives used several tactics to bring about social change. One tactic they used was to expose the injustices in our society. Writers like Upton Sinclair, John Spargo, and Lincoln Steffens exposed issues with our food and drug industries, our use of child labor in factories, and our political system. When people read about these practices, they demanded changes be made. This movement included influential people such as journalists, teachers, and politicians.

Another tactic the Progressives used was to pass laws to bring about change. The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were laws passed that affected consumers in a positive way. The Federal Reserve Act was made to deal with the banking industry. The Adamson Act created an eight-hour day for railroad workers. Many laws were passed to help the average person.

The Progressives also pushed for constitutional amendments to bring about change. It is much more difficult to change the Constitution than to change a law. As a result of the Progressive movement, the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th amendments were passed. This included women gaining the right to vote and having people directly elect United States Senators.

The Progressives worked to bring about policy changes, especially in the area of politics. The initiative, referendum, and recall gave average citizens more opportunities to be involved in political matters.

As a result of various tactics and techniques, the Progressives brought about many changes in our society.

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