What urban and social reforms did the Progressives favor in the late 1800s to the early 1900s?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Progressives saw many problems in our society. They tried to expose these problems so changes could occur. They were successful in doing this in many areas.

There were many social and urban reforms that occurred as a result of the Progressive Movement. It was a common practice for kids to be working in factories instead of going to school. Child labor laws were passed, and a government agency to monitor child labor was established. Child labor was forbidden in some industries, and kids were required to attend school. Laws were also established to make factories a safer place to work. There were few health and safety laws before the Progressive Movement began. Worker compensation laws also were passed. Also, zoning laws were passed to keep industrial areas away from residential areas.

The Progressives were concerned about the meat industry and the food and the drug industries. They saw very dirty conditions in the meat plants, and they saw that foods and medicines were being falsely labeled in order to increase profits. The Meat Inspection Act required the federal government to inspect the meat supply before it could be sold to the public. The Pure Food and Drug Act prevented the false labeling of foods and medicines.

New forms of local government were created along with other political reforms. The commission plan of government was one example of a new form of local government that gave voters more of a say about whom their leaders would be. The people also got the power to directly elect their U.S. Senators with the passage of the 17th amendment. The initiative, referendum, and recall were new methods that gave people a greater opportunity to influence the political process and to have more control over their elected leaders.

The Progressive Movement brought about changes in many areas. The Progressives wanted to speak up and make many changes, including social and urban ones, to help the middle class and the working class.