How did the Progressive era both expand and restrict political and economic freedoms?

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The Progressive era was a period of expansion and restriction for political and economic freedoms because women gained the right to vote and Black people were able to find jobs throughout the United States, but large industries faced regulations that restricted what they could do.

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The Progressive era saw the expansion of political freedoms for women. For decades, women had been advocating for the right to vote. In 1869, Elizabeth Candy Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to advance their cause. In the Progressive era, the work of activists like...

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Stanton and Anthony started to bear fruit. In 1910, the state of Washington granted women the right to vote. One year later, California made it possible for women to vote. A year after that, Oregon, Kanas, and Arizona also allowed women the right to vote. Finally, in 1920, the government passed the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave voting rights to all American women.

However, Black women and men continued to confront restricted political freedoms during the Progressive era. When they tried to vote in Southern states, they faced myriad obstacles, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and outright violence.

Economically, it’s possible to argue that the prospects of Black Americans expanded. During the Progressive era, something called the Great Migration occurred. Millions of Black people left the South and headed to cities in the North, the Midwest, and the West. In these places, they were often able to work in growing industries like steel.

For the railroad and meat industries, their economic prospects arguably contracted. During this period, government regulations prevented train companies from charging exorbitant fares and stopped meat industries from cutting corners when it came to production.

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