Which three Progressive Era political reforms significantly improved the lives of Americans?

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I think it's impossible to fully reduce the Progressive Era down to only three reforms; there were actually a lot of different reforms, many of which have been deeply important in shaping American history.

To begin, I feel that the single most important achievement of the Progressive Era was the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which extended suffrage to women nationwide. This was one of the critical turning points in American history, granting women a direct voice in politics and, in turn, shaping the later women's rights victories that would follow.

Another critically important reform was the Pure Food and Drug Act, implemented under Theodore Roosevelt's administration. One can still observe the ramifications of this piece of legislation today, in the ingredients listings that are required to accompany consumable foodstuffs or the various levels of testing which drug companies are required to go through. Upton Sinclair, in The Jungle, famously described the unhygienic conditions present in the meatpacking industry: it was these kinds of conditions and abuses that this act was intended to combat.

I would say these two are quite possibly the most important and transformative in shaping American society, with a reach that extends into the present. Beyond these two, I think you can also make arguments for the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. However, be aware that discussing this reform can be a bit tricky, given that (depending on how you date the Progressive Era) the passage of this act can easily be viewed as preceding the Progressive Era entirely. That being said, at the very least, its specific enforcement as a weapon against big business was very much a hallmark of the Progressives. Consider the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, who would use it as a cornerstone of his trust-busting efforts.

In addition, I think the Sixteenth Amendment, which authorized Congress to levy an income tax, has had a profound impact on United States politics, in ways that are almost impossible to contemplate. Ultimately, consider that all governmental programs require funding and that the income tax has been a critical source in that funding, enabling the growth of the federal government and bureaucracy across the last century in ways that would have been impossible under earlier fiscal systems.

These are only a few examples. In any respect, these Progressive Era reforms have had a powerful impact in shaping American society, both in the short term and the long term.

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