Discussion Topic

The impact and contributions of women during the Progressive Era

Summary:

During the Progressive Era, women made significant contributions by advocating for social reforms, including suffrage, labor rights, and education. Their activism led to the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, and improved working conditions. Women also established organizations like the National American Woman Suffrage Association and played crucial roles in the temperance and settlement house movements, significantly shaping American society.

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How were women affected in the progressive era?

Women were involved in many of the most well-known Progressive era movements. Jane Addams may have modeled Hull House after a settlement house in London, but her house was all-female, at least most of the time. Women also were at the vanguard of the temperance movement, which gained a great deal of traction during the Progressive Era. Several of the great muckrakers of the period were female, including Ida B. Wells and Ida Tarbell. These female reformers opened doors for other women, particularly in education, and helped create an atmosphere in which women could be granted the right to vote, the capstone of the Progressive Era.

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What role did women play in the Progressive Era and what reforms did they help implement?

Women played a central role in promoting and advocating reform during the Progressive Era. Many of the most important activists among the Progressives were women. Perhaps the highest-profile Progressive was Jane Addams, whose Hull House in Chicago provided a model for the settlement house movement in urban areas across the country. Hull House became a sort of mecca for Progressives everywhere, ranging from Florence Kelley, who became a leading opponent of child labor, to education philosopher John Dewey.

Women like Carrie Nation were highly visible in the temperance movement, which resulted in the prohibition of alcohol in many states long before the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified. Much of the ground work for temperance was done through civic clubs, which were seen at the time as legitimate political outlets for women. Women promoted almost every cause associated with Progressivism. Ida Tarbell was a leading spokesperson against the power of the trusts. Ida B. Wells wrote forcefully about the lynching epidemic in the South and was a tireless advocate for a national anti-lynching law. Of course, among the most significance of all of the political reforms of the Progressive Era was women's suffrage, won entirely because of the actions of suffrage fighters like Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, both leaders of suffrage organizations dominated by women. In short, the Progressive Era marked the most important, and most public, period of women's political and social activism to that point in American history.

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