Essay by aznwondalandHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2002

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To many, it seemed as if America's development was too good to be true. Immigrants flooded in hoping for a better life and a new start. Politicians ran for office all with a better platform than the last. By the early 1900's though, reality struck American cities. Labor in the cities was tough, with unsafe conditions and long hours, all for a minimum wage that could only afford for the increasing slum apartments. Different companies took advantage of the same working class of the cities, usually overcharging them for services and lying to them whenever possible. With all this going on, the public turned to the government, but realized the corrupt system would never be able to help much. The government was filled with unqualified officials whom, after being banned from the spoils system, were still being bribed by companies, criminals, etc. for special treatment. Americans desperately waited in disappointment for the change they needed.

Muckrakers were those that felt it necessary to expose and change the corruption in US cities. Seeing how the Industrial Revolution, city growth and immigration contributed to corruption gave rise to a new progressive era, in which Robert Lofollete began at the state level, and muckrakers such as Upton Sinclair and Jane Adams took a further step.

The progressive era started in the west, where progressives believed that government is responsible for cleaning up the corruption caused initially by the Industrial Revolution. It was clear why progressives felt the need to clean up American society. Robert Lofollete, a Republican who fought for the rights of the farmer and laborer, began progressivism at the state level. His contribution helped start the progressive era successfully. Once elected governor of Wisconsin, he began his work. The Wisconsin Idea was one that changed legislation, where Lofollete...