The Progressive Era

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The Progressive era was society¡¯s response to industrialization and it¡¯s by-products, by-products meaning urbanization, urban growth, corporate power, labor safety, widening class divisions, and humanitarian themes for immigrants and laborers. Unlike most movements this era wasn¡¯t brought upon by political parties but by the people. People formed private groups such as the American League for Civic Improvement or the Playground Association of America. Also unlike most movements, instead of one major group of people being the source of votes, the Progressive movement engulfed people from all over the social status line. Laborers, the middle class, women, and even the upper class were behind this radical change for America. Key people like Jane Addams and Gifford Pinchot fueled the fire for the Progressive era changing America forever.

The heavy industrialization of America brought upon near irrepressible corporate powers to this country. People like Andrew Carnegie, Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan dominated the market and influenced the nation like no other individual.

The laborers for these large businesses worked in poor conditions filled with safety hazards and minimal pay. The laborers also crowded to these factories in the overpopulated cities such as New York City and Chicago. When fired immigrants would take over the job for less pay. Such events brought upon great strikes and violence. Something had to be done. When all of American society was affected in the way businesses the people banded together to stop the chaos. The progressive movement was all about the regulation of business, no labor exploitation, federal intervention to help out the rest of America.

Inventors, philosophers, social theorists, and historians led the progressive movement laying down the groundwork for the future. They believed that intelligent disciplined people should lead America into its new age. Being methodical in their ways, they used scientific methods to solve...