The Progressive Movement

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The progressive movement was a number of movements which all focused on the problems created by the steadily growing urban and industrial world. Progressivism can be considered to some, as the first modern reform movement. This movement attempted to bring order and efficiency to a world that had been changed by its speedy expansion and new technology.

Many of the progressives were known as muckrakers. Muckrakers were a group of writers who showed corruption and other evils in the American society. One well-known muckraker was Lincoln Steffens. Steffens was a young journalist, living in California, who wrote articles that exposed the connections between corrupt politicians and urban businessmen. Another established journalist was Ida Tarbell. Tarbell had grown up in western Pennsylvania, close to the first oil well in the United States. Tarbell released several books, when she finally began to focus on the Standard Oil Company and John D.

Rockefeller. Tarbell's exposure of Rockefeller's cruel ways united many people in the fight for reformation. The progressives worked to solve many issues of the American society during that time. Child labor was the most troublesome sight to the progressives. Florence Kelley played an important role in the reformation of child labor. In 1899, Kelley became secretary of the National Consumers League, which was created at the suggesting of an Alabama clergyman, Edgar Gardner Murphy. In 1912, progressives persuaded Congress to organize a children's bureau in the Department of Labor. Along with the child labor laws were the striving efforts to limit the hours of women's work. In 1908, a vital court case appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court. A friend and coworker of Kelley's, Josephine Goldmark wrote the summary for Muller v. Oregon, that her brother-in-law, Louis Brandeis, used when he presented the case. The court affirmed Oregon's ten-hour law...