Us History Essay

Submitted By Zhang29
Words: 694
Pages: 3

The Progressing Progressives The progressive reformation which last from the 1890s to World War 1 was characterized by the transition from personal action to political activism of everyday citizens. It was a movement that saw much success and accomplishment as it became the stepping stone foreshadowing what the United States looks like today. While naysayers point out progressivism’s flaw in encompassing too many social problems, this movement has also rectified much of those social problems. Progressivism, without a doubt, is one of the most successful social reforms ever. Prior to progressivism taking root, the country had adopted a policy of laissez-faire, in which the government did not regulate businesses and such. Without regulation, trusts and monopolies soon formed. As evident by the political cartoon, trusts were viewed as the harbinger of death(document A). The forcing of Uncle Sam off the ship symbolized the disgust common citizen viewed the government and its laissez-faire mindset. When the progressive president Theodore Roosevelt came to the scene, however, he helped to regulate trusts through his “square deal” and through the formations of regulatory departments such as the Department of Commerce and Labor and the Bureau of Corporations. Roosevelt, the “trust buster”, was widely held as the savior of the common people. The success of progressivism was also manifested in its influence on the food and drug industries. The food industry, particularly, was one of absolute filth and disgust prior to the
Progressive movement. Through Upton Sinclaire’s Jungle, the public became aware of the conditions under which their daily supplies of meat were packaged. Workers, whose “knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan” worked around the clock under inhumane conditions. There were also those “who worked in the chilling rooms, and whose special disease was rheumatism.”(Document F) In every turn of every corner, blood poisoning, tuberculosis, and other forms of diseases were readily available to be concocted. Through the Pure Food and Drug Act, no longer are such horrendous conditions legal. The first of a series of consumer protection laws passed in the twentieth century, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was a triumph of progressive reform. The Progressive Era also marked a revolution in child labor as well as the advancement of women in the workforce. When 147,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania went out on strike in May of 1902, the mine operators forced child labor. “Breaker boys” as they were termed, worked twelve-hour days removing rock and stone. Even some as young as seven years old, worked in dangerous conditions. From the propaganda depiction of these boys in Document D, it bears testimony to their distaste