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The Progressive Period

America experienced rampant advances in industrialization and urbanization by the end of the Nineteenth century. The progressive period was characterized by rapid political reforms and social activism in the United States (Roosevelt 809). During this time, several hundreds of Americans migrated to the urban areas in the West while the Black Americans relocated to the northern towns.

Also, it is worthwhile noting that many people migrated to the U.S. during this period. The rich in the town enjoyed excellent social amenities and infrastructure in the cities, while the poor struggled on the farm to earn a living. The farmers experienced a number of challenges, which included declining prices of produce, expensive equipment, and increased competition. As a result of these shortcomings, the reform movement emerged to fight for the rights of the less fortunate.

After the assassination of President William, Theodore Roosevelt eventually took over as the president in 1901. Theodore was a well-gifted and talented leader, and his main vision was to end the chronic wrongdoings that were prevalent in the United States (Roosevelt 809). Electoral justice was one of the traditions that the progressives seemed to preserve. The main objective of the movement was to secure democratic principles in the electoral system. In those days, the leaders applied the nominal rule, and the rich had the added advantage of securing leadership positions, which, in turn, they used to satisfy their personal interests. The electoral system compromised the peoples’ will, as a result, the progressives advocated for equal participation of the people in the democratic processes for example, they advocated for the people to participate in the nominations to select the candidates of their choice to serve in the various offices (Roosevelt 809).

Moreover, the progressives were concerned about the industrial and social justice in the United States. The activists demanded the protection of gay rights as well as the rights of lesbians (Roosevelt 810). Also, during this period, there was rampant inequality, especially amongst women, and social stratification also dominated in the U.S. Women’s suffrage was another key issue that the progressives wanted to address during that era. Additionally, the industrial justice aspect encompassed labour market reforms and anti-trust laws. Roosevelt endorsed the Pure Foods and Drugs Act to ensure that the consumers’ rights were protected. Similarly, discriminatory monopolies existed that favoured unhealthy competition in the market, whereby the rich harvested high profits while the poor suffered as a result of the monopolies (Roosevelt 810). In addition, the progressives sought to redeem the working conditions for the labour force by advocating for fair pay, safety and health, and the right of the labour force to form unions.

However, the progressives viewed the state organs as the biggest threat to the moral traditions that they demanded. The special privilege representatives initially opposed President Taft’s tenure because he was a progressive. The special privilege representatives corrupted the excellent ideologies that the progressive leaders had in place to change the lives of Americans. For example, President Taft’s reasoning was altered by the senate members who infamously passed the controversial Rate Bill. The Rate Bill granted the administration the powers to control the railways’ operations in the past in an exploitative manner. This motion was spearheaded by Senator Aldrich. However, the progressives in the Senate teamed up and corrected the discrepancies in the bill, and the final draft was forwarded to the Commerce Court (Roosevelt 811). However, the bill still has some contentious clauses that still need to be repealed. Also, the issue of party loyalty was perceived as a threat by the progressives in that the Americans felt comfortable with the accustomed politicians. This means that most of them had little need to elect the new leaders who would represent them effectively in the government. The aspect of uniting the American people was also a challenge to progressivism because of the different social statuses and religious backgrounds of the Americans.

Basically, the government is the governing entity for all affairs that are conducted in the state or at the national level. Both the Senate and Congress play a vital role in ratifying legislation that governs the day-to-day activities of the citizens (Kerr 98). The government is the sole authority in that the citizens have to abide by the set rules, and failure of which often results in legal action. According to the progressives, a good government formed by proper electoral processes would change the discriminatory regulations that championed industrial and social injustices. Through this action, the treasured traditions in the society would be sustained, and the citizens would freely enjoy themselves regardless of their religious background. Also, it is the work of the government to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to facilitate free and all-inclusive elections where the electorate participates in the nominations of their potential leaders as opposed to direct leadership.

In conclusion, a better life for citizens relies on good governance. Bad governance is often characterized by high levels of exploitation whereby the rich continue to become richer while the humble suffer unsympathetically. The progressivism era changed the lives of Americans due to the liberal-minded citizens who participated in the fight for industrial, social, and electoral justice.

Works Cited

Kerr, Austin K. The Politics of Moral Behavior: Prohibition and Drug Abuse. Addison-Wesley, 1973, pp 97-102.

Roosevelt, Theodore. “What is a Progressive?” New Outlook 100, 1912, pp 809-814.



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