The Progressives wanted the American middle-class society to have economic security, education, health and civility. Progressives argued that people living in poor conditions and poor work conditions were a problem for the nation. The Progressives were made up of a higher class of men and women. This was still at a time where women were not quite looked at as equals to men. Those women made a large difference for the children of this time. One particular thing that they did for women and children was the lobbying for clean and safe milk. Kids often love milk and the women wanted the milk to be pasteurized and wanted distributors to stop putting chalk in the milk to make it appear white and clean (Keene, Cornell, O’Donnell 538).
The Progressives were successful at limiting work hours, reducing work place accidents through safety regulations and improving child labor laws. Sanitation and garbage collection were improved, decreasing the number of saloons and creating playgrounds helped them make some of their ideas a reality. (Keene, Cornell, O’Donnell 538) The Progressives knew that the children were the future generation and they wanted them educated instead of constantly working. Many factory owners did not like the new child labor laws because they were losing their workers. Children are always the future of the society and if they spent all of their childhood working and not being educated, then where would the nation be when they are the leaders?
Industrialists liked the idea of the Laissez-faire because they had the right to run their company how they wanted to without the interference of the government. This could be a pro if it was done right. No one really likes to be told how they have to do something, but without someone telling them the ethical and safe way of doing things, shortcuts are often taken and safety precautions are usually gone, so that would be a major con for safety and regulations. The Socialists wanted to nationalize all major industries and they thought that the Progressives were being timid (Keene, Cornell, O’Donnell 538). The Socialists idea could be a pro because then everyone should be following the same rules, but a con would be that there are many loop holes that the industries could use. That would be a lot of industries for the government to watch and at that time in history they did not have the technology that we have today to keep an eye on every business. A law is put into place to protect people but some people may not see it that way if they are not thinking the same way that the law is.
The Progressives seem to be in the middle of the two ideas from the Industrialists and the Socialists. The Progressives wanted a balance between the government and the economy. I would say that they had to the best idea out of the three because it was good for the government and the working man. The government works for the working man and the working man works for the government, there must be a give and take and the Progressives had a good idea on how to do that
Keene, J. D., Cornell, S., & ODonnell, E. T. (2010). Visions of America: a history of the United States. Boston: Prentice Hall.