The progressives were a formal organized movement of middle-class Americans that sought after the equality of social classes, while focusing on political issues and reform.

The progressives were very successful in reform. Once Roosevelt was elected as president in 1901, it became a turning point for the progressive era. Roosevelt assisted in the wage increase and hour decrease for the United Mine Workers, which was the first time a president stood up against big business. He also reinstated the power of the ICC to regulate railroad monopolies, convincing congress to pass the 1906 Hepburn Act (Keene, 541). The progressives successfully passed anti-trust legislation to prohibit monopolies.

The progressives achieved great success on many civil rights issues. The progressives, consisting of many women, supported the women’s suffrage association. By 1920, women had the right to vote, which shows how influential the progressives were.  Many pictures show the reality of kids working long work days in dangerous conditions; the progressives did not stand for this. They limited the number of hours children can work and improved the education system.

Another success was the unionization of all the important industries lead to increased wages and less hours per week. Dangerous mining jobs also had their hours reduced to 8 hours per day.

Based on my reading, I think the progressives doomed themselves when they did not help African Americans achieve the same civil rights. The progressives left them to fend for themselves and I think that took power from them.

I believe the government should step in and monitor work relations. If they did not do this, we would all be working 80 hour work weeks with hardly any pay. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer is big business. I read in the New York Times that 1 percent of the population has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. I think we are still a long ways from achieving a level playing field in terms of pay. I think a hands off policy would be successful on a small scale economy; however, with one as large as ours, we need government interference to help small business succeed against massive companies.

Monopolies are illegal unless it is single best way to receive a service or good, which is why the government needs to tax massive corporations at a higher tax rate compared to smaller corporations. Competition is the key for our economy. Work relations should be monitored by the government to ensure that people can afford the basic requirements needed in life.

 

Keene, Jennifer, et.al. Visions of America: a History of the United States.Volume 2, Boston: Pearson Education, 2015.