Progressivism back in 1885-1915 was a pretty complicated time. A divide between the classes is what helped form the progressive party. Men and women back then did not have all of the rights that they deserved. Women did not have the right to vote, and in the workplace they certainly did not make as much as men did. But, there was one political party that believed women deserved the right to vote and deserved to be paid fairly for the work they did. They also believed that the working class/middle class deserved to have a say in how long they worked and what they were paid. The progressives wanted the middle class to be a very safe area, and thought they should have economic security and education. Theodore Roosevelt was one of three consecutive presidents that believed in this idea. He, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson all pushed to reign in big business for reasons that they thought would help preserve our earth and keep our people safe and working for many years to come.
One big thing that Theodore Roosevelt did, that really had an impact, was declaring that he strongly favored labor unions. Especially if he were a wage worker in a big city. This whole thing was brought about by the coal miners strike on May 12, 1902, where 140,000 miners walked off the job because they felt that they deserved to work less hours and have a pay increase. Doing this put a major pinch on factories of all kinds. It forced them to close, which put even more people without a job. Families were barely getting by because of the loss of their jobs. In some places it got so bad that families started cooking their food with oil soaked asbestos, which is common in old insulation and known for killing many people today.
The progressives were not a very successful political party. They could not get the backing they needed to make a long term political party. Today there are only two political parties, and they do not have anything in common with the political parties back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Today I would not trust either party to make the needed regulations on how many hours we can/should work. I do believe the government should have regulations on minimum wage, safety and child labor because those things all should have a common basis throughout the workforce. Most people working in construction, in factories, as a teacher, or in an office should have common values when it comes to staying safe and minimum wages. But as a group, when it comes to hourly wages and hours worked, we should be able to form unions and groups to do what the majority of the people want.