The Progressive Era

Progressivism was the wide spectrum of social movements that include environmentalism, labor, women’s rights, animal rights, social justice and political ideologies such as anarchism, communism, socialism liberalism and social democracy.  As we all know progressives wanted change. They wanted to see a change in the great divide of the classes of society.  Poverty was the catalyst for this strong movement.  Long days and an unsafe working environment, coupled with a small wage, drove the working class to a hope for change.

It can be considered somewhat of an oxymoron to use the terms “progressivism” and “regulation” in the same sentence, however it was the lack of regulation that drove the Progressive Movement.  Laborers were sentenced to long working hours, unsafe working condition and minimal pay.  Many could not live on the wage of a husband and wife, and therefore had to send their children into the work force.  This allowed the power of the business owner to grow exponentially. Children were paid even less than their adult counterparts, therefore more work got done, the business owner got richer, but the working conditions remained unsafe and unfair.  The Progressives worked to limit the age of the workforce, safer working conditions and higher pay.

Due to horrible working conditions, long work hours and low pay, the government should set working hours laws, regulate safety, prohibit child labor, set a minimum wage, and institute other work laws. This would limit business owners from abusing their powers over the employees and the government from being corrupt in dealing with the businesses. This also protected women and children from bad working conditions. Government regulations were key essentials to the working class.

The Progressive Movement played a very big and important role in the United States. It now what makes up safe working laws with organizations like OSHA. They mandate the safety in work places. The government also mandates fair pay and regulates hours worked. It also governs the work age laws as well. Children now have to be a certain age to enter the work force. Most of all business owners and big corporate organizations can no longer take advantage of the hard working men and women of the United States.

Work Cited:

Visions of America: A History of the United States, Combined Volume, 3


20 thoughts on “The Progressive Era

  1. Yes, thank god for the progressive movement! I could not imagine having to work under those conditions. Or imagine having to send my son to work every day. Knowing, first of all, that he’s just a child having to work and lose education, and second of all, having to work in those harsh environments!

    1. I agree, it must have been awful until those regulations were put in place. Especially since children (and women) were paid at lower prices than men, and that some families relied on the small amount that the children brought in to continue paying bills and such. It’s a shame that so many kids had their childhood taken from them as the life of a worker exposed them to things that made them more mature than their actual age.

    2. The progressive movement was completely helpful to those who pushed for the change. Even though tge pish was made for mainly the children and women. Everyone benefited from it. Harsh work conditions, and low pay were the minor problems. Children that were just absolutely to young to be working should be more involved with thier education and extra curricular activities. The children were learning to become self-efficient at a young age working low paying jobs, which shouldnt have been allowed.

  2. The progressive movement was very important for where we are today as a country! If situations were still the same in modern day factories and work places it would be a nightmare. Thanks to this we have much safer working conditions and are getting paid decent wages for working in these conditions.

  3. Without the progressive movement there still would be no regulation in businesses and other aspects of the workplace. I think that setting these labor laws began to change society. With more free time and money that came from the shift regulations and minimum wage, Americans became to participate in other activities that were more for fun and pleasure. The progressives made workplaces the safe environment that we can enjoy today.

  4. I appreciate the fact that you showed the correlation between progressivism and regulation. This was the earliest goal of the movement, and it has evolved into what it is today. Whether or not that change is good or necessary is left up to the situation.

  5. The progressive movement played an important role in our rights as workers today. I don’t think its fair that young children should have to work they should be in school learning. the laws have come a long way since then. I’m thankful that we have the working laws that we have now.

    1. I think we show our increase in graduation rates because of the progressive movement. During these times children were dropping out of school in eighth grade to help the family make money. Today we have laws in place requiring children to stay in school until a certain age instead of them going into the work place at such a young age,

      1. I agree, It is sad to think children had to work to help support their own family. Then to miss out on an education, and have to work in dangerous conditions to get paid next to nothing. I am very thankful for the laws that we have now requiring children to stay in school until a certain age. We also have laws saying they have to be a certain age to be able to work.

        1. I couldn’t imagine having to send my child to work. They would miss out on so many social aspects of life, such as school. Education is a very important aspect of life. Work was the only thing that many of children knew during the progressive era.

          1. Education is the reason we as a country have been able to advance. The more and more educated a country becomes, the more it flourishes and the higher it climbs in the global environment. If we hadn’t forced kids into higher levels of education and never would have changed our labor laws, there is a very likely chance we wouldn’t be as successful today.

  6. I couldn’t imagine having to work in unsafe workplaces and having to fear for your life every time you went to work. The Progressives did a great job in shaping the future of our country and making fair laws for everyone.

  7. It is so sad that children had to work at such a young age in poor work conditions, working long hours with little pay. Thank God for the progressive movement coming into effect helping regulate working hours, hourly wages and working in better conditions. Children are able to go to school where they should’ve been in the first place. What would this world what’ve been like without the progressives.

  8. I couldn’t imagine it either!! I’m also glad that the progressive act came about! No one should have to work in such harsh conditions. Children should not have to work, they should be able to enjoy their childhood and focus on their education. This blog was well written!

  9. This is why the Progressives were so hard to define and explain. They covered so many goals and groups of people that it was impossible to make a set of words that defined their many actions. The Progressive Movement was so important for the country and marked a clear turnaround in the way the United States ran. It’s hard to imagine what this country would be like without the Progressive Movement.

  10. Progressives were a massive and diverse group of people sharing similar ideas under a umbrella name. Many of these individuals wanted the same things, but some were vastly different. Some Progressives were concerned with only one issue, some wanted women’s right to vote but didn’t care about segregation while others fought for racial equality and didn’t care about women’s right to vote. The one binding point that drew these groups of individuals together was the notion of change.

  11. I think the progressive movement was not only perhaps one of the greatest achievements during the industrial revolution but also a real turning point that marked the beginning of the modern era as we know it. It was the birth of the many political ideologies that would define the 20th century (Communism, Socialism, and so forth) and established working conditions that to this day we take for granted as well as imagine them as basic rights to all workers.

  12. America has come along way from having horrible work conditions and kids that are around five to seven years old, paying them less than what the adults were being paid per hour, to having a set minimum wage for everybody who is in the workforce. I agree with the fact that kids need to be a certain age before being able to work because when you’re under sixteen I believe that you should be spending time with your family as much as you can before you work your life away

  13. Your blog was very detailed this week, i love how much work you put in it. It know that it was very difficult for the hard working men and women of this era. I agree that having kids in school longer will help them in the future. It will also help them find jobs and secure there future. I believe that the progressive movement was very important to our society. Very nice job this week.

  14. The progressive movement led America out of the terrible times brought on by the industrial revolution. Moving away from child labor and putting the children in schools instead will benefit society in a more impactful way. This will allow for growth in jobs as more people will have their minds more developed and advance their jobs into careers. The progress movement was very important to American society.

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