The Progressive Era

The progressive era spanned from 1890’s to 1920’s, the progressives were about eliminating the problems caused by industrialization, immigration and corruption in the government. The progressive mainly targeted the political machines. The progressive’s success in building alliances with the middle class and political parties gained the support of three presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. Over the next decade these three president had drastically changed the country within a decade.

The Progressives were trying to create a much safer work environment for the workers. The industrial leaders had exploited their workers. Giving them long hours and unsafe work conditions. The progressives saw that there is a need for a change in society. They wanted to end the exploitation of the workers and the stream of steady strikes. Progressives were about fairness and law and order. The progressives sought to help middle class business owners. Workers had no power and progressives fought to help create a better working environment.

Progressive era





As Henry Ford discovered by raising his workers’ wages to five dollars a day it had created a better society for both the workers and himself. Five dollars at the time was almost unheard of but by doing this the workers had more money to spend. This in return, workers had bought more things like vehicles. The sales for model ts went from 34,000 in 1910 to 730,000 in 1916. The price of his vehicles dropped from $700 to $300. All this had happened by paying his workers more money. If there were more regulations and laws like how Henry Ford paid his workers it would have created a better economy and society much quicker.  

I do believe there is a need for regulations. Companies should not take advantage of their power, using it to abuse workers. Government should regulate and create laws to help build a more fair work environment. Regulations and laws can create a better society. Though in some ways I believe government should not be deciding what a company can or cannot do, I most definitely think there should at least be laws. Laws that are for both the companies’ interest and in the workers interest. Making laws that will work for both I believe will create a much stronger nation.    

10 thoughts on “The Progressive Era

  1. I agree with your statement: “Making laws that will work for both I believe will create a much stronger nation.”

    Yes, protect the workers but also respect the businesses rights. Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the American Dream. People should be able to start and run a business with the hopes of becoming rich. But at the same time they shouldn’t be allowed to abuse their employees in any form or fashion.

    1. I agree! Laws to protect the workers are very important but there should also be some power available to the business owners. Power isn’t a bad thing however abuse of power is. Congress should pass laws that give business owners power but don’t allow them to abuse this power. I agree that there should be laws made to protect both the owners and workers to created a stronger unified nation.

      1. I do agree! The abuse of power can be so awful. It even happens with police officers. I do think that congress should grant business owners power but not the power to abuse there rights. The workers deserve to be protected at all cost no matter what.

  2. This was a very important era. Progressives noticed that workers were not being treated right and wanted to find a way to help them. They fought for the workers, trying to make their working environment better. Henry Ford is a great example of helping the workers help him. By raising their pay Henry sold more products. his business grew, and there was more money for his company benefiting everyone that worked there. This is a very good way to help your business grow along with keeping your workers safe.

    1. I thought that it was also very interesting that it worked in a “cycle” so to speak, that after raising the wages and allowing workers more of a paycheck to spend, some of it came back to him and even grew his business even more. It even seems as if this could help the business’s reputation. This is a good example of an entrepreneur taking a risk and succeeding in the outcome of the risk.

      1. I thought the same thing. Just by Ford increasing his employee’s wage by $5, which probably really wasn’t that much to him, it actually turned out to benefit both him and his employers. Regulations are always needed no matter what we are talking about. Large businesses and the rich will more than likely look for ways to make and sometimes at the expense of others.

  3. “Regulations and laws can create a better society.”

    I have to agree with you wholeheartedly on what you said here. Regulations and laws set forth by the government in the best interest of their people will in the end create a better society. However, if they do not have the entirety of their nation in mind when making these laws and regulations, they may not accomplish as much. In this time especially, laws and regulations were greatly needed because of everything that was going on in the corrupted big businesses. Nowadays, these regulations are still needed. However, they may not to be as strict. Today, we are not fighting for better working conditions as the Progressives were back then. Regulations and laws are created to be able to conform to the time period in which they stand, that is the beauty of America.

    1. We stand at a pretty hard crossroads in today’s government, for some reason cooperation is dead and you are either left or right, you cannot be both and cannot see the other side. For some reason the line in the sand is drawn to a ludicrous angle wherein you cannot be moderate and even the most rudimentary social policy is polarizing. The politicians are simply not allowed to agree with one another, and no one understands where that stigma comes from. Back in this era the politicians stood at a different level, and the wealthy were the only ones that mattered. Now as we continue to shake off this appalling wealth gap in our society we are left with this grueling battle of us versus them, there is no debate, there’s only “I’m right and you’re wrong.” I guess the old adage is that progress ends up being one step forward and two steps back.

  4. Well said! It’s unfair for companies to take advantage of both their power and workers who are just trying to make a living. Laws and regulations help create a more fair society and like you said, necessary for both the company and the workers.

  5. It is horrifying how poorly workers were treated so poorly for doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing. These Government Laws I personally believe are beneficial to everyone. As long as the Gov doesn’t find a way to be greedy, laws prevent employers from being greedy while providing safety and security for the people.

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