The Progressives

Around the turn of the 20th century industrialism had made many changes to American life, it had changed how people worked, who worked, under what conditions and how well they were compensated. Many people found the conditions that businesses put their workers in were unsuitable and the people who sought for change were known as progressives. They wanted to stop the practices of businesses that left the workers in unsuitable conditions. They wanted to take children out of the workplace, the working conditions, and the compensation that the workers received.

The government should set hour laws and minimum wage laws to compensate the workers fairly for their work. With minimum wage, businesses are required to pay a certain amount to each worker hourly in order to create a standard of living for them. This would reduce poverty greatly by setting a bottom line. Setting an hour limit and including overtime would help discourage businesses from overworking its employees. It would also give employees a break from work, thus increasing their productivity during working hours. It would also be necessary to create laws to improve safety and to prohibit child labor. If stricter safety laws were to be put into action it would put companies more liable for accidents that happen on work time and create safer work areas. Restrictions on child labor would increase their opportunity for education and keep them out of jobs with dangerous working conditions. Laws like these are what progressives were pushing for and they were eventually put into place.


LII Staff. “Minimum Wage.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, 24 Oct. 2017,

In-text Citation

4 thoughts on “The Progressives

  1. What do you think the minimum wage would have been back in that time? How is this different from the world we live in today? Putting restrictions on child labor could really give more kids the opportunity for school and other things beside working.

  2. It is crazy to think that only 100 years ago, we were fighting to have set hours and minimum wage in the workplace along with prohibiting child labor. Seeing just how far our work laws have come since then is amazing. Today, throughout the world, around 218 million children work. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. Knowing that it is possible to prohibit child labor within our own country makes me hopeful that we are close to prohibiting it worldwide. To give children the chance to be children is a beautiful thing that I hope I can experience in my lifetime.

  3. I find it a great thing that the progressives got together and decided they wanted to get children out of the workplace. Among everything else they did, I think that had to have been the best. Children need to have time to be kids and enjoy life, once they grow up they’ll have the rest of their lives to work.

  4. Well written! You covered many of the main points concerning the progressives. I do have to wonder how they legally decided what minimum wage should be when they finally did enact it. Was it based on what rent, utilities, and food in this time costed? I completely agree with the progressives point of view, but at the same time most of those children were working because their families were so poor that they needed everyone to be helping out. Maybe if they had enacted a minimum wage effiently in those times then children wouldn’t have needed to help support their family.

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