The Progressives

The Progressive Movement began as a social movement and soon grew into a large political movement. The people that were a part of the Progressive Movement rejected the ideas of Social Darwinism, the theory that people are subject to the Darwinian law of natural selection. Social Darwinism was used to justify racism, sexism, imperialism, and was even used to discourage reform. The Progressive Movement combated this belief, stating that poverty, racism, and classism could all be addressed through better education and an efficient workplace, rather than just accepting it as natural selection. The Progressive movement focused on better working conditions, exposing corporate greed, and urging people to register to vote.

The Progressive Movement was attempting to eliminate problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, and corruption in the government by fighting for regulations. By regulating big businesses and certain parts of the government, the progressives were hoping to achieve pure democracy, where the people decide on political initiatives directly. Many progressives also supported prohibition, some for religious reasons and some to destroy the power that saloons and bars had at the time.

The progressives wanted to reform the government to eliminate the corruption, inefficiency, and injustices that were seen during the Gilded Age. This movement was able to create the sixteenth amendment (income tax), seventeenth amendment (direct election of Senators), eighteenth amendment (election reforms), and nineteenth amendment ( women’s suffrage).

The government should institute work laws to keep workers safe and ensure that they are productive in their jobs. The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) requires employers to pay at least the federal minimum wage to employees who are not otherwise exempt. It restricts the hours that children under the age of 16 and forbids the employment of children in jobs that are deemed dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970) requires the workplace to be free of serious hazards and enforces inspections of workplaces to ensure that they are safe. By enacting these laws to protect workers, jobs are able to be accomplished in a safe and effective manner, pleasing the employer and employees.

“Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor | U.S. Department of Labor.”
United States Department of Labor,
“The Progressive Era (1890 – 1920).” House Un-American Activities Committee,


9 thoughts on “The Progressives

  1. What times of reforms were the progressives making to reduce corruption in the government? The Progressives really did a good job on exposing corruption, getting voting participation, and help the workers? Great examples with stating the acts and explaining the acts.

  2. It is hard to imagine our nation before the progressive movement. We are so cozy in our rights, but we forget what this nation has endured to get there. The nation has done so much meaningful protests for the rights of women, minorities, and children.

  3. I can’t image living back then, we enjoy many rights that progressives fought for. It really shows the strength of belief and what people are willing to do to achieve what they believe in. It was an informing blog and I strongly agree with the points you made about the Progressive Era. Great Job.

  4. It’s a good thing the progressives got together for this movement. I really couldn’t imagine what the work force would be like today if the progressives got together. I wonder if anyone else would’ve stepped up to put an end to the unacceptable working environments, or when they would’ve finally done so.

  5. Although so many rights and regulations were created by the progressives there are still some people who don’t always follow those regulations, for example businesses don’t always follow regulations for safe working environments.

  6. I feel that restricting kids under 16 to a certain amount of hours is a good thing but some situations require for kids to work more, and some kids want to work more so that they can save up. Having laws for overworking kids is a great thing but i also feel that it fails in some places.

  7. I agree with the Progressive movement. I think that with a better education, many of the worlds problems can be solved such as ongoing racism and sexism. I also think that the sixteenth through nineteenth amendments were good steps forward to completing the goal of a more unified nation. I also agree with the statement to protect the children working but who’s to say what the appropriate amount of hours would be?

  8. The progressive era was a very good time in America. If we didn’t have it who knows what it would like today without the work regulations. It is also is a good thing they made the child labor laws.

  9. It a wonderful thing that this happen because I could not imagine working in some of these conditions. Being under the age of 16 and working in these conditions would have been even crazier.

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