The Progressive Era… “Not the insurance company”


To better understand what the Progressive Era was all about it is a very good idea to know what progressivism is. “Progressivism is a broad term used to describe a shared philosophical approach rather than a formally organized movement, provided an answer to this threat.” (Keene, pg. 537) These problems were the main focus of the Progressives who wanted rights for all workers, including the rights of young workers. The wants of the people in this Era were met by government ideology which tried to prohibited these things from happening. The idea of the Progressive Era is a widely diverse Era of history which related back to social problems. These problems included things that would change the lives of middle-class workers around the United States.

According to an article found on Khan Academy, a very credible learning site used by a number of students across the U.S., the Progressive Era was kicked off in the late 1800s because “industrialization in the United States raised standards of living for many, it had a dark side.” (Khan Academy, pg. 1) This dark side caused the uprising of the movement which wanted to end all of the negative factors of what industrialization was promoting. Progressives believe that the use of regulations, incentives, and punishments could improve the life of humans during this time period. Although this view was the view of many people of the Era, political officials believed the federal government should keep its broad rules and let businesses do what is necessary.

The Progressives pushed for many things and succeeded, including many amendments added to the constitution which include: The Sixteenth Amendment which established a federal income tax, the Seventeenth Amendment which allowed for the direct election of Senators, the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited sales of alcohol and the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote.

The main push that many progressives had was for sanitation of foods and the entire environment of workers during this time period. This was pushed and the outcome was very successful with the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which guaranteed the purity and labeling of all food and drug products. The other point in which Progressives focused their attention was the working conditions and workers safety. Up to this point, jobs were filled with positions which were very dangerous for those daring enough to work them. The Progressives fought for things like hour laws, regulate safety, prohibit child labor, and set a minimum wage. They ended up succeeding in some of these areas. According to Visions of America, written by Jennifer Keene, “In 1914 Ford created headlines by offering male factory workers a five-dollar daily wage for nine hours of work (extended to female and male office employees two years later).” (Keene, Pg. 545) Ford tried to promote the use of minimum wage and hour laws to in turn get better productivity out of his workers. “Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, who both expanded the power of the federal government to impose regulations on private industry and implement protections for workers, consumers, and the natural environment.” (Khan Academy, pg. 1)

Although many regulations which may have seemed like a small amount to Progressives because of their vast focus and big picture mindset, these peoples hard work and dedication paved a way for what was going to come. After this era, we slipped into a mindset of the workers and made sure to fight for the rights of the people. Thanks to Progressives we were on to a safer, more beneficial workplace, which benefited not only the economy but also the country.

Works Cited

Alchin, Linda. “Theodore Roosevelt.” Progressive Reform ***, Siteseen Limited, 9 Jan. 2018, http://www.american-historama.org/1881-1913-maturation-era/progressive-movement.htm.

Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a History of the United States. Pearson, 2015.“The Progressive Era.”

Khan Academy, Khan Academy, http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/age-of-empire/a/the-progressive-era.

9 thoughts on “The Progressive Era… “Not the insurance company”

  1. You did a great job explaining the effect that the Progressives had on America. You stated, “many regulations which may have seemed like a small amount to Progressives because of their vast focus and big picture mindset, these peoples hard work and dedication paved a way for what was going to come”. I agree with this statement because all though not all of their efforts were successful, Progressives brought many positive changes to America and helped shape our nation. You also mentioned how government intervention in the workforce was a positive because it ensured better productivity of workers and ensure their safety. I agree because workers do not want to work in an unsafe and torturous environment. Great job!

  2. This was a nice blog post to read, and I liked the funny title. You did a great job explaining who the Progressives were and what they pushed for. I agree with a lot of what they pushed for. I can’t imagine if the amendments like the nineteenth amendment did not get passed during the Progressive Era. I wonder how long it would have taken if it never happened then. Along with women’s voting, working conditions and workers safety is so important. It was about time for people to stand up and fight for their rights. If I lived back then, I feel like I would be a Progressive. A hard-working mindset is important in being able to make a difference in the world.

  3. Excellent post! i really like how you went to other sources to further explain progression. its amazing that some of our daily life standards( like clean and healthy food products) came from this era.
    another good point that you made was how political machines just got votes by “buying'” the voter, or giving them incentives that only benefitted the voter, and it was the progressives that promoted and took head of the changing of this daily norm for the better nation.

  4. In knowing the progressives wanted to turn America into a middle-class paradise where economic security, education, health, and civility flourished as illustrated by Keene in Visions of America, I’d agree with your statement of : Progressives believe that the use of regulations, incentives, and punishments could improve the life of humans during this time period. I also felt that relating the different amendments made, showing how Ford tried to establish regulated work conditions, and the progress made towards food sanitation all gave insight on the impact the progressive era had on our country. Lastly, showing a connection between what these movements did then although they may have seemed minimal at the time to what it means for us as a country now added a well rounded conclusion to your blog.

  5. You did a great job explaining what the Progressive Era was and why it was important. I think it important to realize how the past has affected today’s world and why things are the way they are now. I’m glad the progressives pushed for these regulations because I can’t even begin to imagine what the workplace would be like today without them. Would it be the same as it was in the past? Would we still be placed in dangerous and unsanitary workplaces? Or would another group after the progressives strive for change again? Also, you did a great job encorporating your sources into the blog.

  6. You did an amazing job explaining to the reader who progressives were and what the progressive era was. Its always good to know that if the progressives didn’t take action, modern America would not exist as we know it today. Good job fitting the definition for progressivism into your post, to ensure the reader knows what you are referring to while reading. Overall, it was a great blog to read and I really enjoyed it.

  7. I think this blog is very important because you emphasized the impact of the progressive era. I think it’s important to read because from this, I gathered that with a “vast focus and big picture mindset” you can accomplish a great amount of change. A good perspective to read when considering today’s social issues.

  8. This was an excellent post! Very informational and understanding. I think one of the best things that came from the Progressives was not only the 19th Amendment, but also the Food and Drug Act of 1906. I think a lot of people don’t truly get how important that is, especially lately with all the recalls! If it wasn’t for the Progressives, I don’t know what kind of world we would have. I really appreciate this era because of the 19th amendment as well. I feel that everyone has a voice and should be heard. If women were good enough to raise children during this time and work then they deserved to put out their voice and vote. Thank you for such a good informational blog!

  9. Good post! I like how you started out explaining what progressivism is. It added a good touch. You stated your facts clear, formal, and did well citing your information.

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