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Evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay

Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. Political corruption seemed endemic at all levels of government.

An unregulated capitalist industrial economy exploited workers and threatened to create a serious class divide, especially as the legal system protected the rights of business over labor. Mass urbanization was shifting the country from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, industrial one characterized by poverty, disease, crime, and cultural clash.

Rapid technological advancements brought new, and often frightening, changes into daily life that left many people feeling that they had little control over their lives. Movements for socialism, woman suffrage, and rights for African Americans, immigrants, and workers belied the rhetoric of the United States as a just and equal democratic society for all its members.

Responding to the challenges presented by these problems, and fearful that without substantial change the country might experience class upheaval, groups of Americans proposed undertaking significant reforms. Underlying all proposed reforms was a desire to bring more justice and equality into a society that seemed increasingly to lack these ideals. Yet there was no agreement among these groups about the exact threat that confronted the nation, the means to resolve problems, or how to implement reforms.

Despite this lack of agreement, all so-called Progressive reformers were modernizers. All Progressivisms were seeking a via media, a middle way between relying on older ideas of 19th-century liberal capitalism and the more radical proposals to reform society through either social evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay or socialism.

Despite differences among Progressives, the types of Progressivisms put forth, and the successes and failures of Progressivism, this reform era raised into national discourse debates over the nature and meaning of democracy, how and for whom a democratic society should work, and what it meant to be a forward-looking society. It also led to the implementation of an activist state.

ProgressivesProgressivismsdemocracyreformjusticeequalitycapitalismurbanizationimmigrationcorruption The reform impulse of the decades from the 1890s into the 1920s did not erupt suddenly in the 1890s. Previous movements, such as the Mugwump faction of the Republican Party and the Knights of Labor, had challenged existing conditions in the 1870s and 1880s. Such earlier movements either tended to focus on the problems of a particular group or were too small to effect much change.

The Populists lost their separate identity when the Democratic Party absorbed their agenda. The reform proposals of the Progressive era differed from those of these earlier protest movements. Progressives came from all strata of society. Progressivism aimed to implement comprehensive systemic reforms to change the direction of the country.

Political corruption, economic exploitation, mass migration and urbanization, rapid technological advancements, and social unrest challenged the rhetoric of the United States as a just and equal society. Progressives did not seek to overturn capitalism.

  • Between 1898 and 1941, the United States invaded Cuba, acquired the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, took possession of Puerto Rico, colonized the Philippines and several Pacific islands, encouraged Panama to rebel against Colombia so that the United States could build the Panama Canal, invaded Mexico to protect oil interests, and intervened in Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic;
  • For political Progressives, good government also meant using professional expertise to plan city growth and reorder the urban built environment.

They wanted to replace an individualistic, competitive society with a more cooperative, democratic one. They sought to bring a measure of social justice for all people, to eliminate political corruption, and to rebalance the relationship among evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay, labor, and consumers by introducing economic regulation. Social Justice Progressivism Social justice Progressives wanted an activist state whose first priority was to provide for the common welfare.

Jane Addams argued that real democracy must operate from a sense of social morality that would foster the greater good of all rather than protect those with wealth and power.

Several basic premises that currently structured the country had to be rethought, and social justice Progressivism was promoted largely by women who lacked official political power. Legal Precedent or Social Realism The existing legal system protected the rights of business and property over labor. In 1895, the Supreme Court in Ritchie v. The Court confined the police power of the state to protecting immediate health and safety, not groups of people in industries.

New York, the Court declared that the state had no interest in regulating the hours of male bakers. To circumvent these rulings, Kelley, Josephine Goldmark, and Louis Brandeis contended that law should address social realities.

The Brandeis brief to the Supreme Court in 1908, in Muller v. When the Court agreed, social justice Progressives hoped this would be the opening wedge to extend new rights to labor. Oregon ruling had a narrow gender basis. It declared that the state had an interest in protecting the reproductive capacities of women. Social justice Progressives lobbied municipal governments to enact new ordinances to ameliorate existing urban conditions of poverty, disease, and inequality.

Women also secured municipal public baths in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities. Organized women in Philadelphia and Dallas were largely responsible for their cities implementing new clean water systems. Women set up pure milk stations to prevent infant diarrhea and organized infant welfare societies. Standard accounts of the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and pure milk ordinances generally credit male professionals with putting in place such reforms, but female social justice Progressives were instrumental in putting this issue before the country.

They argued that no society could progress if it allowed child labor. Julia Lathrop first headed the bureau, which was thenceforth dominated by women. The Supreme Court 1918 ruled the law unconstitutional because it violated state powers to regulate conditions of labor.

A constitutional amendment banning child labor 1922 was attacked by manufacturers and conservative organizations protesting that it would give government power over children. Only four states ratified the amendment. The American Medical Association opposed the bill as a violation of its expertise. Businessmen and political leaders protested that the federal government should not interfere in health care and objected that it would raise taxes. These venues intended to bring people together to learn about one another and their needs, to provide assistance for those needing help, and to lobby their governments to provide social goods to people.

This was not reform from the bottom; middle-class women almost always led these venues. Most of these efforts were also racially exclusive, but African American women established venues of their own. Hope urged women to investigate the problems of their neighborhoods and bring their issues to the municipal government. Despite these participatory venues, much literature on such movements emphasizes male initiatives and fails to appreciate gender differences.

They helped write national anti-child labor legislation, minimum wage and maximum hour laws, aid to dependent children, and elements of the Social Security Act. Such legislation at least partially fulfilled the social justice Progressive agenda that activist government provide social goods to protect daily life against the evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay of the capitalist marketplace. Political Progressivism Political Progressivism was a structural-instrumental approach to reform the mechanisms and exercise of politics to break the hold of political parties.

Its adherents sought a well-ordered government run by experts to undercut a political patronage system that favored trading votes for services. Political Progressives believed that such reforms would enhance democracy.

The plan advocated state-level reforms to electoral procedures. A key proposal of the Wisconsin Idea was to replace the existing party control of all nominations with a popular direct primary. Wisconsin became the first state to require the direct primary. The plan also proposed giving voters the power to initiate legislation, hold referenda on proposed legislation, and recall elected officials. Wisconsin voters adopted these proposals by 1911, 17 although Oregon was the first state to adopt the initiative and referendum, in 1902.

Political Progressives proposed shifting to merit-based government by experts provided by theoretically nonpartisan appointed commissions or city managers systems that would apply businesslike expertise and fiscal efficiency to government. They proposed replacing city councils elected by districts wards with citywide at-large elections, creating strong mayor systems to undercut the machinations of city councils, and reducing the number of elective offices. They also sought new municipal charters and home-rule powers to give cities more control over their governing authority and taxing power.

They attended national conferences such as the National Conference on City Planning, discussing topics of concern to political Progressives. The National Municipal League formulated a model charter to reorganize municipal government predicated on home rule and argued that its proposals would provide good tools for democracy. Bemis into his administration. They failed in Chicago. A new breed of politicians who appealed to interest group politics gained control rather than rule by experts.

When corporate interests challenged antipollution ordinances and increased government regulation as causing undue hardship for manufacturers, political Progressives countered with economic answers. Pollution was an economic problem: Des Moines 1915 ruled that there were no valid constitutional objections to state power to regulate pollution.

The Pittsburgh Ladies Health Protective Association argued that smoke pollution was a general health hazard. They demanded immediate strict antismoke ordinances and inspectors to vigorously inspect and enforce the ordinances. The league urged all city residents to monitor pollution in their neighborhoods. For political Progressives, good government also meant using professional expertise to plan city growth and reorder the urban built environment.

They abandoned an earlier City Beautiful movement that focused on cultural and aesthetic beautification in favor of systematic planning by architects, engineers, and city planners to secure the economic development desired by business. They proposed new street configurations to facilitate the movement of goods and people.

  • Women set up pure milk stations to prevent infant diarrhea and organized infant welfare societies;
  • The league urged all city residents to monitor pollution in their neighborhoods;
  • Their power lied mainly on the state level;
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  • John Dewey proclaimed it a war of peoples, not armies, and stated that international reform would follow its conclusion;
  • Picketers were arrested, Paul was put in solitary confinement in a psychiatric ward, and several women on a hunger strike were force-fed.

She stressed that no plan was good if it emphasized only economy. Simkhovitch and Florence Kelley organized the first National Conference on City Planning 1909 around the theme of planning for social needs. Simkhovitch was the only woman to address the gathering.

Evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay

All the male speakers emphasized planning for economic development. As architects, lawyers, and engineers, and new professional planners such as John Nolen and George Ford dominated the planning conferences, Simkhovitch and Kelley withdrew. Howe believed that democracy was a political mechanism evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive era reformers essay, if properly ordered and led by experts, would restore the city to the people. The key to achieving good government and democracy was municipal home rule.

Once freed from state interference, his theoretical city republic would decide in the best interests of its residents, making city life orderly and thereby more democratic. There people would apply democracy collectively and create an orderly society. Women and their ideas were consistently pushed to the margins of political Progressivism.

Adams, among others, filled the role of social science expert. Social scientists founded new disciplinary organizations, such as the American Economics Association. Commons, University of Chicago sociology professor Charles R. Andrews were prominent members. John Dewey promulgated new theories of democracy and education.

Professional social scientists composed a tight circle of men who created a space between academia and government from which to advocate for reform.

Abbott briefly held an academic position at Wellesley, but she resigned to join the other women in applying her training to social research and social activism.

Their expertise laid the foundation for the profession of social work. She was kept on at the university, but by 1920 the sociology department directed social sciences away from seeking practical solutions to everyday life that had linked scholarly inquiry with social responsibility.