DBQ: The Progressive Era

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DBQ The Progressive Era, 1900-1920, can be defined as a reform movement aimed toward urban and social change through improvements in the nation. This era stemmed from American industrialization and a population growth. Also, the Progressive Era emerged from past movements such as abolitionism, women’ rights, temperance, and the regulation of big businesses. Some of the main goals of the progressives included breaking trusts, ending political reform, bettering living conditions, and establishing voting reforms as well as banking reforms. The Progressive Era was not unique and was simply built from the efforts of the Gilded Age reformers since many of the issues dealt with corrupt businesses; nevertheless, the efforts of the federal government …show more content…
For example, as the Washington Post Cartoon illustrates, Teddy Roosevelt, the president of the United States, could destroy bad trusts and detain the good ones [Doc A]. The Washington Post Cartoon is directed toward an audience of businesses, informing them that the role of the federal government is to regulate organizations and that the government should be more powerful. However, it is only the bad trusts that are creating problems, while the good trusts are imposing no threat to the people. In response to the increasing power of businesses, President Theodore Roosevelt implemented a new domestic policy, known as the ‘Square Deal’. Through this policy, Roosevelt advocated control over consumer protection, corporations, and the conservation of natural resources. Roosevelt became known as a trust-buster, but nevertheless, he was more concerned with increasing the power of the presidency rather than tearing down monopolies. Roosevelt later continued to weaken the power of businesses with the Anthracite Coal Strike. This represented the first time in history where the government decided to side with the labor force, threatening to seize and operate corporations. Also, the Committee of Commerce developed, which settled disputes between labor and helped to break up monopolies. After his loss in the Election of 1912, Roosevelt announced a ‘New …show more content…
For instance, as Neill-Reynolds’ Report illustrates, conditions in the meat-packing industry were awful and some workers were sick with tuberculosis [Doc B]. Neill-Reynolds’ report was directed toward an audience of big businesses and the government, informing them of the poor working conditions, poor design of buildings, and few effective regulations in the meat-packing industry. Progressive reformer Jacob Riis also illustrated to the public the horror of peoples’ living conditions in his How the Other Half Lives. Muckrakers, reform-favored investigative journalists, would also produce works to gain the attention of higher authorities to illustrate the horrors the working class faced. Upton Sinclair was a muckraker, known for his creation of The Jungle, which was an exposé that highlighted the repulsions of the meatpacking industries. This greatly influenced President Roosevelt who in response drafted the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food & Drug Act to improve conditions. Other muckrakers who provided influence included Lincoln Steffens, who wrote The Shame of Cities which outlined the corrupt alliances between big businesses and local governments, Ida Tarbell and her exposé on the Standard Oil Company, and Frank Norris and his The Octopus and The Pit which highlighted the corrupt railroad companies. Henry Demarest Lloyd also criticized the Standard Oil Company

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