Nellie Bly: The Progressive Journalist

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The Industrial Revolution was a time of modification for the United States of America.
The old ways of life were scrapped, melted down, and reformed into a powerful machine of industry. But as the economy and boomed, society rotted and decayed. Poverty was rampant everywhere and death infested the cities. The Progressive Era served as a time in which the wrongs of the Industrial Revolution were righted. Journalists, politicians, suffragists, and more rallied to clean the filthy and corrupt machine the US had become. Nellie Bly was a member of the Progressive journalists, a muckraker, and made a great impact in reforms. Because of her defiant nature, experiences, and her achievements, Nellie Bly deserves a place as a key figure of
American history.
Motivation
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Bly’s expose brought the mentally-ill into the spotlight for the first time in American history. People actually became aware of and wanted to help a group once deemed unimportant. In a way, Bly changed the American people’s perspective on the nation, opening their eyes and revealing the suffering of the less-fortunate. Bly also made the American people realize how ignorant they were about the affairs of their country. In her later years, “She ran her own factory, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co., where she designed plant machinery, personally held 25 patents, and created ‘a model of social welfare for her 1,500 employees,’”(Stepp, 1995). As a businesswoman, Bly applied Progressive ideas directly to the area that began the problems of the Industrial Era.This made her a key player of Progressivism, reforming the lives of ordinary workers. Her patents are also seen today, changing industry for the better. Her accomplishments make her worthy of a place in history.

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