Progressive Reform In The 1920s
The contest regarding federal support for health care programs for women and infants personifies the transition from Progressivism to more conservative ways of thought regarding the role of government. This transition from Progressivism to conservatism was one of the leading dynamics of the
1920s. Although the middle and late 1920s saw a resurgence of conservative thought, Progressive ideas about reform would continue into the early 1920s. Grassroots campaigns by the newly formed League of Women Voters, along with a variety of other women’s clubs and Progressive organizations, seized the message of military preparedness. They sought to convince voters that prenatal care and other health programs were vital to the nation’s well-being. Even conservative groups such as the Daughters of the
American Revolution joined the chorus of voices calling for federal intervention to improve prenatal and early childhood care. In response, Congress approved the Sheppard-Towner Act in 1921. The Sheppard-
Towner Act was based on a bill introduced by Montana congresswoman Jeanette Rankin in 1919.