The Rise and Fall of Progressivism Essay

742 Words Oct 31st, 2008 3 Pages
The Progressives were a diverse group of people that wanted to offer practical solutions to the social problems that were associated with industrialization and urbanization. Progressives opposed laissez-faire economics, which led to a new movement to allow government and private groups to intervene and regulate business firms and private individuals for the good of society. In addressing these problems, Progressives organized their ideas and actions around three main goals. They sought to end abuses of power, supplant corrupt power with humane institutions such as schools and medical clinics, and they wanted to apply scientific principles and efficient management to economics (A People and a Nation, 569). Progressives wanted to make …show more content…
The Pure Food and Drug Act not only prohibited dangerously adulterated foods but also addressed abuses in the patent medicine industry (A People and a Nation, 586). This new law required that labels list the ingredients—a goal consistent with Progressive confidence that if people knew the truth, they would make wiser purchases (A People and a Nation, 587). Another important figure in the Progressive movement was Margaret Sanger. Margaret Sanger was the most outspoken advocate of birth control before World War I (Lecture, 9/24). Sanger helped to reverse state and federal “Comstock laws”—named after a nineteenth century New York moral reformer—that had banned publication and distribution of information about sex and contraception. Though she later gained acceptance, her speeches and actions initially aroused opposition from those who saw birth control as a threat to family and morality (A People and a Nation, 583). On October 16, 1916 Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn (Lecture, 9/24). In the first 10 days, the clinic saw nearly 500 neighborhood women. Sanger and her two partners were then arrested (Lecture, 9/24). In 1921 she formed the American Birth Control League, enlisting physicians and social workers to convince judges to allow distribution of birth-control information (Lecture, 9/24). The end of Progressivism came about near World War I.

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