Essay on Political Reforms and How They Affected the American Lives

The Progressives brought a lot of changes to Americans lives. The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political as well as economic reform across the United States that spanned from the 1890s to the 1920s. The main goals of the Progressive movement were ending problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and political corruption. The Progressives were reformers who fought for necessary changes in American society. The Progressives caused social, economic, and political changes in American life. 

One thing caused by the Progressives was social reforms. These included civil rights and temperance. “I took the cane and began to smash bottles of intoxicating drink. Then I ran across the street to destroy another bar.” (The Fight Against Demon Rum, p50) Carry Nation was a progressivist who fought against alcohol abuse. She founded the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which lead to the 18th amendment, which was prohibition. Furthermore, “The Negroes of Illinois have taken counsel together for a number of years over Illinois's increasing lynching record. They elected one of their number to the state legislature in 1904, who secured the passage of a bill which provided for the suppression of mob violence not only by punishment of those who incited lynchings, but provided for damages against the city and county that permitted lynchings.” (Industrializing America, p155) In 1904, a bill was made that caused important reforms for African-Americans. Overall, the Progressives lead to positive changes such as alcohol bans and changes to African-American's lives.

Plus, the progressives lead to economic changes, such as stopping child labor and helping the poor. “When “Mother” Mary Jones started with her little “army” of child toilers to march to Oyster Bay, in order that the president of the United States might see for himself some of the little ones who had actually been employed in the mills of Philadelphia....” (Industrializing America, p153) Illegal child labor was very useful to the US economy, but the Progressive Mary Jones’s march helped lead to a constitutional amendment outlawing child labor to be ratified. “In a short time, Jane and Ellen won the friendship of their neighbors. “At Hull House, mothers could leave their babies while they worked. Boys or girls with time on their hands could join clubs or read books and newspapers.” (Industrializing America p149) The progressive Jane Addams created Hull House which made more people believe that society should help those who can not help themselves. So, the progressives helped make changes to the United States economy. 

Finally, the progressives caused political reforms, such as suffrage and control of big businesses. "All the officers here know we are making this hunger strike that women fighting for liberty be considered political prisoners; we have told them” (Ordinary Americans p158) Alice Paul went on a hunger strike for women’s suffrage, which led to the 19th amendment, which changed many American women's lives by giving them a say in what happened in their country. “Cartload after cartload of this waste would be dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat and sent out for people's breakfasts." (The Sins of Packingtown, p184) This refers to what happened in meat processing facilities, where the meat eaten by millions of Americans would be in disgusting conditions. When Upton Sinclair wrote "The Sins of Packingtown," he intended to show the poor treatment of the workers, he instead exposed how unsafe and unsanitary the meat packing industry was. After this, big businesses were controlled and regulated more by the government. In essence, these Progressives helped lead to many political reforms in America. 

In conclusion, the Progressives changed many Americans lives with social, economic, and political reforms. These Progressives were very important parts of Americans lives, and they fought for changes that were fully necessary. Without these Progressives, we would be living in a country that had many more issues than we already have, and these Progressives fought for change where it was needed the most.



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