The Growing Period in the American History

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The Progressive Era in the United States

The growing period can be followed back to 1890 with the start of Theodore Roosevelt in the political management of the United States (777). The revolutionary movement had its origins from cultural ailments and governmental corruption that demanded urgent actions. With the assistance of various reformers who had diverging, practical viewpoints, the movement could address cultural issues such as alcohol violation, child labor, federal corruption, business monopolies, women suffrage, and city slums. Woodrow Wilson had seen the improvement of the movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Condition of Slums and Streets

The slums and streets before the beginning of this period were in a miserable state. The condition's rational evidence is on the picture of Dens of Death (Jacob Riis, 1902). The picture shows how the houses were build and the type of building which would endanger people’s life. Immigrants were sleeping in quarters like the street Arabs in the Riis picture. (Jacob Riis, C. 1888). Garbage in the streets caused illness to people mostly children and even death. (283,284). Jacob Riis demonstrates the garbage thrown in the Baxter streets. (Jacob Riis, 1890). Addams addressed the condition in the street with the spirit of defending the poor. Also, she and other settlement leaders advocated for the reforms that would improve living conditions (785). The social gospel movement reformers also argued other Protestants to promote the living condition for the poor people in the urban areas.

Addressing Political Corruption

Political corruption was a social ill that was addressed by the progressive era. Mugwumps argued on the basis of ideals of an honest government (780). He demanded a patronage system whereby the issuing of the job was to be on advantages gained. Due to corruption in the government, there was and corporation, the working conditions were poor. For example, in the neckties workshop picture shown in the Jacob Riis demonstrates the unfavorable working conditions (Jacob Riis, 1890) However, the demand of Mugwumps was declined by the government as it overlooked on the issues facing urban areas such as crime, access to water and electricity and collection of garbage. Garbage was another threat that invaded streets but due to corruption in politics, the condition became worse (283). A clear and transparent political process was beneficial to the citizens as it would allow the exercise of democracy as argued by Steffens and other progressives. Corrupt political system and leadership were to be eliminated. To achieve this the process of direct primary, direct democracy, and recall were to be adopted in the states.

Women Suffrage Movement

Women suffrage movement which was developed to address the matter of women suffrage (784). Women were not given the right to vote. Constitution had to be made to include laws that fulfilled the feminist demand. Among the addressed demand was on the increase of pay to the employed women as addressed by Susan. Antony & Elizabeth Candy Santon (784). Many suffrage members were arguing that the right to vote was the main issue that women should campaign of. They insisted that women were as equal-minded as men. This would also create progress in the political system. (AWASA) President Wilson didn’t support this but Taff-Roosevelt supported the reformers' wishes and made women have the right to vote.

Child Labor

Child labor was also an issue of address in the progressive era. Necktie Workshop as demonstrated by Jacob Riis shows a picture of children (Jacob Riis, 1890). He also demonstrates the poverty in the “five cents a spot” which resulted in child labor (Jacob Riis, 1889). Roosevelt supported the working-class revolutionist by controlling the corporation which was corrupt and arrogant. This was through federal laws. The laws also regulated child labor.

Regulation of Business Monopolies

In addition, there were business monopolies. Jacob Riis demonstrates a picture of Necktie Workshop in which workers are working heavily (Jacob Riis, 1890). Through the progressive era reformers, scientific management in business was to be incorporated. This was Known as Taylorism (788). The aspect of Taylorism was introduced by Taylor and it entailed the guidelines on a performance standard. In his famous writing “Scientific Movement” Taylor stressed on the advantages of performance standard which would result in an increment in profit and production.

Temperance Movement

The other group of reformers like the middle-class women had been convinced by religious people on the issue of drinking and the demerits that come with alcohol abuse. in Jacob Riis picture C. 1890, effects of alcohol are well shown. (Jacob Riis, 1890) The movement formed for the campaign was the Women Christian Temperance union (WCTU). They persuaded people that alcohol consumption in saloons and other places would lead to family breakups (791). Another movement was the Anti-saloon league who were against saloons. After realizing that the closing of saloons would not reduce also abuse they campaigned for the abolishment of manufacturing of alcohol.

Impact of the Progressive Era

The progressive era was beneficial in the United States. It greatly yielded fruits in minimizing the social ills. Through the reformers and the united spirit of those in leadership political corruption was done away with, child labor was ended, there was an improvement in working conditions and business monopolies regulated for the benefit of the workers. Moreover, alcohol consumption was banned and women were allowed to participate in the political process.


Addams, Jane. Twenty Years At Hull House. 1st ed., Open Road Media, 2016.
Lane, James B. Jacob A. Riis, And The American City. 1st ed., Port Washington, N.Y., Kennikat Press, 1974.
Riis, Jacob A. How The Other Half Lives. 1st ed.
Riis, Jacob August. Children Of The Poor. 1st ed., [Place Of Publication Not Identified], The classics Us, 2013.

July 24, 2021

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