Custom «The Progressive Era» Essay Paper Sample
This was a period marked with significant economic, political, and social changes. It began from late 1800's and ended at the beginning of 1900. The American citizens worked hard to seek solutions to their problems. The government addressed the challenges by formulating and adapting policies that would aid in eliminating the issues affecting the then society. The progressives were people in the forefront who worked to solve America's problems. They made the public be aware of the problems. This then resulted in the government passing laws to deal with the problems. Some of the problems that the progressives were pushing to be addressed included excessive alcoholism, child labor, corruption within the authorities, slums, poor nutrition and the suffering of women (Burt, 2004).
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A movement could be started at a local stage. In the long run, this proved to be fruitful as it came from the very depths of the country. Afterwards it advanced to cover the state and finally made a national outfit. The progressives mobilized people of various classes to support their course and to propel the era. Most people embraced scientific and technological advancements which were applicable in various societal areas of governance, industrialization, finance management, medical fields, education, family life and others. Modern science was seen as a tool to improve the living standards by making life more easy and comfortable. Education was improved, medical healthcare was upgraded and industrialization grew because of science and technology. The innovation and invention of machinery fostered convenience. However, Americans did not bring all the developments by themselves. They had to borrow ideologies from the Western European countries. They adopted various economic policies including those governing banking and financial systems. They felt the previous ones they had were not effective and saw the need for change.
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The previous era called Gilded, was characterized by massive corruption and incompetence in the public realm. The progressives felt that they could not live with this and acted to press for reforms. The progressive reforms included introducing the income tax which was backed up by the 16th Amendment. Senators were to be elected directly according to17th Amendment, prohibition of alcohol was enacted by the 18th Amendment while the emancipation of women was brought about by the 19th Amendment of the constitution.
A wise way devised and used to tackle corruption was involving the media. Journalists published scandals and shamed those responsible in the national dailies. This jolted and influenced the government to come up with lasting resolutions to the scandals as well as deterring potential ones. It was embarrassing for one to appear in national dailies as a corrupt individual. This made civil servants to refrain from corrupt practices (Gould, 2001).
The spirit of democracy was upheld while political chiefs' privileges were gradually suppressed with time. Citizens could rule more directly because their participation in governance was increased. For instance, the 17th Amendment allowed them to elect senators unlike previously when they used to be elected by the legislature. Majority of the states embraced primary elections so that they could do away with political supremacy.
Because of the improvements in leadership, the economy also followed suit especially after a depression that had been experienced in the gilded era. More employment opportunities were availed which further improved the living standards. The policies which were adopted to improve economic conditions were versatile and improved efficiency. This was mostly noted after the Federal Reserve System was adopted from the Western European countries.
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Apart from the political and economic transformations, social life underwent a radical makeover. The Prohibition Act became effective because it controlled alcohol abuse and made people more responsible. The scientific methods which were introduced positively also affected the family life. The progressive era changes continue to affect the modern United States of America. It became a super power country because leaders carried on these efforts of making America a better place it is.