Progressivism and its Effects


Progressivism was a period of American history in which 
improving working conditions, improving the way of life, exposing 
corruption, expanding democracy and making reforms was the main idea 
of this period. Many of the citizens granted and demanded a change in 
numerous areas such as business, labor, economy, consumers and an 
increase of democracy. The progressive period was marked with the 
arrival of three great presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson all 
three of these presidents fought for the common good of the people.
 Teddy Roosevelt was known as the "trust buster" and that is 
exactly what he did to help control big business. Many large 
corporations had complete control of the services that they were 
selling. Roosevelt went in to these companies and helped to stop this 
type of monopoly. The biggest trust that Roosevelt busted was the one 
involving Northern Securities and J.P. Morgan. 
 Roosevelt was also a big supporter of labor he tried almost 
everything and anything to help the citizens of the United States. 
Teddy set up child protection laws, which were used to prevent 
children to work in factories, and it also reduced the amount of time 
they worked. Roosevelt also set up workman's compensation, which is a 
payment that employers had to pay employees who get injured on the 
job. President Wilson also tried to help and improve the conditions 
for workers he did this by adding and income tax. This type of income 
tax is called a progressive or graduated which would rise with the 
amount of money that a person makes. This really helped the poor 
because they were taxed less than big business men were.
 Wilson helped the economy by instituting a Federal Reserve 
Bank. This bank was a system in which there would be twelve federal 
reserve banks all throughout the country. All national banks were 
required to join this system. This bank system made a compromise 
between private and public control. Wilson also added a tariff called 
the Underwood Tariff, which lowered the price on imported goods. He 
did this because he had an idea that if you open up your market to 
foreign goods then the foreign markets will open for you. Taft issued 
a tariff called the Payne-Aldrich Tariff; this tariff put hi taxes on 
imported goods. Taft believed that this would be good for the country 
and help business grow.
 Roosevelt tried his best to help consumers, he proposed to 
congress the Pure Food and Drug Act. Teddy demanded that congress 
pass this act because he thought the way consumers were being treated 
was wrong. This act was used to protect citizens from unsafe medicines 
and food. The Meat Inspection Act was also passed because of a book 
written by Upton Sinclair called The Jungle. The Meat Inspection Act 
regulated that all food must be inspected, prohibited the use of 
addictive drugs in prescription medicine and required proper labels on 
food and drugs.
 Democracy was increased in the United States by the 
introduction of the referendum, initiative and the recall. The 
referendum proposed legislation to be submitted to the voters. The 
initiative allowed a group of citizens to introduce legislation and 
recall allowed voters to remove elected officials from holding a 
special election. Also a direct primary was instituted this was the 
direct election of a public official.


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