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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