Progressive Era Reforms

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The Progressive Era, from the 1890’s to 1920’s, marked the movement of reform, aiming to protect social welfare, restore economic opportunities, and promote moral improvement in America. As the 20th century approached, many reformers of the middle-class addressed problems that contributed to the commotion in the earlier years. The Progressive Era inspired many reform activities, such as instructing poor immigrants and workers the values of hard work and temperance. The public became more aware of the problems across the country as journalists and writers exposed the labor conditions faced by factory workers. One particular reform felt that promoting moral improvement was more important in improving the lives of poor people than reform in the workplace. After a hard day, working men would waste all the money they have earned buying alcohol, and came home to their wives intoxicated. Reformers, including women, believed that immigrants and poor city dwellers could uplift their spirits by improving their personal behavior. They believed that alcohol was crippling American morals. These reformers called for a temperance movement, called Prohibition. A temperance movement is a social movement urging banning and complete abstinence of alcoholic beverages. Leading the crusade for prohibition was the woman’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in Cleveland in 1874. Members entered saloons, sang, prayed, and urged saloonkeepers to stop selling alcohol to spread their ideas. Individuals even destroyed bottles of liquor at saloons. The Union transformed into a national organization in 1879 with the help of Frances Willard. The WCTU became the largest woman’s group in the nation, with 245 thousands members. Prohibition efforts often caused trouble with immigrant groups; who’s customs often included the consumption of alcohol. Members attempted to close down saloons, which
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