Progressive Movement Essay

965 Words4 Pages
Progressive Movement The Progressive Movement was an effort to cure many of the ills of American society that had developed during the rapid industrial growth in the last quarter of the 19th century. As Americans became increasingly aware of the need for reform, attitudes toward the proper role of government shifted from the limited role preferred in the 19th century to the increasingly expanded role chosen in the 20th century. During the era of progressive reform new groups and movements emerged that were successful in bringing about effective changes. Muckrakers drew attention to the need of reform by highlighting great injustices in their writings and woman played a major role addressing poor working conditions, child education, and woman’s suffrage. The success of progressivism owed much to publicity generated by the muckrakers. Muckraking novels like Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle gave readers insight into the true nature of the meat packing industry (Goldfield 623). One of the many grisly descriptions Sinclair provides in his novel is of meat saws slicing through the fingers and hands of factory workers. Indeed, the assembly line stopped for no one, and it couldn't even if it wanted to. After reading The Jungle, many Americans were appalled by the lack of safety precautions and sanitary systems in factories. Dissatisfaction with food and drug regulation at the state level in the 1890s soon led to pressures to give the federal government the power to monitor and promote the quality of food. Thus, the Pure Food and Drug Act along with the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 passed, making meat shipped over state lines subject to inspection (Paulet). Though, while muckrakers were influential in bring about reform, many of the leading progressive reformers were women. Middle class women played a major role in the awareness of poor working conditions, child education, and
Open Document