The Progressive Era

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The early twentieth century was an era of business expansion and progressive reform in the United States. The Progressive era was a time of immense change in America and American society. The progressives, as they called themselves, struggled to improve American society by working toward equality. Progressives shared optimism about American citizens’ ability to improve social conditions, by actively intervening, both politically and morally, and ensure social justice. During an age of mass industrialization and urbanization, obtaining social justice was of vital importance because with social justice established, social control would naturally be achieved due to the satisfaction of citizens being treated equally. Progressive reformers moved to correct flaws in government and improve societal equality, but they soon found the widened divisions in American society to be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. (Out of Many, 606) Progressivism was characterized by a series of movements, each of them aimed in one way or another at renovating or restoring American society, its values, and institutions. (Out of Many, 612) The three basic social issues addressed by the Progressives were women suffrage, freedmens civil rights, and working conditions. Each group of reformers challenged the words of our founding fathers as stated in the Constitution, “…in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity,…promote the general welfare…to ourselves and our posterity…,” progressives were searching for a perfect union for every individual to be satisfied with. Many black American activists became increasingly popular during this time period, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois were the most prominent. Both varied greatly in terms of ways to gain and retain rights as American citizens. Booker T. Washington, an ex-slave himself, believed black

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