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The Progressive Movement Essay

1407 words - 6 pages

The progressive movement was a number of movements which all focused on the problems created by the steadily growing urban and industrial world. Progressivism can be considered to some, as the first modern reform movement. This movement attempted to bring order and efficiency to a world that had been changed by its speedy expansion and new technology. Many of the progressives were known as muckrakers. Muckrakers were a group of writers who showed corruption and other evils in the American society. One well-known muckraker was Lincoln Steffens. Steffens was a young journalist, living in California, who wrote articles that exposed the connections between corrupt politicians and urban ...view middle of the document...

Finally, at the end of World War I, women's suffrage came to an end. Many reformers agreed that better residence and schooling could alter the lives of the poor and constitute an improved world. For many years, progressives had been trying to amend housing and construct new houses. They had built model apartments and housing projects and sent "˜visitors' to the inhabitants to collect the rent and teach them how to live like the middle class. In order to get a better understanding of what they had to do to help and getting laws passed, the reformers organized public opinion and also took a benevolent view of the poor. Along with trying to improve the housing, education was also an aim for progress to the reformers. Most of the public school systems were rigid and corrupt so progressives revolted against the school's behavior. The main progressive in the education reformation was John Dewey. Dewey worked in his laboratory at the University of Chicago, to discover new methods of teaching. One of the symbols of progressive education was the rotational chair, which replaced the seats to the desk. Dewey suggested that the school should be child-centered, not subject-oriented. Dewey insisted that teachers should not teach math or history, they should be teaching their students. With this optimistic outlook of Dewey, the schools could create a better and more flexible operating system. During the progressive era, many workers strived to earn a living for themselves and still be able to care for their families. The progressives empathized with the workers and sought protective legislation, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation. Many of the new employers of the industrial workplace had problems at adjusting. Most were used to farming and craft work. Whereas farming and craft work was regulated by your own time, factory work was an around the clock job. Soon, workers began to revolt on their own, they began to take unauthorized breaks and stayed home on holidays. Many of the workers stated that "We don't want to work as fast as we are able to, we want to work as fast as we think it's comfortable for us to work." At this time, the progressives had little knowledge of what was going on in the factories. Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, quickly recognized that Taylorism would reduce his workers to "mere machines." In the 1890's, the AFL hired Mary Kenney as an organizer and excepted few women's unions into affiliation. One leader stated that "The demand for female labor is an insidious assault upon the home. It is the knife of the assassin, aimed at the family circle." Many of the upper-class progressives tried to help the working women by organizing day-care centers, clubs, and classes, and many reformers tried to pass protective legislation. Many of the young women worked in the garment industry in New York City. In 1909, some women went on strike to protest working conditions, with the support of The...

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