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Main Goals Of The Progressive Movement

2519 words - 10 pages

In the late nineteenth century to early twentieth century the Progressive Era was moving to reshape America. Progressivism was a political movement that encouraged the exposure of corruption in America in order to reshape it for the better. This time period became known for the social and political changes that took place as a result of the progressives. Progressivism ruled the country, changing the way Americans lived and the way politics affected them. One of the main goals of the progressive movement was to use democracy to regulate the government by exposing the corruption of government officials. Another area in which the progressives moved for change was business. In the late nineteenth century many large businesses were corrupt, forming monopolies and large trusts that allowed them to bypass the law and rake in obscene amounts of money. This money making included the poor treatment and even worse payment of the workers who toiled day in and day out to make the trusts’ money. The Progressive Era brought attention to the corruption of these large monopolies and with the exposure came laws to bring these trusts under control. The Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 was passed in an attempt to break up large, corrupt trusts. Bringing down these corrupt money making machines became known as trust busting, and was a large part of president Teddy Roosevelt’s career. Trust busting was a big part of the progressive movement and it was for the most part successful, bringing down trusts such as the large railroad tycoon Northern Securities. The Progressives were not only targeting trusts at the time however. They were also targeting social problems such as poverty and unsafe working conditions. People who exposed these things to the public came to be called muckrakers. One of the most famous muckrakers at the time was a journalist and novel writer named Upton Sinclair. He was most known for his book The Jungle, which became a worldwide bestseller and dramatically changed food regulation during the Progressive Era. Many people saw the results of this book as good, but they did not see the corruption it caused. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle changed food regulation in America forever, but the effects that came about because of The Jungle were more detrimental than beneficial.
Upton Beall Sinclair grew up in a poor family, always moving around from city to city with his father’s job as a salesman. His mother, Priscilla Sinclair, had rich relatives on her side of the family whom Upton would visit with some regularity. As he grew up this allowed him to see how the rich and the poor lived, giving him an insight that shaped his career as a writer and journalist. He did not have a good relationship with either his mother or father, causing him to become independent at a young age. When he was just fourteen his family moved to New York city and he started writing to pay for his tuition at the City College of New York. He went on to graduate from Columbia...

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