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Progressives' Objective Is To Strengthen The National Government

949 words - 4 pages

It is known that progressives believed that society was capable of improvement and that continued growth and advancement were in the nation’s best interests. Specifically progressives felt that direct, purposeful human intervention in social and economic affairs was essential to achieving that growth in which they thought the nation was capable of. Theses interventions were implemented by a number of reformers: dissatisfied Republican officeholders, Democrats, journalists, scholars, social workers, and other activists. Together they “formed new organizations and institutions with the common objective of strengthening the national government and making it more responsive to popular economic, social, and political demands”(561). Although not everything went according to plan all the time, the progressive movement, in my opinion, should still be considered a success because of the great leaps towards a better nation they were able to complete.
Progressives’ common objective of strengthening the national government can be easily broken up into three major sections. The first major sub-section was, protecting social welfare. Basically they wanted to make sure all citizens were being adequately taken care of. They sought to reduce the impact of harsh work and living conditions brought about by industrialization, as well as protecting human life and well-being. They tried to achieve this goal by providing support for the poor and oppressed citizens, this tactic became so popular it even received the term “social justice” also referred to as “Social Gospel”, which is widely known and still practiced around the world today (569). More specifically, the implementation of the Salvation Army in the United States as well as the Settlement House Movement helped the reformers start to achieve their goal. The Settlement House Movement tried to “help immigrant families adapt to the language and customs of their new country” (571), which was very difficult at the time. Similarly, the Salvation Army offered both material aid and spiritual service to the urban poor. Although both organizations were very beneficial and their positive effects are still felt in today’s society, perhaps the most important, as well as the biggest progressive movement for protecting social welfare was the fight for woman suffrage. The fight ultimately ended in success when Washington became the first state in fourteen years to extend suffrage to women in 1910 and provided a good example for which many states followed (576). Not only was the addition of the right to vote for women a great success for that time period, because it allowed women to vote and participate in major problems and decision of that time period, it helped shape the society and nation we have today, which is a great success.
The second major goal of progressivism was economic reform. Progressive’s idea of economic reform was changing the...

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