The Progressive and New Deal Eras are two of the most important and defining periods in American history. Through initiatives and reform passed during these times, America was changed politically, socially and economically. These changes affected all Americans in some way or another, but had significant impact on specific groups of American citizens. Whatever their impact, these eras jumpstarted and continued reform initiatives for our country that provided a model for tackling current issues in our society.
First, focusing on the Progressive Era, which refers to a period in American history where people were getting busy and becoming more involved in society’s issues. People and organizations begin to use scientific methods, statistics and data to respond to problems in their surroundings. One of the political reforms of the progressive era revolves around immigration. The Immigration Restriction League, along with the passing of various bills and laws made it even more difficult for the “mental defectives” to become citizens, preventing them from being a “burden” and “menace” to society (Feb 3/5 doc readings). Other political initiatives displayed during the Progressive Era include Theodore Roosevelt’s appointing of African Americans to substantial federal positions during a time where racial discrimination was still a prominent issue in the country. This daring move allowed for African Americans politicians to have more representation in being able to hold government offices, and the continuation of African American political involvement.
Next, we will concentrate on a few of the social reform initiatives during the Progressive Era. Poverty was on the rise and was one of the biggest social issues during this time period. This began to interest multiple groups of people, specifically social workers. Social workers studied the problems in society and diagnosed the causes as well as attempted to provide assistance to those that they were helping. Social work began to emerge more and more in response to various societal issues such as child welfare, poverty and mental health issues. Women began taking on new roles outside of the home during the Progressive Era as well. Many women were social workers, but more and more women began banding together in women’s clubs and other organizations impacting and furthering reform.
The New Deal Era in American history refers to the period in time where Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and passed various reform initiatives in order to improve the lives of those affected by the great depression. Some of the political reforms made in this time period include the Securities and Exchange Act, the Glass- Steagall Banking Act and the Social Security Act. The Securities and Exchange Act was passed in order to ensure that the stock market was...