The New Deal reforms and the Progressive Era led to significant changes in the role of government with respect to the economic regulation of the United States and the welfare of its citizens. The reforms introduced in these eras helped shape government action for decades following their implementation and had a considerable effect on everyday lives of Americans. Though the reasons leading to, and the overall execution of these reforms, were unique, their impact on the United States was tremendous, each having shortcomings and accomplishments. Apart from the economic aspect of these reforms, the various social dilemmas facing American society of these respective time periods must be taken into account if we are to thoroughly analyze their causes and consequences, and how they transformed the role of government.
The Progressive era lasted from the start of the twentieth century till 1916. Progressives – that started a vaguely defined movement aimed at bringing about a change in society and politics – were people from different backgrounds with dissimilar objectives, including organizations looking to protect women and children from exploitation, Americans threatened by the rise of big business, and activists in favor of worker empowerment. A major set of reforms, that defined the role of government during this era, were state and local reforms aimed at changing the structure of elections to undermine political bosses and establish more public control. These reforms increased spending on schools, parks, and other public facilities, as living standards for the average American, especially workers, were not up to mark, and. State reforms in Wisconsin, under Governor Robert Follette, even went so far as to set up primary elections for nominees for political offices, changing elections at a state level.
Other major reforms included the Maternalist Reforms, sprung from the idea that the government should encourage women to bear and raise children, while being economically independent. The progressive era saw a change in attitude towards the gender role of non-working women, the cause of it being more women finding employment in the labor force, which eventually led to the Maternalist reforms being introduced. Laws providing pension to poor mothers, and Muller v. Oregon that introduced a maximum number of working hours for women, now extended government intervention to both the economic and social sphere of the American society.
Some of the major reforms that were implemented during the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt included the National Industrial Recovery Act, Agricultural Adjustment Act, and Social Security Act. All three of these reforms were attempts to counter the effects of the Great Depression that had gripped the country since 1929, and had huge economic and social effects. Unlike the reforms that were introduced in the Progressive Era, these reforms were constructed to lead the...