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The Progressive Movement Of The 1900’s

874 words - 4 pages

The Progressive movement of the 1900’s was the most important event to occur in the United States during the twentieth century. Progressives at first concentrated on improving the lives of those living in slums and in getting rid of corruption in government. The goal was to make working conditions better for the workers. True reform needed to happen. The workers of America believed this to be the best nation with opportunities for all people. Reform started with industrialization. Workers needed healthy and safe places to work, especially for women and children who were considered vulnerable and weak during that time period. Women and children over 14 worked at meat trimming sausage making and canning. “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair in one example in which the appalling working conditions in the meat-packing industry was exposed. His description of the filth that was so apparent which shocked the public and led to new federal food safety laws now known as the Food and Drug Administration. Progressives had started to attack huge corporations like the Armour meat-packing company for their unjust practices such as workers treated as “wage slaves”. Workers earned just pennies on the hour and worked ten hour days, six days a week. The unskilled workers are the ones who made and worked these long laborious hours. Therefore, unskilled immigrant men did the backbreaking and dangerous work, often in dark, unventilated rooms which were hot in summer and cold in with no heat in the winter. Many stood for hours on floors which were covered with blood and scraps of meat.
Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was the president when the progressive reformers were gaining strength. Roosevelt favored government regulation of factories like the meatpacking plant. He felt that he had the public’s best interest at heart. Roosevelt also did not approve of Congressmen for being more interested in themselves instead of the people they were serving. This is when the term “muck-racker” came into play. With modern terminology today the muck-rackers are known as whistle blowers. The muck-rackers exposed the dark side of society. The big things exposed were the horrors of poverty, slums, dangerous working conditions, and child labor to name but a few. Therefore, in 1906 Roosevelt enacted the Meat Inspection Act which is now known as the Food and Drug Administration. The Progressive era also included workers’ safety and health but meatpacking plant. He felt that he had the public’s best interest at heart. Roosevelt also did not approve of Congressmen for being more interested in themselves instead of the people they were...

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