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The Progressive Era (Essay Sample)

  • Prompt: Consider all of these documents together. What do they reveal about the nature of reform in the Progressive Era? What issues in society are these various causes responding to (i.e. why are these reform efforts necessary)? What are the benefits and challenges to these efforts?
  • Florence KelleyFile
  • Carry NationFile
  • Dam Hetch HetchyFile


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  • Prompt: What are the arguments for and against U.S. involvement in World War I? Which side do you agree with?
  • Making the World Safe for DemocracyFile
  • Kitchen SoldiersFile
  • Get the RopeFile



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  • Prompt: Pick one quote that you find very interesting in Smeltertown and do a historical "close reading." What is the quote about? What does is describe and how does it fit in with the theme and argument of the chapter or the book as a whole? Why is it important? How does it make you feel? What does it make you think about outside of the book (i.e. other course materials, historical events, or other experiences)?   



1 Page

The Progressive Era
The progressive era was one of the periods in the history of America that defined political and social activism. Corruption had been rife in the government offices and the public were tired of the mismanagement of their public resources and thus took on direct democracy where they ousted the corrupt leaders. They also took on the companies that relied on monopoly and crippled fair competition in the economy robbing the economy chances to prosper. At the time the government officials and most of the business had no regard for the environment and most importantly the regard for human life. As mentioned in the Florence Kelley testimony, the sweater shops were the most brutal working places that man had experienced in the United States (Document 3: Bureau Od Statistics Of Labor Of Illinios[Florence Kelley], "The Sweating System Of Chicago, " Part II In Seventh Biennial Report, 1892(Springfield, III.: H.K. Rokker, 1893), Pp. 364-65). Men, women and children were bundled together in tiny spaces where they toiled for long hours without the right to their human needs. Some of the floors had patients lying on the floor suffering from infectious diseases. All the while the rest of the teams were forced to work in the same environment despite the risk of contracting the disease. Wages were at the bare minimum, despite the deplorable conditions of their work stations, the long hours they had to endure and the pain of desolate conditions. Government officials had grown complacent of the vile and evils that were taking place in the counties, as long as their bribes kept coming (Nation). The environmental concerns were placed after self-serving politically motivated projects. The main challenges for the efforts put forward during the progressive era, was the corporate and government officials resistant to change (Nation). Most of the efforts would be thwarted through legal and political bureaucracy. The benefits of the efforts were quite a number including the development of legislations controlling trade, monopoly, labor laws, human rights, and environmental laws that fostered accountability and professionalism directed towards quality delivery of services to the people ("Dam Hetch Hetchy!;: John Muir Contests The Hetch-Hetchy Dam).
The American involvement in the First World War, drew mixed reactions from different quarters relative to the opinion divide. Significant numbers of people did not support the involvement of the US in the First World War, while a sizeable number supported the war involvement, creating a divide in the general population right from the admini...
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