Charlie Shinske During the Progressive Era, pressure from labor, suffrage, and conservation movements profoundly changed the course of American history. Many of the reformers' ideas clashed with the male-dominated, capitalist economic structure present at the turn of the century. Some of the intended reforms opposed the current system, but the level of social unrest necessitated change. Businessmen and activists alike initiated the reforms during the Progressive Era.
Government, due to the intention of calming the common man and quieting the seemingly more and more vocal middle class, supported them from the year 1900 to 1920, Progressive Era reformers were successful in bringing about reform to the United States. Socially, America was gaining strength, with women such as Jane Addams, a women's rights activist, entering the progressive fight. The percent of eligible voters who cast ballots in Presidential elections were at a somewhat steady rate from 1904 to 1916, ranging from 59-65%, but in the 1920 election, only 49% of eligible voters actually cast ballots. Document J) Although some may argue that the percent decrease was due to most Americans not liking any of the elected Presidential candidates, and therefore not voting this is untrue because this was the first election in which women could vote, which threw of the ratio of voters and non-voters. In addition, all four candidates running for the title of President, Debs, Roosevelt, Wilson, and Taft, were all progressives, and wanted to reduce the number of trusts. This gave all voters, men or women, some incentive to vote.
In the end of the election, Woodrow Wilson won, but not with the majority. During Wilson's presidency, some women spoke out saying that Wilson was "oppressing" them, and compared themselves to people being oppressed by Kaiser that were living Germany. (Document H) many female rights activists saw the government as putting them down that is why the passing of the 19th amendment caused such an uproar, women agreed and were excited with their new found power, but men were not happy (mostly because women promoted prohibition).
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During this thirty year period in American history our country made major strides in working conditions, moral values, and where we stood in the world’s commerce. We now had a wealthy middle class that could sort of fend for themselves and we were working on making sure that the food we ate and the water we drank was healthy enough for us to drink. The U. S. was starting to boom, then came the depression.
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