The Progressive Era provided a solid effort to improve the lives of Americans by emerging presidents and multiple reforms. Through the progressive politicians, trusts were busted and relief was given to small businesses. Working and societal conditions were forever reformed during the Progressive Era. During the Progressive, Era Americans had a positive effect on their countries development with the help of leaders such as Roosevelt and Taft.
Roosevelt is immortalized on Mount Rushmore now and forever because of his progressive tactics in his term. Roosevelt’s Anti-Trust policy of 1902 pledged government intervention to break up illegal monopolies and regulate corporations for the public good. Roosevelt felt that “bad” trusts threatened competition and markets.
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His ingenious “square dealings” and “gentlemen’s agreements” controlled many firms. In 1903, he opened a new cabinet position was created to address the concerns of business and labour (Department of Commerce and Labor). Within the department, the Bureau of Corporations was empowered to investigate and report on the illegal activities of corporations. In 1903, the Elkins Act empowered the Interstate Commerce Commission to act against discriminating rebates as a response to the abuse of economic power by railroads proposed another problem for Roosevelt.
In 1906, the Meat Inspection Act provided for federal and sanitary regulations and inspections in meatpacking facilities. Also, the Pure Food and Drug Act prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of adulterated labelled foods and drugs in accordance with consumer demands.
These acts provided much-needed relief and rights for the consumer from the poisonous industries and frauds of meatpacking, food, and drugs. In conclusion to all of these accomplishments during Roosevelt’s term, Theodore Roosevelt’s progressive tendencies brought new meaning to government regulation and provided a successful contribution to the Progressive Era.
In the 1910 elections, the progressive eras would make gains in bringing Woodrow Wilson into the Presidential office in 1912. The Wilson administration brought together many of the policies and initiatives of the previous Republican administrations and reform efforts in Congress by both parties. Wilson achieved a lower tariff reform with the Underwood-Simmons Act in 1913 and a graduated income tax through the 16th amendment. The Underwood-Simmons Tariff Act not only pared rates down to an average of 23 percent but also spurred competition and reduce prices for consumers. Wilson favoured a Federal Reserve Banking System, which provided regulation and flexibility to monetary policy.
However, when it came down to economic situations, Wilson quickly resembled Roosevelt in his decisions and actions. Like Roosevelt, Wilson did not consider big business as “bad”, but the abuses of economic power. Nor did Wilson think that the abuse of power could be prevented without a strong federal government. Therefore in his way of dealing with trusts, Wilson proposed to deal with the problems of corporate power with court enforcement of the Sherman Act.
This was significant because with this he tried to make the long-established antitrust approach work better. In 1914 he passed the Clayton Antitrust Act, it would only apply to where the effect may be to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce, the main thing was to prevent the trust from unfairly using their power to curb that free competition.
Wilson succeeded in both social as well as economic affairs because he enforced ways to help the general public. The Keating-Owen Act in 1916 protected the children of the workforce and The Federal Farm Loan Act, 1916, was a credit reform for agriculture and an independent tariff commission came about later in 1916. With these, more rights were then given to the children from the abuses of child labour and also farmers have now protected also from a decrease in sales for high tariffs. As a result of all of this, Woodrow Wilson’s administration brought is proof to the fact that the Progressive Era was successful.
In the Progressive Era, the leaders Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson lead America to success. Economically, both presidents helped to break down big business with the use of trust-busting and anti-trust laws. They also contributed socially as well by helping the working class achieve new rights and opportunities through reforms. In conclusion, the Progressive Era was successful to both an economic and social extent.
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