The Progressive Movement Era in the United States

Oct 5, 2018 at History Essays

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The Progressive Movement Era in the United States took place between 1901 and 1917, and it was started in response to the political and corporate oppressions experienced in the beginning of the twentieth century. The motivation behind the rise of the Progressive Era was the need in strengthening democracy in the country, elimination of corruption, and protection of laborers. In contrast, the New Deal Era was enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 after assuming power, and it involved a series of federal programs in the administration of the United States with the motive of countering the Great Depression. Both the Progressive Movement and the New Deal eras were very crucial in shaping many developments in the United States evident even today.

During the Progressive Era, religious groups, members of the press, and other radical political groups in the United States pressured the government to initiate reforms of the American capitalist economy in order to create a socialist government. Several policies, programs and legislation amendments were initiated by President Theodore Roosevelt. State reforms proposed by the Populist Party were enacted to pave way for democratic programs such as use of secret ballot, referendum, recall and initiative. Federal reforms were also initiated through designing of numerous legislation such as the Federal Reserve Act, Newlands Reclamation Act, and the passing of the 16th to 19th amendments. The third program initiated in the Progressive Era was the city reforms through the implementation of the City Commissioner Plan and the City Manager Plan.

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Moreover, during the New Deal era numerous programs were initiated to counter the impact of the Great Depression in the United States. President Franklin Roosevelt initiated the program of economic recovery to restore the United States economic status, job creation programs, and recognition of labor unions that championed for workers’ rights in all sectors and finally the intensive investment in public works to boost infrastructure in the United States. All these programs were initiated to achieve the goals set by the Federal Government to rescue the United States from the severe effects of the Great Depression. 

The above-mentioned policies and programs initiated in different eras had a great impact on the affairs of the United States because they were specifically designed to suit either the Progressive or the New Deal Era. To start with the Progressive Era, introduction of the secret ballot ensured that voters were not influenced by specific contestants to vote for them, the referendum allowed the citizens to participate in the decision of passing bills or proposing amendments. Finally, the city reforms led to strong fight against corruption especially in the municipal cities. Corruption scandals were investigated and exposed by the members of the press to the American people and relevant authorities for action.

The programs initiated during the New Deal Era also had a significant impact on the welfare of the United States amid the treat of the Great Depression. The economic recovery program stabilized the banks by eradicating the huge financial mess created after the Stock Market crash in 1929. It also stabilized the prices for industry and agriculture by allowing huge federal spending to boost aggregate demand and incomes. The job creation initiatives established agencies that provided jobs and good wages for millions of workers and recognized the existence of workers unions that fought for workers’ rights. The last program initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt during the New Deal Era was intensive investment in public works such as building of bridges, schools, highways, airports and major parks that are still used today in the United States.

To conclude, the Progressive Era led to many achievements such as strengthening of democracy in the country, elimination of corruption, and protection of laborers through the establishment of different policies and programs. On the other hand, the New Deal Era achieved its objectives of saving the United States economy from the effects of the Great Depression through economic recovery programs, job creation programs and recognition of labor unions. Because of this, people should assign equal weight to both eras and not overlook one era over the other.

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