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Progressive Era of the United States History

The so-called Progressive Era has always been viewed by many scholars as the period of the United States history, during which the country drastically changed its economic and political landscape (Gould, 22). However, there is not much agreement as to the underlying causes of this phenomenon and especially its far-reaching consequences. Overall, this question can be discussed from several perspectives, such as for instance, political, economic, cultural, or even moral. Certainly, complex approach to this issue seems be the most appropriate. Yet, prior to doing it, one should clearly identify the problems, which were addressed by the reforms of Progressive Era.

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In his article Bureau Men, Settlement Women: Constructing Public Administration in the Progressive Era, James Stever analyzes the moral aspect of the reforms, carried out at the beginning of twentieth century. In particular, he argues that these innovations were the struggle against conservative ethical values and conceptions. The main thesis that the scholar advances is that economic or political changes would have never taken place without reconsideration of old moral principles and doctrines.

In order to substantiate his statement, he refers to the legislative acts, which concerned several stressing issues in the life of the United States such as the position of women in the then American society, for example the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which granted suffrage to every citizen of the country. Furthermore, James Stever discusses the role of muckrakers, and their contribution to socio-economic development of the country especially, their struggle against corruption. The scholar says that the “reconsideration of ethical standards laid foundations for further changes in public administration”(Stever, p 625). Overall, this interpretation of Progressive Era seems to be very interesting, because in the vast majority of cases, historians pay more attention to political or economic aspects of the reforms.

As it has been mentioned before, the root causes of these changes are not clearly identified. For example, according to George Mowry, they were primarily motivated by the middle-class struggle against corporate complex. This statement has always been a subject of heated debate: it is often argued that the changes in legislation were aimed against those companies, which were reluctant to adapt themselves to new conditions, and were protecting only their own interests, abusing the rights of average workers.

There is another interpretation of this process and the factors, which significantly boosted it. John Cooper believes that Theodor Roosevelt and his administration intended to achieve equilibrium between small and large business, because without it the countrys economy would have inevitable collapsed.

Progressive Era is often labeled as the age of democratic movements, because many legislative were designed to protect human and civil rights of Americans, but these changes were primarily economically-oriented. It stands to reason, that none of these version can be entirely accepted or rejected because to a certain degree, each of them is supported by some historic evidence. Nonetheless, it appears that these changes in American society should be considered as a set of measures, supposed to improve the quality of life in the United States.

Therefore, it is quite possible for us to arrive at the conclusion that even now scholars have not come to the consensus as to the stimuli, which contributed to the implementation of the Progressive Era reforms and their success. Probably, it is more prudent to regard these factors as a complex socio-economic and cultural unity.

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Bibliography

James A. Stever. Bureau Men, Settlement Women: Constructing Public Administration in the Progressive Era. Public Administration Review. 65(5), pp 625- 630, 2002.

Lewis L. Gould. “America in the progressive era, 1890-1914”. Pearson Education, 2001.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 22). Progressive Era of the United States History. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/progressive-era-of-the-united-states-history/

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Progressive Era of the United States History'. 22 November.

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