The Progessive Movement

Topics: Plessy v. Ferguson, Democracy, Progressive Era Pages: 3 (1052 words) Published: October 21, 2013

The Progressive Era was a pivotal time in American history filled with reform and activism. Taking place from the 1890’s to the 1920’s, the Progressive Movement landed right in between the Gilded Age and World War One. The political, social and economic reforms of the Progressive Movement addressed many of the problems of the gilded age by creating a more democratic political system and a government that was more responsive to the needs of the people; however, the movement failed to address the problems of racial inequality.

One of the main goals of the Progressive Movement was to create a more democratic government. During the Gilded Age powerful political machines and party bosses dominated the elections of local town mayors to candidates for federal offices by manipulating and intimidating voters. However, through the addition of the 17th amendment, secret ballots, initiative, referendum and recall these issues were eliminated. The 17th amendment called for the direct election of senators. This means that senators were elected by popular vote of the people as opposed to being chosen by the majority of state legislators. Secret ballots fixed the issue of political parties manipulating and intimidating voters by allowing voters to make their choices secretly on ballots printed by the state. Furthermore initiative, referendum and recall all allowed citizens to have more say in many types of votes. Initiative was a method by which voters could compel legislators to consider a bill. Referendum allowed citizens to vote on proposed laws printed on their ballots. Finally, recall enabled voters to remove a corrupt politician from office by majority vote, before that officials term has expired. All of these reforms allowed for a more democratic government by giving the people a bigger say. Another main goal of the Progressive Movement was to establish a more responsive government. This means that the government would more often respond to the needs of the people...
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