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Progressive Era through the Great Depression


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Progressive Era through the Great Depression

The climax of the 19th century provided the united sates with numerous challenges that needed solutions with immediacy. There were issues related to social and economic crimes or injustices. This was marked by the competition for labor and capital and competition between the two factors of production. The Progressive era is considered as the period in the late 19th century that lasted into the year 1917. This period is essential to the history of the United States since it resulted in new social order through progressive reforms whose legacy is evident in current times.

Two major events took place during this period; the first was the development of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and the birth of the Oil industry in the United States in the year 1901 (Jaycox, 2005). The oil industry in the United States has been its greatest assets in that it steered the economy towards global dominance. The drilling of oil in Texas’s Sprindletop was the initial basis that led towards the development of the United States national oil sector. Energy is a sensitive issue and an essential asset in the modern society because of its vast use in driving growth in an economy in terms of its use in industries and transportation purposes.

The discovery of oil in Texas has had significant effects on numerous aspects such as politics, economy, social aspect and culture in the United States since its discovery in 1901. The oil industry revolutionized the US political scene and economic stature in the global scene. The political implications of oil discovery and oil trade were increased political activity in terms of relations with foreign countries due to increased trade (Jaycox, 2005). Furthermore, there was an increased appetite among the political class for control of the oil industry.

The economic effects were increased opportunities for the American population in the oil industry and other sectors that were affected directly by the discovery of oil such as the automobile industry, manufacturing industry due to cheap energy provided by oil. The provision of employment by the oil industry indirectly and directly has also stimulated new cultures such as the consumption patterns by Americans and their social interactions (Hillstrom, 2009).

The development of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) resulted in the change of the racial attitudes and beliefs that were in existence, in the American society. Hence, it was a move towards racial equality and elimination of racial prejudice in the United States. The modern National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP’s) goal is to ensure racial equality and eliminate bias based on race. During the Progressive era, women’s rights and rights for the black and colored people were ignored in entirety. These changes in terms of equal rights for colored people initiated the drive towards progression of equality and protection of human rights in the American society. It is evident that such changes have resulted in better law enforcement strategies towards achievement of equal human rights and equality on both gender and race.

Women also gained suffrage during the progressive era. The western region in the United States gained the right to vote before the eastern and western states. The ability to vote was a revolutionary point in the United States in terms of social attitudes and politics. To the end of the 19th century, the women were primarily driven by the traditional vales towards domestic roles and responsibilities whereas the men assumed roles as providers for the families. The eastern region termed the achievement of women’s suffrage as the beginning of deterioration of ethical and moral values. Essentially, it would mark the decline of the traditional American culture. The western states, on the other hand, provided the women with an opportunity to engage in elections.

The eastern region argued out that the engagement of women in electoral processes would result in higher incidences of divorce. The men believed that the ability to vote by the women would provide them with an opportunity to enact legislation that enabled them to engage in sexual activities with men of their choice. The impediments towards actual women’s rights were because of the diversity in the large populations of the eastern states. The western region was able to actualize suffrage legislation that allowed women with the ability to vote in their respective states. Western states were the first to allow voting by women in the year 1912 followed by eastern region states in the year 1913 (Hillstrom, 2009). The passage Nineteenth Amendment provided an end to the women’s suffrage efforts, thus making the need of women’s suffrage a universal human right.

Business thrived significantly during the progressive era due to the changes provided by the constitution. It allowed for evolution within the corporate world through enhanced legislation tailored for the business community. This influenced the development of the Department of Commerce and Labor in the year 1903. Additionally, it also influenced the passage of the Hepburn Act in the year 1906. Such resulted in growing interactions between the business world, government and society (Hillstrom, 2009).

Presidents the Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson were responsible for the division of Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor into separate units. The Hepburn Act in 1906 was developed as a regulatory measure for the railroad rates. The Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) with the presence of the Hepburn Act of 1906 was able to develop a cap on the railroad rates that was the primary means of transport (Jaycox, 2005). The Department of Labor was also responsible for regulation of labor laws in the railroad industry to establish 8-hour working shifts and child labor laws. The state laws came under the regulation of The Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) given the need by people to move form one state to another in conduct of commercial activities (Jaycox, 2005).

The Spanish-American was also occurred during the Progressive Era. It is believed that the war also significant towards the growth of the united states as a superpower. Given the presence of a strong constitution and federal government, the United States slowly turned into a modern non-aristocratic empire that was geared towards international growth. This provided the United States with the opportunity to expand its export power and military power as well. It reaffirmed the United States international position and commitment to the Manifest Destiny (Hillstrom, 2009).

The Roaring Twenties is used as a definition of the vibrant economy and events that took place in the Progressive Era during the 1920’s. The volatility was evident in the United States stock market; however, this was to stop after the markets crashed in the year 1929 on October 29. Hoover’s administration was blamed for its inadequacy and termed as the reason the stock market crashed. This was essentially known as The Great Depression. His efforts included the development of an economic program that would help employee retain their jobs despite constant criticism from the business community. The Great Depression turned the United States government as a provider of welfare and financial assistance to the public. This was a means of providing relief to the public due to the tough economic conditions (Diner, 1998).

Conclusively, the Progressive Era as the name suggests, was the turning point of the United States in all its realms, politics, social aspects, cultural aspects, political and economic aspects. It provided progress and a move towards actual modernism through abandonment of traditional beliefs in social cultural aspects as well as in the conduct of commerce. This period was highly significant for the development of the United States as a superpower and a vital global voice in terms of achievement of universal human rights.


Diner, S. J. (1998). A very different age: Americans of the progressive era. New York: Hill and Wang.

Hillstrom, K. (2009). The Progressive Era. Detroit Mich.: Lucent Books.

Jaycox, F. (2005). The Progressive Era. New York: Facts on File.

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