Progressive Era Summary

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Progressivism was a movement for reforms that took place in the United States between late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It arose from the need for social reformers and intellectuals to address the social, cultural, political, and economic questions that had emerged in the drastic changes that had resulted from the growth of modern capitalism in the United States and the industrial revolution,

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The social reformers and intellectuals included a variety of groups of people: muckrakers, social workers, businesspersons, professionals, African-Americans, and religious leaders. Muckrakers were journalists and photographers who published life situation in poor areas for accessibility to the upper classes and political leaders. Social workers provided aid and relief to poor urban dwellers, as well as investigated the sources of poverty and recommended reforms. Businesspersons formed an industry-specific organization that had some political influence to counter the unfavorable intervention of the government in their business operations. Professionals sought to enhance their prestige and economic rewards by restricting professional membership and upgrading professional standards. African-American leaders allied with white Progressives to found the National Urban League in 1910, an organization pledged to combat overt prejudice and to safeguard their socioeconomic welfare.

It is evident that each of the progressives had their own motives. This makes the American Progressivism not just a social movement, but also a cultural, political, and economic crusade. Overall, the central motive of progressivism in the country was to bring about political and democratic changes that would suit the new order created by modernization and capitalism.

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