US railroad rates. He also had the
US History The Progressive movement was more a triumph for liberalism than for conservatism, as we can see in the change in democracy, economy and the role of the government. Defining conservatism, it can be described as the maintenance of traditional institution, and social ideology. It tends to preserve and emphasize stability and continuity.
However during the progressivism, the progressives had made a lot of improvements and reforms in education, social welfare, economy, which can be regarded as liberalism. From 1901 to 1917, government started to regulate the economy by intervening the free market maintained during the Glided Age.As Teddy Roosevelt became the president, he strengthened the government’s ability to regulate big business by authorizing and establishing the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to set railroad rates. He also had the Department to launch 44 anti-trust suits, prosecuting railroad, beef, oil, and tobacco trusts.
One of the most famous cases of regulating trust was the anti-trust suit in 1906, in which Roosevelt won his case in the Supreme Court, resulting in the break up of the Standard Oil into 34 separate companies.Except for regulating big business, there were also other reforming during this period like securing a federal income tax based on the ability to pay; formulating inheritance taxes; devising a modern national banking system. However, there were also big changes and improvement in democracy and equality during the progressive period.
To increase democracy, the progressive reformers tried to enhance the control of the people over the government. They successfully lobbied for direct primaries; the elimination of boss rule, the direct election of Senators and women suffrage.Women, however, played a more and more important rule in the social reforming. Women’s organizations stood at the forefront of the social reforms and policy innovations. They were especially active in efforts to end child labor and to protest companies that had unsafe working conditions or produced unsafe products. For example, Jane Addams established Hull House, which provided childcare and offered classes that taught cooking, hygiene, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
She also advocated an eight-hour workday, a ban on child labor and legal protections for immigrants. She called for compulsory education, woman suffrage, women unions and improved sanitation. As the reforming progressed, more people realized that only a strong central government could preserve democracy and promote social progress. For example, the “Square Deal” program that consisted of 3 parts: control of the corporations, consumer protection, and conservation of natural resources, enacted by President Roosevelt helped promote the interest and the life of the people.And in shortening the distance between the poor and the rich, and alleviating the disputes between the workers and the corporation, the government played a vital and active role, as we can see from how President Roosevelt handled the coal strike in Pennsylvania. In 1902, coal miners in Pennsylvania went on strike and demanded a 20% raise in pay and a workday decrease from 10 hours to 9 hours.
When mine spokesman, George F. Baer refused to negotiate, President Roosevelt stepped in a threatened to operate the mines with federal troops.A deal was struck in which the miners received a 10% pay raise and an hour workday reduction. And not long after that, the Congress, aware of the increasing hostilities between capital and labor, created the Department of Commerce in 1903, which helped alleviate the tension.
Overall, during the progressive period, the gap between the rich and the poor is decreased, market completion is fairer to more businessmen, and the people have more control over the government. All these reforming can be regarded as a big improvement and changes to the society, which adhere to the idea of liberalism.