Progressivism: Labor Movement, Women’s Rights, Big Business
The progressivism philosophy essentially states that scientific discoveries and economic developments are advances that can help improve human life. Progressivism supported using the available technology to bring about positive changes and increase the government’s role in the social and economic lives of Americans. The greatest advocates of the movement were intellectuals, educators, women’s rights activists, and writers, including newspaper editors. The print press had an enormous impact on the movement as it disseminated the opinions of the progressives to the rest of the population. The majority of supporters of this movement were middle-class Americans from urban regions. Progressivism had a negative impact on the operations of big businesses since advocates of this movement saw big business as an exploiting force in society. The progressive movement supported a powerful government that would greatly regulate how business was conducted in the country.
Progressive presidents like Theodore Roosevelt took over coalmines from private businesses in 1902. Progressivism also advocated for the use of progressive taxation that would ensure that the big businesses were taxed heavily. Due to their interest in social justice, the progressive movement supported labor unions in the US. These organizations were seen as an effective platform for dealing with the economic exploitation of workers by the industries. Progressives fought for the right of workers to join trade unions that would increase their bargaining power and ensure that they could be paid a living wage. Women were at the forefront of the progressive movement all over the US. As such, progressivism led to increased women’s activism and increasing calls for the participation of women in the political system. Progressivism led to the eventual victory achieved by women when they won the right to vote.