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Political and Social Reforms

Political and Social Reforms - The need for reform was...

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Political and Social Reforms During the Progressive Era (1900–1920), the country grappled with the problems  caused by industrialization and urbanization.  Progressivism , an urban, middle-class  reform movement, supported the government taking a greater role in addressing such  issues as the control of big business and the welfare of the public. Many of its  accomplishments were based on efforts of earlier reform movements. The federal  income tax and the direct election of senators, for example, were a part of the Populist  program, and Prohibition grew from a pre-Civil War anti-alcohol reform tradition.  Although the Progressives formed their own political party in 1912, the movement had  broad support among both Democrats and Republicans. Presidents Theodore  Roosevelt and William Howard Taft (Republicans) and Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) all  claimed the Progressive mantle. 
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Unformatted text preview: The need for reform was highlighted by a group of journalists and writers known as the muckrakers , who made Americans aware of the serious failings in society and built public support for change. Exposés such as Lincoln Steffens' The Shame of the Cities (1904), an attack on municipal corruption, and Ida Tarbell's History of the Standard Oil Company (1904), which chronicled John D. Rockefeller's ruthless business practices, often first appeared in the new mass circulation magazines, such as McClure's and Cosmopolitan , and were later published as books. The muckrakers' impact could be powerful, as in the case of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), a book whose vivid descriptions of working and sanitary conditions in Chicago's meatpacking plants led directly to federal laws regulating the industry....
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