Thursday, February 12, 2009

Progressive Era

The Progressive Era started in 1900 and ended in roughly 1917.  There were hopes that American society would advance through political and social movements.  Dr. Chambliss put it best in class when he said that the "Gilden Age" was the party and the "Progressive Era" was the hangover.  Essentially, the Progressive Era was the product of middle-class idealism.  A huge edition during the Progressive Era was the rise of journalism.  These journalists were pointing out the flaws of society, which was not well accepted by Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt labeled these journalists as muckrakers, which ended up becoming a word of praise rather than an insult.   To counter the progressives, there was also a rise of socialists.  Rather than catering to the middle-class, socialists represented the lower classes.  In other words, socialists were not huge fans of capitalism, which is still the case today.  On the other hand, the Progressive Era was a time to get the country to seem more like a democratic state.  There were efforts made to give American citizens more say in government legislature through initiatives and referendums.  The Australian ballot provided voters some privacy, which encourages people to vote with confidence (hopefully).  It was time for Americans to start standing up for themselves.  This period sparked women and African Americans to establish movements to gain rights and respect nationwide.  For instance, this was the period of women suffrage and the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  Booker T. Washington took an interesting approach by implying that African Americans should accept their position in society rather than making havoc of the situation.  
Meanwhile, reading about the development of Chicago has been very interesting.  Who would have thought that Chicago mirrored the development of American growth throughout history?  These were times of White Stockings baseball fans and enthusiastic horse racing spectators.  Immigrants were swarming the city streets but of course, the streets were segregated depending on ethnic backgrounds.  It was popular to blame the Irish Catholics for the rise of drinking problems.  It seems unreasonable to point fingers at any one ethnic group.  The country was developing into a mature state so there are going to be bumpy roads at times.  

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