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Progressive Reform Essay, Research Paper

The Progressive Era produced widespread consumer, labor, and political changes in our country in the late 1800 s. For a while a basic principle inherited from Great Britain was used by American businesses, which led to consumer protection. Many labor laws were passed to protect workers who were injured on the job. Political changes had a major effect for many voters during the Progressive Era. Progressive Reform has had a major effect on the past and the present and will continue to have a major effect in the future.

Caveat emptor, meaning, let the buyer beware , gave consumers little rights; consumer protection laws gave consumers many rights. The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed to protect consumers from unsafe medicines and foods. The Meat Inspection Act was actually passed on the very same day in 1906; together these laws regulated the content and inspection of food, prohibited the use of addictive drugs in nonprescription medicines, and required accurate labels on food and drug products. Laws were passed to regulate insurance companies and to protect the interests of policyholders after Charles Evans Hughes discovered that elected officials were using scams to increase their pay. The laws that were passed for consumers helped the consumers back in the Progressive Era and the consumers of today have benefited from them.

During the Progressive Era, many workers were given unjust wages or discriminated against because of their race or gender. Workers Compensation gave workers rights; it established funds that workers could make payments on so if they got hurt on the job they could be paid out of the funds. The Clayton Antitrust Act cut down on price-cutting. In the case of Muller v. Oregon women were fighting for the right to work as long as they wanted to, but Oregon passed a law limiting female factory workers to a ten-hour day. After these laws were passed, workers had more respect and more rights.

Many political laws were passed during the Progressive Era. Direct election of senators had come into use. Referendum allowed proposed legislation to be submitted to the voters for approval. Initiative allowed a

group of citizens to introduce legislation and required the legislature to vote on it. By these examples you can see that many reforms effected the political part, too.

The Progressive Era had a great effect on how things turned out for us today. Consumers rarely have to worry about bad food and drug products that they consume. Women and people of all races have equal rights and receive equal wages in the work field. Political reforms changed the way the voting process had been. Progressive reform has been an obvious factor that has helped this country even up to today.


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