Reformers of the Progressive Era

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Alice Paul once said “When you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.” (Alive Paul Talks). The persistence displayed by her character would soon play a roll that would impact America until present day. Alice Paul was not the only reformer to create a long-lasting legacy from the ideals that the progressive era offered though. As well as the lessons taught by these progressive reformers can still be used to solve issues in society dealing with current events or even issues that were never solved hundreds of years ago.

The lasting legacies of our reformer and many like Alice Paul are commonly seen in homeless shelters (Alice Paul). As all reformers of the same genre were suffragists and aimed to better society in terms of housing the homeless, feeding those in need, and some specifically aimed to help women, homeless shelters serve as the epitome of a lasting legacy for these legendary reformers. As well as many of these reformers advocated for equality in terms of women’s rights or the hopeful true eradication of racial discrimination. Other places you can find the legacies left by the reformers studied by our class are in government and economical funding programs. As the government offers welfare to the homeless and struggling, this can relate back to the progressive reformers through their advocating for equality among all.

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This can also be seen in the workforce, due to places such as goodwill who will hire regardless of a criminal record in order to help those in need. Thus, making it possible for ex-prisoners and possible phelons to gain a job and work to better themselves and supply their family with income and necessities in a positively encouraging way. But not only our genre of reformers is still present in society today. Other reformers effects such as environmental progression still exist too. Theodore Roosevelt as well as Gifford Pinchot both served as progressivists for nature and left a lasting legacy that has changed very little. Pinchot was the chief of Forestry in the era and helped to create a forest and wildlife protection service which still lives today. These Wildlife protection services were seen in presentation classes and can be commonly seen at state parks or landmarks.

Although you can find many examples of these legacies in today’s society, some had a larger impact than others. An example of a less significant progressive reformer, in terms of the length in which it remained effective, could be Booker T Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. These were two other equal rights activists who focused their energy more towards changing the treatment of black men and women. In a way, yes, they did leave a legacy but it happened over a much larger amount of time in coherence with multiple other civil rights activists down the road. They brought more ideals than they did progress. Both offered the similar idea that with time, rights will become equal as long as African Americans maintain a place in society and work hard. This is not to be mistaken for a complaint that they did not try, because they did attempt to create an organization of members but could find not a significant number of members to join. Both reformers were deemed more on the aggressive minded side of society leading to a general dislike for them as people.

In addition, in the progressive era, the idea of black men and women was still connotated with negativity which will last for a fairly significant time period until the M.L.K Jr movement and a couple of supreme court cases such as the “Plessy vs Ferguson” case. To contrast the less impactful actions of DuBois and Washington, the actions of my group’s reformer, Alice Paul, will last up to present day. Alice Paul, being the women’s rights activist that she was, will eventually develop a committee full of women to bring change. Not only did she have influence over the majority of women, she was persistent and fast-acting. As issues became more severe with women’s rights in terms of payroll, ethical treatment, and education, Paul brought together her committee of other activists and began protesting. In addition to protesting, she offered shelter and assistance to those in need. She was generally liked and accepted by the women making her efforts more effective to society and extending the term-length of her impact. Today, there are still women’s shelters abundantly found throughout the country. The differing fact between both types of the reformers mentioned is solely the ability to take action. Alice Paul’s persistence and positive prowess among the society is what distinguished her from the other reformers of the progressive era.

The present day could always use some assistance from the fundamental lessons taught by the progressive reformers. In today’s society, the country still struggles with a homeless population, inequality of women and minorities, and the underlying trusts of specific industries. The homeless population is in dire need of a reformer, or at least ideals offered by them, in order to shelter and offer help to these men and women. Alice Paul once again offered many lessons that could be of use in these situations. Her capability to act on issues to hopefully gain the upper hand on issues would be useful because of the simple fact that America has enough extra housing locations to offer each and every homeless man and women a minimum of 5 houses (Homeless and Empty Homes). Granted, each and every individual would only need one house but these extra locations could be offered as shelters or temporary living in order to reduce death and poverty among the homeless caused by weather, famine, hunger, etc.

As well as there are other issues of equal importance at hand such as the continuance of inequality among men, women, and minorities. Even today, women make close to only 80% of what men make in an average salary under the same terms (time of employment, position, labor) and even worse, black men and women make less than 65% of the wages that white men make (The Wage Gap). This same statement is true for many other minorities. The ideals of both Alice Paul and Booker T Washington could be utilized at this very moment as the fact of inequality has been around for over 100 years now and in terms of payroll, stereotypes and perspective on capabilities, little has changed.

While if these progressive lessons were possibly acted on today with the ideals of Washington and DuBois and persistence of Paul, change may occur. The final present day issue which may not be generally recognized is the underlying trusts in certain industries. This may include Google, Amazon, and King Soopers. If enough time was spent thinking on the subject, the trusts become blatantly obvious. To simplify though, King Soopers is not recognized as a trust because nobody looks into its partnerships. King Sooper parents Kroger, who alone partners and families with 29+ profound and widespread companies. Google alone is the largest used search engine and website in America, but not only this, they also own Youtube, the second most used website in America. Finally, Amazon is the #1 home delivery service in America and the #1 online shopping service. All three of these services dominate the industry by a landslide but are not “trust busted” due to the existing competition of other companies who still fall far behind.

The progressive reformers ideals needed to act on this will be Teddy Roosevelt. This is due to his action on trusts such as Rockefeller and Carnegie during industrialization. As Teddy Roosevelt economically created competition and funded them to equally compete with the two biggest trusts of the industry. Another way found capable of undermining trusts is the creation of checks and balances. This is a government fundamental influenced also by Roosevelt to encourage competition as well and ensure that no company or branch of government gains too much power. This ideal could solve the issues brought by trusts in present day society. The ideals of progressives not only helped in the time of need in the 19th century and early 20th century but have proven to still be useful in present day issues.

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Reformers of the Progressive Era. (2022, May 13). Retrieved from

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