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The Progressive Era’s Influence on the New Deal

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Essay title: The Progressive Era’s Influence on the New Deal

The accomplishments taken place upon the onset of the many New Deal legislations owe much to the seeds implanted and unknowingly disseminated by the pre-WWI Progressive movement. Sparked by the new image as a world power, industrialization, and immigration at the dawn of the new century, a new found reform movement gripped the nation. With the new found image of the nation and world as a whole, the reforms advanced the position of the previously ignored people of the nation, as did its reincarnation and rebirth apparent in the New Deal.

Although the first signs of this pristine Progressive movement shone since the mid-1800s, no one had cleared the way for its momentous effect upon the nation in the same degree as Theodore Roosevelt. Although at times hot-tempered and brash, his charismatic attitude pushed forward many of the original progressive legislations. For example, his Sherman Anti-Trust Act proposed the life of a trust should be based on its history and actions, since he believed "good" trusts existed along with "bad" ones. Next, the Elkins Act proposed railroads and shippers to offer rebates illegal. They also had to have fixed rates, and couldn't change without notice. Also, the Hepburn Act gave ICC the power to set maximum railroad rates. Next, of course because of the impetus for reform provided by the many socialist writers, such as Upton Sinclair, was the landmark Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, protecting the health and safety of consumable products and establishing the Food and Drug Administration. He also wished to preserve the untainted countryside, and established the National Forest Service and also strengthened the Forest Bureau. He also passed the Newlands Act which helped to create subsidies for irrigation in 16 western states. The actions taken by Theodore Roosevelt proved to throw the Progressive movement into the mainstream of the nation, showing its true, ingenuous face.

When Theodore Roosevelt's successor, William Howard Taft, failed to continue Roosevelt's ongoing charismatic progressivism, both were bested by the newcomer, Woodrow Wilson. Although not receiving a majority in the vote, he, nonetheless, knew the country still ached for the progressivism it jubilantly basked in for so many years, which he called his "New Freedom." Immediately, Wilson went to work on what the country's sworn enemy, thus his enemy, the "triple wall of privilege," consisting of the tariffs, the banks, and the trusts. A true idealist, his crusades against these evils were truly heartfelt and in his mind, the best action to take for the nation. Beginning with the Underwood Tariff of 1913, it was the first lowering of taxes since the Civil War and stood against the protectionist lobbying. Next, he introduced the Federal Trade Act, which set up the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and halt unfair and illegal business practices. Also, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act deemed certain businesses illegal (trusts and horizontal mergers), declared unions legal, and also strikes, boycotts, picketing and the collection of strike benefit funds were ruled legal. The, a landmark legislation, the Federal Reserve Act in 12 districts would print and coin money as well as set interest rates. In this way the "Fed," as it was called, could control the money supply and effect the value of currency. The more money in circulation, the lower the value and inflation went up. In effect, the less money in circulation, the greater the value and this would lower inflation. Theodore's true successor, Wilson finished Roosevelt's job on the trusts and branched out towards the other deleterious aspects of the nation as well. He gave the surging mainstream progressive movement an innocent morality he naturally possessed.

While many of the Progressive accomplishments are attributed to these two leaders of the movement, many major events stand alone as Progressive milestones. The long-awaited 19th amendment was finally passed, granting women their right to vote. The role of women in our society was gradually coming into the social world. In effect, years later during the Depression, the changing roles of women into heads of families and laborers blew away the stereotypical woman. More independent than ever, independent women pushed to obtain challenging jobs and experiences never fathomed before. Also, as women became known on the labor scene, unions began to include woman. Woman's role in society was totally shattered and molded into a new, working, independent, woman that played a very important role in the social worlds of both eras.

Almost 30 years later, a prodigal leader arose to the call to save the nation from the pit of poverty and doom, issuing legislation after legislation alleviating however much he could to the poor and unemployed. Focusing on immediate relief, immediate as well as long-term

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