Progressivism was a period of American history in which improving working conditions, improving the way of life, exposing corruption, expanding democracy and making reforms was the main idea of this period. Many of the citizens granted and demanded a change in numerous areas such as business, labor, economy, consumers and an increase of democracy. The progressive period was marked with the arrival of three great presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson all three of these presidents fought for the common good of the people. Teddy Roosevelt was known as the “trust buster” and that is exactly what he did to help control big business. Many large corporations had complete control of the services that they were selling.
Roosevelt went in to these companies and helped to stop this type of monopoly. The biggest trust that Roosevelt busted was the one involving Northern Securities and J.P. Morgan. Roosevelt was also a big supporter of labor he tried almost everything and anything to help the citizens of the United States. Teddy set up child protection laws, which were used to prevent children to work in factories, and it also reduced the amount of time they worked.
Roosevelt also set up workman’s compensation, which is a payment that employers had to pay employees who get injured on the job. President Wilson also tried to help and improve the conditions for workers he did this by adding and income tax. This type of income tax is called a progressive or graduated which would rise with the amount of money that a person makes. This really helped the poor because they were taxed less than big business men were. Wilson helped the economy by instituting a Federal Reserve Bank. This bank was a system in which there would be twelve federal reserve banks all throughout the country. All national banks were required to join this system.
This bank system made a compromise between private and public control. Wilson also added a tariff called the Underwood Tariff, which lowered the price on imported goods. He did this because he had an idea that if you open up your market to foreign goods then the foreign markets will open for you. Taft issued a tariff called the Payne-Aldrich Tariff; this tariff put hi taxes on imported goods. Taft believed that this would be good for the country and help business grow. Roosevelt tried his best to help consumers, he proposed to congress the Pure Food and Drug Act. Teddy demanded that congress pass this act because he thought the way consumers were being treated was wrong.
This act was used to protect citizens from unsafe medicines and food. The Meat Inspection Act was also passed because of a book written by Upton Sinclair called The Jungle. The Meat Inspection Act regulated that all food must be inspected, prohibited the use of addictive drugs in prescription medicine and required proper labels on food and drugs. Democracy was increased in the United States by the introduction of the referendum, initiative and the recall. The referendum proposed legislation to be submitted to the voters.
The initiative allowed a group of citizens to introduce legislation and recall allowed voters to remove elected officials from holding a special election. Also a direct primary was instituted this was the direct election of a public official.