Though life on Earth is never perfect, one of the most amazing things on this planet is the fact that people believe that the world can be improved. They have visions for the future that make life easier for all kinds of people, whether that be through social, political, or economic reform. Progressive Movements begin when large groups of people share an idea and work to cause change. They move society forward with the notion that communities can become better. And some of these movements have had large impacts on life and history that still resonate today.
The Suffrage Movement was one of those movements that had a long-reaching impact on society. Though the primary goal of woman’s suffrage was to gain voting rights for women, supporters of the movement also worked towards gaining equal pay for women, improved working conditions, property and ownership freedom, legal rights, and opportunities for the female gender. People in countries such as Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, France, Australia, Great Britain, Sweden and Finland decided that it was not fair for women to be disregarded in society. Women, they understood, were people and should have the same rights as men. The old model of democracy where only men could be citizens was obsolete, and people worked to get their message out through slogans, signs, protests, and meetings. In the end, they gained the right for women to vote, hold public office, serve on juries, and more.
Before the emancipation of women, however, was a more controversial progressive movement. The anti-slavery, or abolitionist movement, required a great deal of passion and bravery. Slave traders did not want an end to their livelihood. Slave owners did not want to give up free labor. In countries such as the United States, people held strong beliefs that were contrary to their countrymen, causing much strife and violence. But like the suffrage movement, the abolitionist movement marched under the knowledge that owning another person was wrong and that black people deserved the same rights and freedoms as any other human being. Through speeches, pamphlets, marches, and protests, the anti-slavery movement got their message out and stopped slavery.
And though it might seem like giving equal legal and social rights to both women and African-heritage people, there was still another important progressive movement in human history that evolved in a similar time period as the previous two. The labor movement was important in providing better working conditions for workers. This was important in an age of industrial revolution, where population increases and manufacturing changes made factories a major employment center for people. The labor movement, like the other movements, also sought for more. This movement wanted fair wages and reasonable hours for workers, as well as safety rules and an acknowledgement of the voice of workers.
All three of these movements organized people together to fight for a cause. They had backlash against their ideas and had many setbacks in achieving their goal(s). It took time for society to see their point of view and make changes that showed they agreed with it, with acknowledgement under the law. All three progressive movements used similar tactics, such as speeches, protests, marches, and pamphlets in order to get their message across. And because of these movements, society today is far different than what it looked like in the past.