1) The several tensions that contributed to the barriers faced in progressive goals, involved the sex-roles and segregation and societal class of the early 20th century. Despite Amendments granting voting rights in Reconstruction, due to segregation and black code laws, many African Americans were second- class citizens. However, leaders like W.
E.B. Du Bois, helped motivate alternatives to strictly white dominated societies and inspired ideas of equality, like at the Nicaragua movement protesting black discrimination. Women faced heavy criticism, as they were believed solely to be the homemakers of America, and denied the same political freedoms as men, such as voting and property rights, along with being denied contraceptives (or control of sexual functions). However, in time, concrete legacies included Planned Parenthood, Unemployment insurance, Food and Drug Administration, etc, were established, confronting the reality of an oppressed population and urban environment.
2) “The American political and social landscape was significantly altered by progressivism”- Out of Many. Independent political actions toward a country’s and society’s improvement, progressivism, was a calling of direct political activism by middle and upper class citizens toward helping their well-fare counterparts. As the manifestations of Progressivism, American citizens have looked beyond the success of the Golden Age, and into reality of poverty, racial inequality, and women’s right movements. Many educated middle class citizens, particularly women, strayed into the lower class communities where they directly inclined charity toward establishing educational centers for children or distributing information about sex education and birth control. 3) The working class progressives of the 20th century faced many challenges in their quest for improved social conditions, economic stability, or political equality. Women, as a major portion of progressive activism, had to continually work outside their matriarchal political establishments, unable to vote and tolerate the corrupt and closed system of the Urban Machine.
Furthermore, several topics in women’s rights campaigns often had controversial issues concerning reproduction freedoms and birth control, gaining critics from misogynistic politics and religious groups who constituted for “family values.” Other opposition came to African American groups caught in political mechanism, such as literacy states and grandfather clauses, in bars to prevent their vote. However, thanks to the iconic activism of Margaret Sanger who revolutionized American birth control distribution and “planned family” centers, helped women gain sexual freedom and reproduction rights. Black leaders, such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.
B. Dubois found national African American associations to fight for equal opportunity, such as NAACP. 4) The era’s immigration influx becomes the primary work force in urban cities, populating almost 1000 per block in New York City apartment complexes. The humble ethnic communities of cities, like those in Chicago and New York, were often the most populated and isolated, socially and economically separated from native-born American middle and upper classes. Immigrants, especially those from Eastern Europe, had trouble adjusting to fast-paced lifestyle, with strong nativism and inability to comprehend English instruction, which increased workplace accident liability. Unlike their predecessors, new immigrants were not trained in beneficial work skills and fundamentally created the bottom caste of the workforce hierarchy, operating factories, mills, and sweatshops.
Forms of activism taken in progressivism were often linked to new immigration, such as new journalism covering authentic depictions of urban slums and plights of industrial workers, whom were often immigrants, including Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives. 5) African Americans typically made up another large percentage of the progressivism era, highlighting their movements as Black Progressivism and the Black Awakening. Progressivism efforts were made to preserve and enhance the voting and citizen rights acquired from Reconstruction, obstructed by black codes and segregation that dehumanized African Americans. Black civil right leaders faced struggles overcoming legal and economic limits to equality in a white dominant society. The most prominent legacies of Black progressivism inspired future black revolutions and organizations while also creating the NAACP.
6) The effects of Progressive reforms helped to improve the balance of equality between men and women, in terms of suffragist voting and sexual equality, along with developing establishments toward racial discrimination. The American social and political landscape was reshaped by progressivism, creating shorter working hours for women, abolishing child labor, and fashioning cleaner, safer workplaces. The initial intuitions created for educational reforms continue to exist today such as the Planned Parenthood and the NAACP; previous workforce unions created the fundamental standards and groups which modern unions stand on today.