Paper Example. Progressive Era and the Gilded Age

Published: 2023-03-19
Paper Example. Progressive Era and the Gilded Age
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Social activities Social justice American history Social issue
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 661 words
6 min read

The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era spanned the years from the end of reconstruction to the end of the 1920s. The Gilded Age marks the age of movement. This was the time the populations changed, people shifted and business increased. There was a great migration to the west and a tremendous increase in immigration to the United States from all over the globe. Despite the fact that the Gilded Age brought prosperity to some individuals, it was also tarnished beneath its gold veneer. The state of the poor worsens, slums increased and immigrants were faced with increased social and economic hardship. The progressive Era became a solution to many of the social injustices brought by the Gilded Age. Gilded Age was more individualistic, and progressive reformers had an opinion that the government was responsible for enacting beneficial social programs.

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Excesses of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era remedies

The progressive era was the beginning of social activism and political reforms that happened in the United States between the 1890s and 1820s. The agenda of the Progressive Era was to eliminate the corruption in government which was brought about during the Gilded Age ("The Progressive Era | Boundless US History," 2019). During the Gilded Age, there was creation of political machines that were run by corrupt bosses. The progressive movement targets the corrupt individuals who headed public offices and demanded democracy means to be established. The monopoly was another factor brought in by the Gilded Age. The progressive movement sought the creation of regulated corporations and monopolies through antitrust laws (Adelman, 1948). The antitrust laws aimed at the creation of equal competition among legitimate competitors. Among the statutes of antitrust laws were the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 and the Sherman Act of 1890.

During the Gilded Age, there was no efficiency in many sectors due to the old ways of operations. Progressive Era fought for efficiency movement in every sector with the purpose of identifying and doing away with the old ways of operation. There were old ways of operation that needed modernization. A field such as medical and engineering needed a new approach in order to bring progress in the society. Key part of efficiency movement was the scientific management methods which were popularly known as "Taylorism" ("The Progressive Era | Boundless US History," 2019). Although scientific management became obsolete in the 1930s, some of its themes are still applicable in industrial management today. Methods such as analysis, work ethic, standardization, logic and efficiency are still the best practices. Activists came together to create reforms in the local government and other sectors such as public education, medical, insurance, industries and railroads. The progressive movement successfully transformed and professionalized the social sciences especially economics and political science.

Goals Achieved

The progressive movement managed to achieve some of their goals due to mass support from both republicans and democrats. People wanted a good working environment that was just for everyone. At the end of the era, there were improved labor laws were reformed and laborers and workers were allowed to join unions who will fight for their rights (J Sage, 2017).

Corruption was able to be tackled through civil-service reforms by replacing corrupt politicians with professional technocrats. The civil service act of 1883 marked the end of the spoiled system by placing federal workers under the merit system. Innovations created the new face of urban cities due to advances in engineering. The middle and upper class enjoyed the new city life but little changed for the poor since they live in most populated areas with poor living conditions. The reigning of robber barons declined due to new acts such as the antitrust laws that created fair competition rights for business entities and corporates.


The Progressive Era | Boundless US History. (2019). Retrieved 17 December 2019, from

Adelman, M. A. (1948). Effective competition and antitrust laws. Harvard Law Review, 61(8), 1289-1350.

J Sage, H. (2017). The Progressive Era, 1896-1916. Retrieved 17 December 2019, from

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