THe Progressive Era (1900-1920)
America at the dawn of the 20th Century was an emerging world power. Flush from its victory in the Spanish-American War, the country had acquired its first colonies, and was now a force to be reckoned with. The United States entered the 1900s with a confidence and optimism that seemed to foreshadow its future role at the center of world affairs.
At home, however, the country was battling its own problems at home. These problems: inequality, poverty, and political corruption--largely stemmed from the changes brought about by Industrial Revolution. Monopolies and trusts concentrated power. The super wealthy concentrated America's wealth within an elite circle of families, and they in turn, wielded disproportionate political power at the expense of a restive working and middle class.
The Progressive Era was an attempt to address these issues. Armed with a deep faith in human progress, the progressives sought to tackle these issues through political action and social work. Together they championed the causes of Women's Suffrage, Temperence, Good Government and honest business.
The Progressives found their hero in Theodore Roosevelt, who used his "Bully Pulpit" to attack the trusts and curb the excesses of big business and corrupt government. His presidency seemed to embody his times in a way that has hardly been matched before or since.
Women and the Progressive Movement by Miriam Cohen
Motor City: The Story of Detroit by Thomas Sugrue
The Square Deal: Theodore Roosevelt and the Themes of Progressive Reform by Kirsten Swinth
Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Progressive Reformer by Kathleen Dalton