Teddy Roosevelt is one of these reformers. He broke up the large railroad trust. The four big railroads in the Northwest was controlled by one holding company by the name of the Northern Securities Company. Since this company owned all the stock in the four major railroads it set all of the rates. So Roosevelt sued the NSC under the Sherman Antitrust Act for having a monopoly.
Roosevelt then broke up the beef trust, the oil trust, and the tobacco trust. This reform helped America progress to new changes because Roosevelt started to get the federal government to regulate big businesses and help out the consumer; something that had not been focused on too heavily. Roosevelt also involved the federal government in the coal strike of 1902. The miners went on strike to improve their working conditions but the mine owners refused to deal with the miners. Then Roosevelt intervened and got the discussions between he miners and the owners started.
He wanted to see that the miners got a square deal and that is what happened. Roosevelt was important in reforming and progressing America by involving the government in regulating big businesses and helping out the common man. Middle class reforms made many changes in America. In many cities all over the country reform mayor were being elected But then in some cites the reform mayors were dying out. To make sure this would not happen some cities got rid of the mayor and city council and replaced them with a small commission.
Each member ran a different part of the city. The commission made laws and policies for the cities. Other cities made a city manager. The manager was not a politician. A trained manager carried out the policies set by a small council.
Following the lead of Wisconsin and Robert La Follette, state governments made many reforms. Voters had the right to chose candidates for public office, a commission was set up to control railroad rates a competitive civil service was created, restrictions were put on lobbying, and laws were passed for conservation, supervision of state banks, and higher taxes taxes on corporations. Most states began passing child labor laws, workman’s compensation was established, women minimum wage laws were started, and intoxicating liquors were outlawed. These changes in state and city governments were major factors in progressing America to a more equal and unique nation because of the new ways cities were run and the laws of the states.
Woodrow Wilson made important reforms to the progression of America. He started out by making tariff reforms. He did not necessarily want free trade but free opportunity for American business. The duties proposed provided some revenue for the treasury but would not make industries that no longer needed tariff protection richer. To make up for lost revenue a low rate income tax was included. Though the public felt strongly about this bill and a new tariff policy was created.
Wilson also created the Federal Reserve Act. This was for banking and currency reform. The country was divided into twelve districts each with a Federal Reserve bank. Every national bank had to become a member of the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve banks were the Bankers banks. They held the banks reserves, lent money to a member bank and performed other duties.
The Federal Reserve Act created a new currency too. Federal Reserve Notes could be issued according to the needs of the business communities. This act helped the member banks in time of panic. These reforms helped America progress by making a new trade law and a new flexible currency along with an easier banking method. These reforms and changes made by presidents, governors, and mayors helped America progress. So the early 1900s could accurately be described as the Progression Era.