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Progressive Era: Overview

Progressive Era

"Scholars do not always agree on when the Progressive Era began or ended. Some suggest that it began as early as 1890 and that it extended into the 1930s with the election of President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal program, which established social welfare in the United States. Regardless of exactly when it began or ended, the Progressive Era was a time of major change in the United States. Progressivism was propelled by middle- and upper class reformers with a strong sense of social justice, and progressive changes directly impacted politics, economics, education, society, medicine, and the arts. The Progressive movement sought both social and political reform in the United States."  (Purdy, Elizabeth Rholetter, PhD. “Progressive Era.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018. EBSCOhost,

Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913. Cover of program for the National American Women's Suffrage Association procession, showing woman, in elaborate attire, with cape, blowing long horn, from which is draped a "vot Adam Cuerden [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913. Cover of program for the National American Women's Suffrage Association procession, showing woman, in elaborate attire, with cape, blowing long horn, from which is draped a "vot Adam Cuerden [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons



Progressivism and Social Reform: Timeline Social History of the United States. Ed. Daniel J. Walkowitz and Daniel E. Bender. Vol. 1: The 1900s. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC­CLIO, 2009. p218­221. Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 ABC­CLIO, Inc.

Progressivism and Social Reform: Timeline

1900 The United States has approximately 100,000 saloons, but four states—Maine, New Hampshire, Kansas, and North Dakota—are dry.

Women in five states may vote: Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Montana.

Good Housekeeping magazine launches its research lab, in which products depicted within the magazine undergo testing.

Cocaine ceases to be an ingredient in Coca­Cola.

More than 1.3 million telephones are in use in the United States.

Army surgeon Dr. Walter Reed determines that yellow fever can be linked to a mosquito­borne virus.

More than 4 billion cigarettes were produced during this year.

Lincoln Steffens becomes managing editor for McClure's.

Carry Nation launches her raids on America's saloons.

1901 Precursors to the 4­H clubs, the Boys’ Corn Club and Girls’ Home Club, begin meeting in Iowa.

Instant coffee is first developed.

Lizzie Black Kander publishes The Settlement Cook Book.

The National Bureau of Standards begins regulating measures and weights of consumer goods.

New York's Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women opens.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is administered for the first time.

Upton Sinclair establishes his own press, Sinclair Press.

The New York Times observes its 50th anniversary as a newspaper.

1902 The first soda fountain opens for business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

McClure's magazine runs a series of articles on Standard Oil Company written by Ida Tarbell.

More than 200 lynchings take place in the United States during this year.

Polygraph machines are first used to detect lies.

1903 Lester Frank Ward publishes Pure Sociology.

Sanka, a decaffeinated coffee, debuts.

Through a donation from Joseph Pulitzer, Columbia University establishes a school of journalism.

Construction starts on the Hershey candy factory sited at Derry Church, Pennsylvania (the location is later renamed Hershey, Pennsylvania).

Dentists begin to use porcelain fillings to treat tooth decay. New Hampshire ends 48 years of prohibition by legalizing liquor sales.

The Ladies’ Home Journal achieves over one million paid subscriptions, becoming the first American publication to do so.

On July 4, Mother Jones heads a children's march, designed to bring attention to the industrial injuries sustained by the nation's youngest workers.

1904 Helen Keller completes her degree at Radcliffe College.

Tea packaged in steeping bags makes its first appearance on the market.

Americans consume $400 million worth of chocolate.

The banana split makes it first appearance at Strickler's Drug Store in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Campbell's sells 16 million cans of its condensed soups.

Lincoln Steffens’ Shame of the Cities appears in print.

Reformers found the National Child Labor Committee.

The Ladies’ Home Journal challenges the patent medicine industry.

1905 The nation's first pizzeria opens in New York City.

Scientist Albert Einstein arrives at the theory of relativity.

On July 9, Niagara Falls becomes the site of a meeting of civil rights activists including W. E. B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells Barnett.

A yellow fever outbreak strikes New Orleans.

1906 The Playground Association of America and the American Sociological Association are founded.

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is published.

Freeze­dried foodstuffs become possible through a newly developed process.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes first become available for sale, quickly becoming a popular prepared breakfast food.

Jell­O gelatin, which secured its trademark in 1903, enjoys more than $1 million in sales.

President Theodore Roosevelt employs the term “muckraker” to describe the era's aggressive journalists in a March 17 address at Washington, D.C.'s Gridiron Club.

The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act become law (June 30).

1907 Canned tuna is introduced to the market.

Philanthropists establish the Russell Sage Foundation to improve the nation's social and living conditions through the study of the social sciences.

Bernarr Macfadden is arrested on obscenity charges for distributing magazines that explain the means by which venereal diseases are transmitted.

1908 Gen. Robert Baden­Powell founds the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts.

1909 Herbert Croly's The Promise of American Life, a cornerstone writing of the progressive movement, appears in print.

Sigmund Freud visits the United States to deliver lectures.

The FBI launches.

Bans in 15 states prohibit cigarette sales.

The Senate passes a bill on February 21 calling for truthful labels on all food products.

The first spoken­word radio broadcast, delivered by Harriot Stanton Blanch, addresses the subject of women's suffrage.

The NAACP founded on February 12.

The Indian head penny is replaced by the Lincoln penny on August 2.

Congress approves the imposition of a federal income tax, a ruling that resulted in the 16th Amendment in 1913.

Twenty of America's cities are committed to maintaining parks or recreational spaces for urban youth.

Source Citation (MLA 8th Edition) "Progressivism and Social Reform: Timeline." Social History of the United States, edited by Daniel J. Walkowitz and Daniel E. Bender,

vol. 1: The 1900s, ABC­CLIO, 2009, pp. 218­221. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 5 Feb. 2019.


This site is meant to help you do research for your U.S. History project.  The assignment is attached under the tab "Assignments" for your reference. 

Remember to authenticate all your sources based on the R.O.A.D. criteria:

  • R Relevancy and Reliability
  • O Objectivity
  • A Authority
  • D Date

Remember to cite all your sources correctly using MLA advanced in NoodleTools.  Even pictures and statistics must be cited.

Remember to use your information ethically -- use direct quotes, paraphrase, or summarize but ALWAYS cite!

If you have any questions, please ask your teacher or Ms. Bogas

Starting a Research Project

First steps to starting a research project:

  1. open Noodletools
    ♦ If you cannot remember how to access Noodletools see Ms. Bogas
  2. create a project in Noodletools (check to see if your teacher wants you to share it with them).
    ♦ For citations and notecards

By entering all your sources into Noodletools as you do your research, you will avoid the dangers of plagiarism when you go to write and submit your project!

  1. evaluate potential sources
  2. get your feet wet by looking in reference resources to gain an overview of the topic
  3. start creating your list of keywords to help with finding information elsewhere
  4. incorporate primary source material

References sources are a type of secondary source.

 The information provided is usually quite broad, such as a subject summary or overview. 

Examples include:

  •  Encyclopedias
  •  Dictionaries
  •  Almanacs

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