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The Progressive Era The decades between 1890 and 1920 was a period of vital reform activity that historians have called The Progressive Era In this era millions of Americans organized in voluntary associations to come up with solutions to the many problems Industrialization with all its increase in productivity and the number of consumer goods created unemployment and labor unrest wasteful use of natural resources and abuses of corporate power Growing cities added to the problems of poverty disease crime and corruption The growing number of immigrants and the rise of the upper class caused an upset to the normal class levels Many people were convinced that equal opportunity was out of reach for most Americans Who were the progressives They were a group of young professional middle class people They wanted to apply principles of medicine law business and teaching to problems of society They believed that progress and the education of people would overcome many problems They organized many volunteer organizations to work on these issues Illinois Factory Act Passed in 1893 the act prohibited child labor and limited womens working hours This act soon became a model for other states During this time many children went to work full-time out of necessity Wages in factories were low they worked long hours in horrible working conditions It took many years to get laws passed The Illinois Factory Act was the first State legislatures eventually passed laws banning or restricting child labor It was not until 1938 that the federal government passed the Fair Labor Standards Act This law banned employment for children under 16 and prohibited children under 18 from operating dangerous machinery Progressives lobbied for regulations to protect workers one of the most important efforts was to end child labor The number of children under the age of 15 who worked in industrial jobs for wages climbed from 15 million in 1890 to 2 million in 1910 Business liked
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