Progressive Era's Social Goals

 
 
 
 
The defining concern of the Progressive Era, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was the transferring of responsibility for social policy from the states to the federal level of government. Abolition, prohibition, immigration, labor, and women's suffrage were all social policy issues which the legislatures, at state and federal levels, heard and debated. Women felt the need to speak in public, about abolition in the beginning, and then realized that they had no power to affect decisions except through the influencing of men's votes. Women's suffrage was the first step towards equality of the sexes which has not yet been achieved. Women today need to reacquire the guiding principles and moral foundation of the initial campaign period and must exercise the right to vote which was given by the nineteenth amendment.

During the Progressive Era, when the nineteenth amendment was passed, women were considered morally superior to men. A woman's place was in the home. This definition of a woman's place was culturally engendered. Women, Laura Johns explained at the 1890 Kansas Equal Suffrage Association convention, have a "higher standard of administrative efficiency . . . sincerity, character in candidates . . . spirit of helpfulness, a thoughtfulness and knowledge . . . born of faith in the right and ultimate triumph". Women's sphere of direct influence was domesticity and religion. For these reasons, it was argued, it was morally imperative that women

     
 
 
 
    

 

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