Progressive Era Essay

Progressive Era Essay


The origin and reforms of the banking system occurred during the progressive era. This was an epoch of political, financial/economic and social reforms for the world, mostly in Europe and America. The activism of many parties, individuals and the government yielded this revolution that brought change to the economy and banking industry. With the leadership of the president Woodrow Wilson, banking and economics were instituted in the business world in America. Efforts from economists such as J. P Morgan brought reforms to the businesses in America during this period. At this time, three economists and bankers,J.P. Morgan, George F. Baker, and James Stillman, controlled a great part of the banking industry. Their control was noted all over the US, almost in all banks. These findings were after the research carried out on the banking industry after the collapse in 1907 (Carson and Bonk 1999).The discussion and focus point in this paper is on the banking and economic reforms during the progressive epoch. Banking and economics, which had then been uncivilized, were revolutionized and centralized through the aid of several economists, bankers, government and the individuals of the time.

Background of the Topic

This research aims at identifying the problems faced during the progressive era, related to economics and banking. It discusses the reforms conducted during this period and identifies the individuals who fully participated and invested their time and efforts in creating a better business world. The flaws and success of their efforts is also discussed, where we analyse their efforts and the effects on the business world today. The main focus point is on the revolutions attached to the progressive era. All the key players and activists to the revolution are discussed and their roles in revolutionizing the economy and the banking industry.

Sub questions

What were the problems in economics and banking during the progressive era?

Before the revolution of the progressive era, banking was not centralized and it operated in traditional and unclear principles. This led to a recession period, which involved crisis in banking and economics in America. President Woodrow helped reform the economy and created a better environment for business. He focused on reforming the business industry which had collapsed out of failures and poor techniques. It was during 1908 that the Aldrich-Vreeland Act was enacted by congress to fight the then banking and economic problems. This was after the panic of Wall Street in 1907, which rendered all banks bankrupt (McCulley, 2012). These were among the many failures and problems facing the economic and banking industry in America during the progressive era.

What were the problems solved by J.P Morgan during the progressive era?

Morgan was the greatest financier and banker during the progressive era. He played a key role in fighting economic problems that were affecting America, before and during the progressive epoch. One of his key roles was merging American independent steel industries into becoming United States Steel Corporation. He also merged Edison General Electric and Thompson-Houson Electric Company into being General Electric Company (Moss 1996). All these activities aimed at strengthening the American business world. J.P. Morgan is greatly remembered for fighting the financial panic of 1907. This was when the banking industry had failed, where he strategized on how to revive and strengthen the industry, which he did. His principles aimed at efficiency and fairness to all. Through his efforts, he succeeded in fighting economic problems in USA, during the progressive era.

What are the effects of the progressive era in economics and banking?

The progressive eonacted as a foundation to the modern form of banking and economics. It is during this period that the banking industry was revived and strengthened, through the efforts of the then bankers and financiers. The progressive era set up better principles, laws and acts for banking and economics, which helped in strengthening the industry. At a time when the banking industry faced financial constraints out of the lack of business continuity planning, the era took up the role of revolutionizing and strengthening the industry.

What were the boom and bust cycles of the economy? What were the effects of economics andbanking?

Revolutionizing of economy and banking led to a boost in the economy of America. Many employment opportunities arose, creating a greater supply of money amongst the people. Through banking, capitalism was fought creating a free and liberal market for all people.This stirred up the need for business activeness among the citizens, yielding faster development in the country. Increase in exports, and thus foreign exchange was recorded, and the country became the strongest economy in the world. This led to an overall improvement in the living standards of the country’s citizens. The boom and bust cycles of the economy were characterized by the financial strain of Wall Street in 1907, which led to collapse of over 7000 banks (Stillion,2011). The banks were previously flourishing in the industry until the sudden collapse and record of great losses.

Professional Significance of the Work
On the professional scope, the information depicted here creates an ingenious source of information on the history of economics and banking. The activists and leaders of the reforms are named in the paper, helping the reader gain knowledge on the pioneers of the modern form of banking. The information is, therefore, professionally viable for other researches or as a source of reliable information.

How does this information benefit the reader?

On the professional scope, the information helps in creating a better understanding of the American economic and banking history. The reader is able to understand the financial situation of the United States of America during the progressive era. The era was marked with constraints and success, all aimed at bettering America’s economic foundation. With an understanding of this information and the contemplation of the knowledge, one is able to view the state of America’s economy and banking industry during this epoch.

Overview of Methodology

The information used during this research has been obtained from internet and library sources. Some of the primary or first-hand sources of the information are extinct and most of the dependable sources have been written by other authors over time. The other used documents are cited in this paper, most of which discuss the economic state of US during the time. The information helps in creating awareness and understanding to the audience. The major sources of this information are the peer reviewed journals, article and books. These books are listed in the reference page, and all citations have been made in the paper.


One of the limitations in this research is the scarcity of accurate data. The dates and years of specific activities have not been recorded, acting as a hindrance to the accurate data. This may be as a result of the lack of the initial accurate data, making it less reliable in terms of keeping accurate dates.

Definition of Terms

         Era/eon/epoch – This is a specific period, marked by a certain occurrence or activity. It is often illustrated with quotation of times.

         Progressive –It refers to the successful continuation of events. In this case, it is an era of success of the US, where many amendments and changes resulting to success of the country occurred.

         Eradication –This is the complete or the total removal of something. In this research, it refers to the opposition of the Spanish rule in Cuba.

         Political –Refers to everything relating to a country’s politics and governance.

         Economical –Refers to all information or activities that are driven to the creation of money or wealth.

         Social –Refers to all relations between humans, which are aimed to the creation of a harmonious living.


            The research creates awareness in the audience regarding the progressive era of 1890 – 1913. During this period, there were many occurrences, all aimed at creating a better economy and business environment, and revolutionizing the country. There was much effort from the citizens, government and other individuals, all aimed at bettering the banking and economy. This research is helpful to the audience and readers, who get the chance to understand the key drivers of the progression era, who created the foundation of the modern day banking industry. This is a research on the drivers of this progression and their efforts into realizing their dream. It also discusses the activities involved in the process.


Carson, T., & Bonk, M. (1999). Gale encyclopaedia of U.S. economic history. Detroit: Gale Group.

McCulley, R. T. (2012). Banks and Politics During the Progressive Era. Routledge.

Moss, D. A. (1996).Socializing security: Progressive-Era economists and the origins of American social Policy.Harvard University Press.

Stillion, S. B. A. (2011). Militant citizenship: Rhetorical strategies of the National Woman’s Party, 1913-1920. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.



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