California was a large factor in the development of the Progressive Era, and the way in which it evolved with the nation. Progressives in California at the time were heavily involved in having more reform and regulatory policies on government. They were interested in pursuing equal rights and reforms for women’s rights, immigrants and minorities. As the chapter described, members of the Progressive party in California were of all different races, ages and genders. As a result of their efforts to place more restrictive policies on government agencies and outlets, the emphasis they created developed into something which helped to shape the face of the nation.
Among these individuals was a powerful man by the name of Hiram Johnson, who eventually went on to become governor of California during this time. The Progressive Era, known as the period between 1890-1920, was a time in which the United States saw much drastic change in the way in which it represented its people, and the way in which government behaved. Progressives called for much reform on the end of government, having grown viciously tired of political corruption such a precedence in the way in which politics worked and operated.
Progressive leaders were champions of women’s suffrage rights, something which was unheard of in most modern politics of the time. Another thing which California progressives helped to foster was something which would have a huge effect on American politics during the 20th century– the initiative, the referendum and the recall. The initiative was a revolutionary concept which gave citizens more control over the way in which their government operated– it allowed the citizens to bypass legislature that was passed through the California government by enforcing and enacting proposed statues, and in various ways, constitutional amendments to the proposed ballots.
During this time, they also brought into fruition the referendum, which was essentially a measure which made its appearance on ballots. The primary types of referenda were initiated through the successful petitioning of the citizenry, and allowed for active involvement of citizens, and essentially gave them a proactive voice in the way in which government operated, the bills which were passed into law. Quite possibly the most important of these concepts, though, was the ability to recall. Recall essentially allowed for citizens to vote to have a politician removed from office before the conclusion of their term.
These various concepts and ideas, as well as the others which developed in this era, have successfully had an impact on the modern political landscape. With the success of the California Progressive movement came crucial support to the Progressive moment, in general, which was largely a contributing factor to Theodore Roosevelt being elected as President. As a matter of fact, Hiram Johnson was actually Roosevelt’s running mate on the ballot the year that he won the presidential candidacy.
Large scale reform from Progressive Era leaders eventually contributed to much of the social reform and growth that modern America has seen today, with several concepts such as racial equality and gender equality being addressed and proposed during this period. Crucial leaders had a hand in the development of the concepts, and as a result, allowed for progressive notions to be more adequately placed in American legislation.
Because of the changes which were enforced, there was also more strict regulation on corporations, and during this time, much political corruption was halted due to successful reform and regulatory practices. Progressive Era leaders also were able to instill in citizens the value of checking the balance between politicians and government.