US Constitutionalism

For this assignment, you will write a paper of 4-5 pages based on the topic you chose previously for your short writing assignment. The Topic: Progressive reform had a significant effect on US constitutionalism from the 1880s through the 1910s. What was the result of this reform on four Supreme Court decisions and laws? Identify the underlying progressive ideas that influenced these decisions and laws. Use the first paragraph to introduce your essay. The following four paragraphs will deal with documents that we have read and/or discussed in class, one per paragraph. Your final paragraph will be your conclusion. The best essay has a point of view or argument which is laid out in the first paragraph and relies on the documents to make your case. Remember to date your documents within the decade in which they occur. Be sure to space out your documents so that you include the entire time period that the first part of the class covers. Below is the short essay I submitted previously. Please use this and build on it: ” “The progressive movement was a group of enlightened middle-class individuals who advocated for social and political reforms in the United States that spanned the 1880s to 1920s. Their main objectives were addressing challenges that arose due to industrialization, immigration, urbanization, and political corruption. The movement believed that technology, science, and social science were neutral and objective tools to institute society’s changes through public education. The progressive reform movement had significant effects on U.S. constitutionalism from the 1880s to the 1930s, resulting in the constitution’s changes four times from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth amendment. The new constitution’s new changes included; direct election of senators, federal income tax, and women’s suffrage. Passed by Congress in 1909 and ratified in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment allowed Congress the power to lay and collect taxes derived from any sources from the states without any apportionment based on census or enumeration. Prior to the amendment, the federal government generated its revenue through tariffs and occasionally imposed excise on various goods. The progressive reform movement argued that such tariffs and duties taxed the poor, unfairly increasing their suffering. Consequently, they agitated for the introduction of federal income taxes as a means of shifting the taxes onto wealthier individuals. The seventeenth amendment provided for the direct election of senators by the people. The amendment also changed the procedure for filling vacancies in the senate by enabling the state legislature to permit the governor to make temporary appointments until an election is held. Previously, senators were selected by the state legislatures or governors. The progressives opposed the older system primarily because of two reasons; electoral deadlock and legislative corruption. They argued that senatorial elections resulted in public corruption as prospective candidates splashed money to be elected by the state legislature. As a result, the system favored the election of corrupt officials who favored the interests of corporations instead of being competent and fair-minded. The eighteenth amendment resulted in the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. It illegalized the production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages to the public except for religious purposes. The reformist championed prohibition as alcohol was attributed to poverty and other social issues such as immoral behavior. Besides, it was a way of destroying local barons’ political power as they controlled most of the solons. Finally, efforts by the progressive culminated in the adoption of women suffrage through the nineteenth amendment. White women of age twenty-one years and above were allowed to participate in their leaders. Their votes were seen as being purer and could help root out the rampant corruption practices in public offices through the election of competent leaders. The progressives argued that the power-hungry local barons could not buy their votes. In conclusion, the progressive movement had a significant impact on the constitution of the United States. Although the prohibition amendment was later repealed, the sixteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth amendments are still being enforced today. Their actions paved the way for a new era of societal reforms.”

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