One Hundred Years Ago
What a difference a century makes. In 1913, the Progressive Era was at its peak. Strong political efforts were made to improve living and working conditions for working-class Americans.
Efforts were also being made to eliminate waste and corruption in government, to break up trusts and regulate private industry. For the first time, citizens tried to improve public health, education and sanitation. There was a concerted effort to conserve the environment and to create the U.S. National Park system. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Anti-trust legislation was enacted to break up monopolies. The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed to establish a graduated income tax and the 17th Amendment to allow direct election of U.S. Senators by statewide popular vote. The women's suffrage movement gained in strength to finally cause passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving women the right to vote.
Let's hope that 2013 is as productive as 1913.