G CS 10

Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution

Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the United States.

Content Statement

10. Amendments 16 through 19 responded to calls for reform during the Progressive Era.

Content Elaborations

The Progressive Era was a time of political, economic, and social reform in response to problems which emerged throughout the United States in the late 1800s. Progressive reforms began at the local level and gradually spread to the national level, including four constitutional amendments. These amendments addressed issues related to taxation, representation in Congress, alcohol use and suffrage.

Concerns over the usage of tariffs by the federal government and distribution of wealth in the country had been raised by the Populist Party. Progressives took up the call for reform and the 16th Amendment was passed to allow for a federal income tax. Critics of state politics viewed political party bosses and business leaders as having too much influence on state legislatures and their selection of senators.

Amendment 17 provides for the direct election of senators by the people. Proponents of prohibition had for decades linked alcohol use to problems such as poverty and the destruction of family life. Efforts to ban the use of alcoholic beverages led to passage of the 18th Amendment. Another longstanding reform effort was focused on obtaining the right to vote for women.

The 19th Amendment ended the denial of suffrage based upon the sex of a citizen.

Expectations for Learning

Summarize how the 16th through the 19th Amendments addressed the calls for reform during the Progressive Era.