$600k to the Women's Suffrage Movement
As a whole, Women's Suffrage was the most important movement form the progressive era. I would give the most of my money to the Women's Suffrage Movement to support their cause because each of the other movements (meatpacking industry, child labor, and deforestation) could be largely influenced by granting women the right to vote.
How other progressive movements are affected by Women's Suffrage: During the progressive era, over 50% of the population were women, which means that over half of the population's voices were not being heard. Had women been granted the right to vote sooner, it is almost guaranteed that the issues of child labor, the meatpacking industry, and deforestation movements would have been eliminated much sooner. (Doc.C)
$300k to eradicating Child Labor
After donating to the Women's Rights movement, I would donate a good chunk of my money to eliminating child labor. Document B describes in vivid detail the harsh and brutal environments that children as young as 8 years old would have to endure. During the progressive era, child workers were so popular because they were small enough to get into the small spaces in mines or factories that adults could not. (Doc. B)
Types of jobs young children would have to work:
Textiles- working in factories weaving and spinning cotton
Mining-Breaker Boys" processed raw coal by breaking it into various sizes for different types of furnaces. Other children were employed as coal bearers, carrying coal in baskets on their shoulders. The smaller children worked as "trappers" who opened trapdoors in the mines to move the coal.
Manufactuing- The machines and sharp tools used performing various jobs caused many injuries. Glass factories were notorious and boys under 12 where expected to carry loads of hot glass
$100k to the Meatpacking Industry
From tuberculosis to blood poisoning, the results of unsanitary meat packing and handling can be catastrophic. With the remainder of my $1M I would work to rectify the meat packing industry and make meat safe and thumb-free for all Americans. (Doc. D)
Excerpt from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair:
"The meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one—there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water—and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public’s breakfast"