Caroline Bartlett Crane: A Kalamazoo Progressive Reformer
The progressive era was a time in American history which produced an inordinate amount of change during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The progressive era was filled with many reforms which sought to change the many inequities created by American society. These reforms were not only social, but economic as well. Though the progressive era was a national movement, as can be seen in such reforms as the Nineteenth Amendment letting women at a national level have the opportunity to vote, the movements had their roots in local levels as well. If it were not for reformers wanting more changes at a grassroots levels progressive reform would not have occurred at a national level. One progressive-minded woman by the name of Caroline Bartlett Crane was an integral player in the progressive movement who saw this link between local and national movements. Crane dedicated her life to seeking reform in such areas as city sanitation procedures, woman's suffiage, and food inspection. Crane started her reformation movements in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her ability to bring about successful changes at local levels, in Kalamazoo, Michigan her hometown, gave her the ability to stimulate interest in creating reforms and thus she was able to garner enough support to take on her prerogatives at a national level. Crane was a key progressive player who was integral in making changes in Kalamazoo and helped facilitate change at a national level. Another important aspect of Crane was that she was able to transcend gender roles and achieve political and social changes that were once thought too intricate for women to handle. She was one of the main trailblazers for the women's movement into politics. She, like many middle-class women, sought reform during the progressive era, and she proved that women had the ability to bring about changes, not only in Kalamazoo, but throughout the United States. Crane helped integrate women into the political spectrum and showed that women's place was just not in the home and that their voice mattered.