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Progress Video and Viewing Guide

How far have we come?

The world today isn’t perfect, but we’ve come a long way, especially in the past 200 years.

Equal rights

  • Abolition of slavery
  • Women’s suffrage
  • The Civil Rights Movement


  • Invention of telegrams
  • Telephones, and (eventually);
  • Cellphones and the Internet


  • Longer life expectancy
  • Vaccines
  • Improvements in medical care, especially for treating cancer and heart disease


  • Higher literacy
  • Increased opportunities for education


  • Invention of automobiles
  • Widely available public transportation
  • Safer vehicles


  1. What do you consider the most pressing problems of today?
  2. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest improvements in the quality of life over the past 150 years?
  3. Think of your favorite historical figure (or a character from a book or a movie set in the past). What would surprise them most about America today?
  4. Can you find other examples of where significant progress has been made?