Interpreting American Progressivism
The period referred to as the Progressive Era in American history is one which historians often disagree over, and as in all areas of history, there are many theories surrounding the era which sometimes contradict each other. Historians are always aware of prominent theories within the field, and they often participate in an ongoing dialogue concerning their research. One of the first historians to make a major mark regarding the Progressive Era was Richard Hofstadter in his book The Age of Reform, published in 1955. Other prominent works include Peter G. Filene’s “Obituary for the Progressive Movement” , published in 1970, Richard L. McCormick’s “The Discovery that Business Corrupts Politics” , …show more content…
Hofstadter argues that during the Progressive Movement, these reformers wanted to restore and ensure equality and democracy against the new economic order. Many of their leaders were fairly wealthy men themselves, but they “distinguished…between ‘responsible’ and ‘irresponsible’ wealth”, condemning industrialists, the leaders of political machines, and monopolies, claiming that their rapid growth was unethical. They instead wished to “restore popular government as they imagined it to have existed in an earlier and purer age”, persistently emphasizing individualism. Though they knew they had to establish organization to a point in order to achieve their goals, they were at the same time trying “to retain the scheme of individualistic values that this organization was destroying.” Hofstadter also points out that they saw the increasing numbers of politico-business relationships as dangerous and corruptive, and felt as if the so-called “public interest” of citizens was being overlooked and ignored for the private interests of those men who ran these powerful corporations. However, though they were “‘liberal’ in the classic sense”, Hofstadter argues that Progressives were actually conservative in their political beliefs
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Rockefeller’s statement began the progressive era because it put the many thoughts of progressive leaders into words. The Progressive Era was the era that people started to solve U.S problems through individual and group actions. The problems within the Industrial Capitalist society weren’t new, but the reactions were. Rockefeller symbolized a new way of thinking about the problems that the middle-class and working-class of the late 1800’s - early 1900’s were encountering. The 2 percent of the upper population controlled the nations industry and banks. They made known their wealth and pleasure filled lives by flaunting yachts, mansions, and private collections of art. The Upper Class embraced a world of individualism in which every man was responsible for his family’s poverty or wealth. This seduced many middle-class Americans in uncritically echoing this idea and the words of the oil master,
The progressive Era was times in History were local state and federal government took a leap forward in power and activism. In addition, the progressive era, was a time of development of new reforms and changes for America. Progressivism handles a wide range of problems and struggle for America. Such problems were created by unstructed industrialization, urbanization and immigration. As well as, the unfavorable distribution of power and wealth. Progressives believed strongly that problems such as these needed immediate action. Progressives existed in churches, organized labor, local political life, organizations and progressives of high education. Progressives wanted to make America better through inniatives, arranged action, idealism and social scientific research. Progressive had a tendency to expect the best possible outcome of situations. By, the 1920’s, progressives put in effect, changes of all aspects of society and government. Nevertheless, progressives had unhonorable qualities as well. They were biased of class and prejudiced against races.
The Progressive Era was a time period between the years 1900-1920 and it marked a time in American history in which society was bursting with enthusiasm to improve life in the industrial age by making political and social changes through government action that ultimately led to a higher quality of life for American citizens. Progressives were known for their beliefs in limiting the power of big business, strengthening the power of the states, and were advocators against corruption and social injustice. These progressive reformers as well as the Federal Government successfully managed to improve the quality of life and establish a precedent for a move active government, although neither was completely successful in solving significant
During the time from the 1890s to the 1920s a period of social and political reform took place in the United States known as the Progressive Era. “The era saw the expansion of political and economic freedom through the reinvigoration of the moment for woman suffrage, the use of political power to expand workers rights’ and efforts to improve democratic government by weakening the power of the city bosses and giving ordinary citizens more influence on legislation.” The progressive reformers from this time gained a majority of their support from the education middle-class of urban areas. Another term used to describe these reformers is Muckrakers.
One common misconception is to view the Progressive movement as a unified core of reform-minded crusaders dedicated to improving the social welfare of American society. While this viewpoint is not entirely incorrect, it is only a partial and thereby misleading assessment of the movement that categorized the early part of the nineteenth-century. What some may fail to appreciate is the duality of the period-the cry for social welfare reforms juxtaposed against the demand for optimum efficiency through scientific controls.
The Progressives were a group of reformers such as writers, politicians, and Social welfare advocate, etc. living mainly in cities during the early 20th century and working to change legislative issues, financial aspects, and good society. They accepted that change could originate from inside of man, and along these lines, dismisses the believe of Social Darwinism and regular determination. They were in charge of the section of many laws, including restriction, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the Interstate Commerce Act. During this era, “People work to make themselves and the society a safer and a better place to live. The Progressive worked to make big business regulate more responsible and clean up corrupted businesses, city, improving a better working conditions etc.”(Discussion 9). New comers to the movement strived to adjust to new conditions at one hand while attempting to keep up their particular society and dialect framework with the other making a perplexing circumstance.
1. Bounded by the end of the nineteenth century and the American entry into World War I, the Progressive Era brought dramatic changes to the nation’s economic, political, and social sectors.
The Gilded Age was one of the most dynamic and controversial periods in American history. With the growth of factories in the north, America’s economy increased at an unbelievable rate. This growth created a series of new opportunities for some but also left many workers and farmers to struggle in poverty and harsh conditions. As one groups continued to grow more and more wealthy, the other continued to grow poorer and poorer. This created a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. As this phenomenon continued it created many problems such as monopolies, racist and sexist laws, filthy city conditions, and child labor. To try to remedy these problems, the Progressive Movement was started. By initiating reforms in many aspects of American
In 1958, a man named George Mowry explains s economic, social, and political divisions of the progressivism movement. The progressivism movement ties in a lot with our society today and shows how history does indeed repeat itself. Mowry describes the good, and bad of progressivism, but emphasizes the bad. Mowry is really trying to exhibit the differences between capitalism and socialism in his essay and explain why progressivism is not good for the well being and future of America, which can be proven today but our economic instability and division as a nation. More importantly however Mowry displays how progressives try to create, “heaven on earth” by their moral actions.
The early to mid 1900s proved to be a whirlwind for politics and society as a whole. While there were a plethora of issues to be dealt with within the Progressive Era, one of the most noteworthy issues to discuss would be that of the working class and the businessmen of the first quarter of the 1900s. The reason why these two portions of society within the Progressive Era are the most relevant to discuss stems from the fact that during the Progressive Era there was a great gap between the upper-class (businessmen) and the lower-class (working class). It was during this time that the country was experiencing great changes to its political platform with several new types of initiatives being taken. The applicability of these reforms and initiatives during this era will be talked about.
Where did some of modern America's issues originate from? The answer to that is the Progressive Era. The Legislation of that era laid all of the groundwork for today, and much of it is still in public debate today. Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson, three of the presidents from that era, all played roles in the groundwork. These presidents passed acts, tariffs, and amendments that are still with us, and debated today.
DBQ The progressive era was a time of great social, economic, and political change in the United States that marked major changes in the daily lives of Americans. Between 1870 and 1920, reform movements for almost all aspects of American life took place. Although these reform movements did not affect the upper class, they would shape the majority of society leading all the way up to World War I. Changes in Political initiative, economic policy, and the social environment shaped the time period. American Expansionism and Civil Service examinations changed the political scene while new economic policies like the antitrust acts and the creation of the federal reserve reformed the period’s economic system.
Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency marked the beginning of a very liberal period in American history. This new ‘Progressive Era’ was mobilized largely by the middle class as an attempt to put an end to the problems created by the period of excess that was the Gilded Age. Believing that big business was ruining democracy, and assuming a moral obligation to shield the poor and downtrodden from corrupt capitalists, the Progressives commenced an era of sweeping reforms. From the outset, the Progressive movement targeted domestic issues such as political machines, monopolies, and factory regulations. While President Roosevelt—the face of the Progressive movement—frequently became entangled in global affairs during his time in the Whitehouse, the focus of Progressives during this stage remained primarily on domestic concerns. It was not until after Roosevelt’s presidency that the Progressives followed their patron’s lead, becoming active participants in foreign affairs. Theodore Roosevelt’s exit from the spotlight and subsequent return to politics in 1912 caused the Progressives to split from the Republican Party, and when war broke out in Europe in 1914, Progressives were then divided amongst themselves regarding how the Great War should be handled from afar. As foreign policy issues became a larger concern than domestic issues, the Progressives shifted their attention away from home and toward foreign policy.
A time of betrayal, uncertainty, confusion, and corruption, the Election of 1912 was a peculiarly exciting bout between four candidates Roosevelt, Wilson, Taft and Debs. Brett Flehinger state in The Election of 1912 and the Power of Progressivism, “The 1912 election was a unique moment in the Progressive Era because it drew together politicians, social reformers, intellectuals, and economists onto a single stage and produced a many-sided national debate.” (Flehinger vii) All were concerned with one central issue: the future of America’s economic, political, and social structures. The role of blacks in society, women’s suffrage, trust busting, and tariffs were some of the major political issues of the 1912 election.
From protests going on today to the foundation of our nation, when Americans do not like something, they act. The Progressive Era, following the aptly named Gilded Age, was riddled with problems in two main areas: urban life, and working conditions. While during the Progressive Era efforts in these sectors differed greatly in how they aimed to help, both shared a common goal legal reform and bringing the American people to a greater level of equality.