The Dual Nature of the Progressive Era Essay

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The Dual Nature of the Progressive Era

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.
Theoretically the two movements were compatible in nature, and under certain circumstances, perhaps even mutually dependent upon one another. One could argue that only a
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The humanitarian wanted to use government to pass stronger health and safety regulations; they saw science as a means to eradicate poverty and disease, and as professionals they sought to bring social order through the uplifting of the oppressed. They were the champions of educational programs for the immigrant, social welfare programs for the impoverished and improved health care for both. As humanitarians they sought to promote orderliness by investing in America's greatest resource-its children.
In contrast, the proponents of scientific management wanted to use the government to impose order through an interlocking pattern of rigid rules and laws. As engineers they too saw science as the panacea for the nation's ills; however, their vision was one of a scientifically planned community, free of wasteful spending and unnecessary expenditures. The scientific managers pictured society operating as a well oiled, highly efficient, economic machine ran by a team of educated nonpartisan experts. As professionals they were convinced that they possessed the necessary knowledge to reduce inefficiency and waste; therefore, it was up to them to impose social order upon a corrupt and often unruly populace. No two individuals epitomize these divergent views of Progressivism better than Jane Addams and Frederick Taylor.
Like most Progressives, Jane Addams was a strong supporter of science. She saw it as a means of

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