The United States History
Progressivism refers to the idea that the government and her citizens can play a significant role in changing the social, political and economic systems. Progressivism addressed various social ills facing the United States including inequality, and social problems that were dominant in the USA (Foner and McGirr, 123). The progressives were committed to end corruption, promote efficiency, perfection, labor reform and urbanization. Furthermore, the progressives enhanced the social welfare of the American population.
The progressives achieved their role and played a significant role in changing the lives of the Americans. They addressed the various social issues that affected the local population. They helped in the preservation of democracy. The various parts of the progressives including the settlement house movement and the Young Men Christian Association enlightened people about their rights (Foner and McGirr, 201). They created economic forums and promoted moral improvement. Progressivism was a success because they fostered efficiency in different sectors. Workers worked for fewer hours, and the minimum wage labor was improved for factory workers.
The progressive movement in the United States became popular in the 20th century. The progressives were committed to redefining human fulfillment of capacities. It was one of their primary tasks, and modern conservatism owes its success to the efforts of the founders of the contemporary constitutionalism ((Foner and McGirr, 64). They advocated for open and democratic systems of government. They progressives also advocated for presidential leadership that provided unity of direction, vision, and a progressive government that takes the desires and interest of all people at heart.
During the Gilded Age, the politicians were mostly corrupt and ineffective. The politicians amassed wealth and the expense of the general populace resulting from rapid economic growth. The quality of the middle class improved significantly. However, the industrial workers and farmers did not have the opportunity to enjoy the new prosperity. They worked for long hours in poor working conditions, and this affected their health in a great deal. Majority of the Americans during this period were committed to having political and social reforms. The ineffectiveness and the corrupt nature of the politicians prompted the citizens to demand reforms. The individuals who were advocating for reforms became to be known as progressives (Foner and McGirr, 147). The economy was growing at an unprecedented rate which created massive wealth. The railroads and the telephone lines that stretched across the country created opportunities for entrepreneurs, and cheaper goods were made available to the consumers. During the Gilded period, the poor Americans struggled to survive as a result of the industrial and financial aristocracy (Hayes, 234). Some of the Americans populace celebrated the new wealth that was created while others lamented.
The American political and economic elites capitalized on the rapidly growing wealth while industrial workers struggled to survive. The industrial wages were low, and people were working in the factories for long hours under poor conditions. One consequence of the Gilded Period was the emergence of the labor movement where workers banded together to force their collective will upon the industrial giants who had dominated them (Foner and McGirr, 165). The long, violent crimes organized by industrial workers gave rise to the development of the progressives.
The ideas of progressives transformed the American politics. A new theory of justice took hold and developments within the contemporary liberalism became predominant as was evidenced in the American education system, media popular culture and politics. Besides, the majority of the people who refer to themselves as the progressives and the liberals accept much of the progressive view of the American society.
The United States became a kinder gentler as a result of the progressive movement because it advocated for equality of all races in the US. Besides, the ideologies would promote a just society and ensure equitable distribution of wealth and success for every American. Majority of the Americans who were working in the industries did not receive any benefits from growing economy. They were subjected to poor working conditions and low pay. The industrial workers went ahead to organize for labor movements to address their plights and advocate for better wages and working conditions. They organized violent demonstrations that were posing a threat to the rapidly growing economy (Hayes, 123). The American economic and political elites became weary of this growing trend and demanded equality and promotion of human rights for the benefit of the economic investments and political rights. The progressives believed that all men were created equal and have specific inalienable rights. They believed that every individual was expected to obey the natural law. The government found it necessary to abide by the considerations of the founders of the progressive movement. They had to protect the rights and freedoms of the people since it was a duty and not a right.
The historians assess the progressive movement from the perspective of conservatism and liberal movements which has continued to be a characteristic of the American society (Hayes, 47). The progressives contributed significantly to the development of a new society and ideals that holds today. The democratization and liberal society which is a characteristic of the United States was brought about by the progressives.
Foner, Eric, and Lisa McGirr, eds. American history now. Vol. 79. Temple University Press, 2011.
Link, Arthur S. “Woodrow Wilson and the progressive era, 1910-1917.” (1954).
Hayes, William. The Progressive Education Movement: Is it Still a Factor in Today’s Schools?. Rowman ; Littlefield Education. 15200 NBN Way, PO Box 191, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214-0191, 2006.