PROGRESSIVE ERA 1900-1920. ELEMENTS OF REFORM. Theodore Roosevelt was an ambitious man whose eagerness to leave a mark moved easily from the world arena to his own country.
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The Progressives saw themselves as engaged in a democratic crusade against the abuses of urban political bosses and corporate robber barons.
Their goals were greater democracy and social justice, honest government, more effective regulation of business, and a revived commitment to public service.
What they shared was a common assumption that the complex social ills and tensions generated by the urban-industrial revolution required new responses, responses that frequently entailed expanding the scope of local, state, and federal government authority.
Doing so, they hoped, would ensure “the progress” of American society.
The “real heart of the movement,” declared one self-described progressive reformer, was “to use the government as an agency of human welfare.”
The progressive movement refers to the common spirit of an age rather than to an organized group or party. Much like the reform spirit of the 1830’s and 1840’s, once called Jacksonian Democracy, progressivism was diverse in both origins and tendencies. Few people adhered to all of the caried progressive causes.
William Allen White wrote: “Populism was the beginning of a movement that in another decade was to change the politics of the nation: indeed it was a symptom of a world wide drift to liberalism, which reached its peak….twenty-five years later.”
Men of wealth and social standing (GOP)
Lamented change in America’s political and social climate due to rise of industrialists: monopoly, plutocracy, & oligarchy
Wanted a return to equal opportunity and moral reform