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Progressivism Notes

History Notes > American History - 1863-1975 Notes

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AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1865 PROGRESSIVISM 'A middle-class movement responding to middle-class concerns'. Is this an accurate description of Progressivism?
Introduction Emergence of Progressivism/Difference of a Mugwamp Muckraking Business Municipal reform Class Religion Immigration Politics Conclusion Who Were the Progressives?: G.E. Gilmore
- Historians asked to define progressivism give contradicting answers.
- Most progressives justified sex-based wage discrimination on the basis that women were living in homes with male wage earners, typically.
- Progressives taught immigrants to be Americans, providing English language classes and aiding civic understanding and employment finding.
- Women were key to progressivism, contributing to its intellectual and organisational framework.
- 'Reforms' pursued by some progressives included the implementation of poll taxes or restricting the voting rights of the illiterate.
- In 1912 some Republicans splintered into the Progressive Party, headed by Theodore Roosevelt, and advocate a 'New Nationalism'; he lost the election to Woodrow Wilson's Democrats1.
- Hofstadter has been called a 'counter-progressive'. He has argued that progressivism was not a popular revolution, but a re-ordering, coming from the middle-classes, and seeking to make their world more manageable2.
- The middle-classes were concerned by the chaos caused by urbanisation, industrialisation, and mass immigration.
- Kolko disagrees, and argues that the middle-class element of progressivism stifled forces for real change, such as the Socialists and the IWW.
- After 1900 populism and progressivism merge, although dual urban and rural origins are still evident.
- Mugwamp? Favoured tariff reform and sounds money.
- Growing wealth inequality and the emergence of a plutocracy was causing discontent among America's middle-classes, who were seeing their social status steadily denuded.
- Bourbon Democrats/Redeemers - Southern white democrats who came to power after the end of Reconstruction.
- Rather than seeking endless legislative compromise, urban progressives focussed on the better enforcement and administration of existing rules. For example, instead of seeking more stringent factory legislation, they instead ensured proper adherence to basic employment law.
- McKinley was assassinated in September 1901. 1 Who Were the Progressives?: G.E. Gilmore 2 Who Were the Progressives?: G.E. Gilmore

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