An Analysis of the Populist and Progressive Era

analytical Essay
1671 words
1671 words

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.” (Jefferson, 1801) This idea echoed far beyond it’s time and into the minds and hearts of the Populist’s, and became the center and the driving force of the Progressive era. During the gilded age railroads were being built, Industrialization was rising, the population of United States was increasing dramatically; and corporate businesses were becoming extremely powerful. The gilded age was known for its corruption and business domination, it wasn’t until the Populist movement when people started to fight back and also not until the Progressive movement when people started changing the government system. During the nineteenth and twentieth century monopolizing corporations reigned over territories, natural resources, and material goods. They dominated banks, railroads, factories, mills, steel, and politics. With companies and industrial giants like Andrew Carnegies’ Steel Company, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company and J.P. Morgan in which he reigned over banks and financing. Carnegie and Rockefeller both used vertical integration meaning they owned everything from the natural resources (mines/oil rigs), transportation of those goods (railroads), making of those goods (factories/mills), and the selling of those goods (stores). This ultimately led to monopolizing of corporations. Although provided vast amount of jobs and goods, also provided ba... ... middle of paper ... ...hey lacked the followers that would enable them to push their ideas further, so in the end the Populists slowly died out but the ideas remained which became a driving force during the progressive era. The Populists can be seen as the stepping stone which it gathered and helped people to realize that a change was needed, without this would the progressive era still have the drive that brought people together? Bibliography Bryan, J. W. (1896). Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech: Mesmerizing the Masses . Foner, E. (2010). The People Party. In E. Foner, Give me Liberty! An American History (pp. 680-682). Canada: W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110. Jefferson, T. ( 1801, March 4). Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address. Retrieved 2008, from The Avalon Project at Yale Law School:

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the idea of a wise and frugal government echoed beyond its time and into the minds and hearts of the populists.
  • Explains how monopolizing corporations reigned over territories, natural resources, and material goods during the nineteenth and twentieth century.
  • Explains that farmers had to pay high tariff prices, costly goods, low profits, and price cuts to 4.6 cents a pound, leading to the populist movement.
  • Explains that the populist party appealed to whites, blacks and women. they also supported women's civil liberties.
  • Explains that the omaha convention was a long list of proposals, including direct election of u.s. senators, government control of the currency, graduated tax income, low-cost public financing to enable farmers to market their crops, and recognition of workers' right to form labor unions.
  • Analyzes how the populists voted for william jennings bryan, who supported the idea of free silver and sided with gold as a "true honest currency."
  • Describes how the progressive movement began to form in the 1900's due to the triangle shirtwaist company fire.
  • Explains that the era was a stepping stone for women as stereotypic views and roles of women were changing. women made up for it by getting involved in politics and forming women activist organizations.
  • Explains that president theodore roosevelt was a progressive president, regulating big businesses with the sherman antitrust act and the pure food and drug act. he also created yellowstone national park.
  • Explains that taft was the last progressive president to hold office during this time period. he passed the underwood tariff, the clayton act, and the federal reserve system.
  • Explains that progressives had a huge advantage over farmers by establishing strong government to regulate large corporations and protect the rights of "average" people.
  • Cites bryan’s “cross of gold” speech: mesmerizing the masses. foner, e. (2010). the people party.
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