An Analysis of the Populist and Progressive Era

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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:

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