The term Progressivism implies a philosophy that promotes change/reform in the current political, economic, and social aspects of society while conservatism stresses gradual change in society but promotes tradition rather than change. The Progressive movement from 1901 to 1917 worked to improve aspects of society that grew out of problems which occurred during the Industrial Age. The goals of the "Progressives" were to stop monopolies, corruption, inefficiency and social injustices. Both progressive acts and amendments were being passed to deal with social ills, corruption in politics and corporate America. The period from 1901-1917 was more a victory for liberalism, mainly "modern liberalism", than a triumph of conservatism due to the fact that multiple reform movements were occurring in this era changing political, economic, and social aspects in society to protect the rights of the common man.
In this essay, I will be discussing Liberalism and Socialism, what exactly they entail, and how they were and are still used in societies today. Liberalism is defined as a political orientation that favors social progress by reform and by changing laws rather than by revolution. Socialism is defined as a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. While the intentions of liberalist and socialist governments are the same, what makes them different is how they believe is the best ways to obtain a prosperous and peaceful nation. Liberalist government was founded on the ideas of liberty and equality.
Truman vs. Roosevelt in Progressivism Theodore Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" and Woodrow Wilson's "New Freedom" were revolutionary thoughts in the early part of the 20th century. Well ahead of its time were the economic intervention policies introduced by these Presidents to transform America into a strong and fair country. The main concern of these "progressives" was the abuse of power by government and businesses. Even though Wilson's plan and Roosevelt's plan would differ in several ways, the nationalistic tone was quite similar. They both believed in government intervention into businesses that were abusing the countries inability to control monopolies, exploitation of minorities, women and children etc.
Russell's Administration of 1846-52 The liberals believed that change was essential to preserve the importance of the political system. This showed they were accepted reform, a lot more than the conservatives. This however was slightly limited to the beliefs of the Whigs. The liberals also believed in free trade, as did the Whigs and therefore were in favor of disposing of the Corn Laws. They had open attitudes to the allowing the middle class into the framework, and hence worked on the franchise.
During the progressive era, both Roosevelt and Wilson put in great effort to defend smaller businesses. Theodore Roosevelt’s policy of prosecuting monopolies, or “trusts,” that violated federal antitrust laws was known as “Trust-Busting.” This forced industrialists and monopolistic corporations to consider public opinion when making business decisions, which benefited the consumer and helped grow the economy. One way that Wilson and Roosevelt tried protecting these smaller businesses was by removing trusts that were much bigger than they were. Under Wilson’s authority in 1814, the Clayton Anti- Trust Act was passed, which abolished interlocking directorates. This law was passed as an amendment to clarify and supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
The Progressives’ moral concern as Brinkley argues leads them “ to protect individuals, individuals, communities, and the government itself from excessive corporate power… usually through some form of state intervention “ (Brinkley 9). The regulation of big business, the addition minimum wage, and the anti-trust legislation laid the path for the United States to deviate itself from a country for the wealthy, to a country for the many. With the emergence of the Great Depression in 1929, the economy became a pivotal concern, but the idea of restoring and reestablishing economic growth carried progressive ideals. The Progressive ideals remained present in the country’s social agenda, resulting in a large national push against monopolies. As Brinkley explains, “ within the realm of national policymaking, traditional anti-monopoly sentiments were associated especially closely with progressives from the West and Midwest “ ( Brinkley 59).
It first entered during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration when he had begun with the expansion of his own presidential power and changed it for increasing the powers for the federal government. While promoting progressive reforms, he wanted to guarantee that the interests of private concerns did not hurt public interests. In order to end it, he confronted the monopolies of trusts and created a government bureau to watch over the undertakings of corporations, and strapped for laws that would protect clients. During his time serving as the president, the Interstate Commerce Commission received the authority it needed to adjust the railroad industry. His threat of military interference during a miner’s strike extended the government’s role in averting encounters between the nation’s different groups.
Roosevelt and Wilson were both strong believers in Progressivism. The Progressive movement was time of eliminating corruption and reform. Roosevelt wanted a stronger central government to help the people. He used his position as president as a “bully pulpit”, in that he would influence public opinion through his popularity. Roosevelt often took a more aggressive approach to domestic policy in that he would go against the Old Guard Republicans, whereas Wilson was one to speak directly in front of congress in order to gain their support.
Classical liberal ideas often form the basis for opposition to the use of government to attain social objectives. They stress instead reliance on private initiatives or the free market to determine the best outcomes. Liberals believe in the government action the allows equal opportunities and equality for all. Liberals have a more fact-based, rather than faith-based, ideology. They are not so motivated by self-serving but actually negative emotions, such as prejudice, greed and fear, and thus can see the great advantages to a society of justice for all The basic duty of the government is to protect the common good and private rights of individuals.
Old Liberals also believed in free trade, this meant various countries of the world could trade which enabled them to obtain materials which they cannot produce themselves. New Liberals which evolved from Old Liberalism, believed in more intervention in order to help the people in society (i.e. the poor) ‘Advocates of New Liberalism, such as David Lloyd George, who entered the cabinet as president of the Board of Trade in 1905, wished to see a far more interventionist approach to improving life for the lower class’ (Byrne 1995) New Liberals were different from Old Liberals because they believed