The Progressive Era

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As the 19th century came to a close a new epoch, known as the Progressive Era emerged in response to industrialization. This early 20th century reform movement pursued control of the government to the people. In order to reinstate economic opportunities and to correct inequity in American life. Progressives believed that government could be used as a powerful tool for social improvement (Gillon, Matson 2009). Although the Progressive ideal was presented by numerous Progressive authors of different genre, together they all presented the impact of the economic, political, social, and moral reforms of the American Society. The Progressive authors were arranged by challenges of which they offered their opinions, including psychological and sociological, economic and historical, legal, and religious. The first psychological Progressive author, William James laid the groundwork for much of the Progressive thoughts in his book, Principle of Psychology (1890). Throughout the book James challenged the fortitude and pessimism of Social Darwinists, by arguing that humans could control their own process of evolution. The other psychological author, Lester Frank Ward authored Dynamic Sociology (1883). Ward furthermore argued the conjecture of Social Darwinism, and that it had underestimated the capability of human intelligence. According to Ward human intelligence could alter the environment, and improve society (Gillon, Matson 2009). The second group of authors had quite a different approach than the others, by presenting the economic and historical challenges. Author Thorstein Veblen composed two books, Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and Theory of Business Enterprise (1904). Veblen’s influential voice offered an antidote to laisse... ... middle of paper ... ... to modernizing the state government with his reform program which included laws that improved civil services. La Follette developed the Wisconsin Idea, which included workers compensation; primary elections, state regulations on railroads and a progressive taxation where wealthy have a higher tax rate. The Wisconsin Idea quickly spread to other states and was a major proponent of the Progressive Era (Gillon, Matson 2009). The Progressive Era had a major impact on the late 19th and early 20th century America. Social change was looming to protect the citizens in America. There were laws that were politically performed to allow citizens to have their voice heard. Intellectually the educational system was altered to give more authority and awareness to the common man. Economically campaign advertisements were used to generate thousand of new supporters.

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