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The Age of Reform, specifically, covers the time period from the 1870’s to the 1940’s. He includes populism, progressivism and the New Deal as main topics in his book and it is mainly biographical in nature. He discusses which groups attempted certain reforms and the part of the era it occurred during. He attempts to explain why they attempted when they did and the political atmosphere. He even notes the geographic locations of specific “pushes” in some cases. Hofstadter, like most historians agrees that reform is the defining feature of the age. Hofstadter felt that populism occurred in the rural west and south while progressivism occurred in the urban northeast areas. He discusses the agrarian myth in some depth and argues that the agrarian populism eventually evolves into part of the progressive movement. His book is one of the main sources that Peter Filene argues against in his article questioning the existence progressivism as a movement. Peter Filene's article presents the idea that Progressivism was not a movement at all but more of a jumbled mess of similar ideas that occurred around the same period in history. Filene “seeks to prove that ‘the progressive movement’ never existed.” (Article 1, p. 20) He believed that there are too many discrepancies between the ideas of different historians and that if it were an actual movement that the definitions of the progressive movement/era would be consistent with each other. The only real agreement that Filene finds between the many differing opinions is the goals of the time period. He includes as the “standard list of progressive objectives… constraints on monopolies, trusts and big banking interests; regulation of railroad rates; lower tariffs; the direct primary; initiative... ... middle of paper ... ...hree, the progressives objectives were extremely wide in scope. The main differences in the articles are what the author chooses to concentrate and center their argument around. Peter Filene’s discussion is the most logical to sympathize with because the other three authors while discussing the movement, prove Filene's argument that there was no actual “movement.” Anyone with a political affiliation or any interest in politics at the time championed one of the ideas of the progressives. The progressives were the people seeking reforms in all agencies and aspects of life. With the changing time and with the wavering leaders and growing uncertainty of the party politics everyone was attempting to change what they could. The time period between the mid nineteenth century and the mid twentieth century did not house the progressive movement, it was the progressive era.

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