Goals of the Progressive Era Essay example

Goals of the Progressive Era Essay example

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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.
To begin with, this era was more a victory for liberalism through many aspects one being politics. The first change progressives wanted in politics was the "initiative were voters could initiate laws instead of waiting for legislatures to do it. Another was the "referendum" were voters could vote proposed bills into law, once again taking power away from the legislatures and giving it to the people. Others included the recall, where voters could remove elected officials from power, the secret or "Australian Ballot" which allowed for more privacy when voting thus encouraging a more true vote and less intimidation at the polls. Also, Roosevelt, who at the beginning of his presidency may have been classified as conservatist, moved more towards progressivism as he pursued his "three C's ", (Control of corporations, Consumer protection, and Co...


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...m than it was for conservatism.
Overall, politics are key in determining whether this era was predominantly liberal or conservative as well as economic and social reforms. On an aside, conservatism can be defined as a political philosophy based upon tradition and social stability while liberalism can be defined in two ways. Modern Liberalism emphasizes liberty and rights but, believes in strong government intervention in order to prevent the growth of a capitalist society, while classical liberalism advocates liberty and the autonomy of the individual. With these definitions given it can be concluded that the progressive era promoted change as well as government intervention to prevent capitalism from spreading and the autonomy of the individual. In conclusion, for the most part the Progressive Era from 1901-1907 was a triumph for modern and classical liberalism.

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