Essay on The Populists and Progressives

Essay on The Populists and Progressives

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During the late 19th and early 20th century both the Populist Party and Progressive movement wanted to preserve some things, while also addressing the need for reform. Although many of the ideas and goals of these “Third parties” were initially not legislated and considered far-fetched, many of these ideas later became fundamental laws throughout American history. The Populists and Progressives were both grass roots movements, and addressed the needs of the poor and powerless, for the Populists it was farmers and for the Progressives it was urban lower and middle class workers. These two movements attempted to bring the powerless peoples issues to national politics. The Populists and Progressives wanted to preserve some American ideals of the past, such as a sense of community and the ability for farmers and workers to live happily without economic strains. Populists were more oriented to the plight of the farmer while the Progressives included women's rights, and protection of the consumer and labor.
The Populist movement was established in 1891. It grew mainly from the agrarian sector of the economy and was mostly based among white farmers.
The farmers feared that Eastern industrialists and bankers were gaining too much influence, power and control over the government. During the “bust” cycle, and times of difficulties, farmers got together, talked about their problems and formed the Populist Party. The Populists were formed because of challenges and difficulties in which they were forced to deal with every day. These challenges included crop failures, falling prices, and the inability to pay loans. The Populists party called for reform by wanting the government to intervene and lessen the impact of economic depressions, regu...


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...ch was a democracy and also wanted to limit the rise of big business and capitalists. Progressives tried to reform American institutions while preserving ideals of the past, such as a sense of community. A major concern of the Progressives was the way “Corporate America” did business. Progressives called for new reforms and proposed political measures to make government more responsive to the desires of the voters. Progressives also believed in the power of science and technology to solve social problems.
During the late 19th and early 20th century both the Populist Party and Progressive movement wanted to preserve some things, while also addressing the need for reform. Although many of the ideas and goals of these “Third parties” were initially not legislated and considered far-fetched, many of these ideas later became fundamental laws throughout American history.

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