Progressive Era Outline

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The Progressive Era (1900-1917)

Who were the progressives and what reforms did they pursue?
* To answer this question, we must analyze the causes of progressivism * General causes: The 1890s – the 1890s were a cause of Progressivism, mainly b/c they sucked. In the 1890s, all the tensions built up during industrialization broke loose in the Panic of 1893, labor problems, political issues, and foreign entanglements. * Capitalism out of control – Partially b/c of the depression, many people started to realize that capitalism, w/ its monopolistic tendencies and rampant destruction of natural resources needed just a bit of restraint. * Screwed-Up Cities – Disease, poverty and crime were often rampant. * Immigration– viewed as problems to society, feared urban immorality, social disorder, etc. Thus… Progressivism- series of political and cultural responses to industrialization and its by-poducts: immigration, urban growth, rise of corporate power/ socio-economic elite, widening class divisions; desire to build new institutions, fear of alien, desire to end abuses of power, efficiency, and desire to achieve perfection

Society is responsible for individuals and should HELP them!

Intellectuals offer new social views

Thorstein Veblen - sharpest critic of new business order. Wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class in which he satirized the lifestyle of the newly rich captains of industry- “conspicuous consumption” argued they were selfish people who flaunted their wealth and didn’t give a flip about other people. Later said that workers/ engineers were better fitted to lead society b/c they were shaped by the discipline of the machine

“Pragmatism”- truth doesn’t emerge from abstract theorizing, it emerges from the experience of coping w/ life’s realities; argued by William James

Herbert Croly- captured faith in power of new ideas to transform society. The Promise of American Life- called for activist gov. like Alexander Hamilton’s but...
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