A Fierce Discontent

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A Fierce Discontent:
The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America 1870-1920

In A Fierce Discontent, McGerr bequeaths an astounding historical synopsis of the progressive era including subjects as, social action, urbanization, and social reform. Using the once individualistic middle class as his basis for argumentative purposes, McGerr breaks down the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Class relations play a big part in the paperback, focusing on the working class and the immensely wealthy “upper ten” percent. McGerr’s argument was that the progressive movement created a middle class with aspirations for a better democracy, but their ineffectiveness is the soul explanation on the weakness in the political world in the early twentieth century.

The progressive era was a social movement that culminated the start of a political movement. The progressive movement was run by “progressives,” such as Jane Addams, who believed that the problems that society faced, where the doing of society itself these actions included racism, poverty, and violence. The progressives believe that these common issues can be solved by moral educations and a safe environment. They concurred that the government was an essential tool for this movement. McGerr was clearly a progressive through his writings. The progressives did their best to urbanize and reform America. However, this movement would be seen as a reaction to the “upper ten.” The author’s thesis was not something to be proven. I, myself saw it as more of an opinion rather than a statement. The middle class in A Fierce Discontent struggles with four main points, to change other people; to end class conflict; to control big business; and to segregate society. In order these questions are asked.

Another main point in this paperback is the power, importance and face of individualism. Unlike their Victorian elders, the Progressives viewed individualism as something that needed to be changed in order...
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