DBQ: Access the validity of the following statement using background knowledge and the provided documents. "Theodore Roosevelt was not a true progressive reformer, but rather a politician that responded to the political climate of the age."
Progressivism originated as the optimistic vision that society was capable of improvement, and that continued growth and advancement were the nation's destiny. This, however, would require direct, purposeful human intervention in social and economic affairs. Progressive reformers wished to limit the disperse authority and wealth by empowering the government to regulate or break up trusts at both state and national levels. They also believed in the importance of social cohesion. Individuals were not autonomous; rather they are each part of a great web of social relationships. Therefore they pushed for reforms to help women, children, industrial workers, immigrants, and even African Americans to a certain extent. Progressives also harbored a deep faith in knowledge, wishing to apply the principles of natural and social sciences to society. This would improve organization and efficiency, they felt, and would make for a more equitable and humane society. They understood that people could participate in government directly. (Document G) Another belief of theirs was that modernized government was completely necessary to improve and stabilize society, and that government required new and enhanced institutions, leaders, and experts.
Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, after the assassination of McKinley. Roosevelt was a republican, whose greatest claim to fame was as a progressive. His presidency was dedicated to progressive reform, and was filled with successful changes. Therefore, he was a true progressive, and not just a politician responding to the political climate of the age. Many of the changes which he embarked upon started out as grassroots campaigns. Just as any progressive would, he was...
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