Progressivism in the United States Essay Example

Pages: 2 (748 words) Published: May 16, 2007
Progressivism in the United States
At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was experiencing incredible output in industrialization and urbanization. As adolescent America was experiencing one of its first major growth spurts, many idealists took it upon themselves to set in motion reforms to keep America balanced and accountable. These people came to be known as the "progressives." Progressivism was a largely bipartisan movement with such faces in the forefront as Woodrow Wilson, William Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Bryan. Three of the main issues targeted by the progressives were democracy; social justice and equality; and economic reform. All of these issues were tackled on a local, state, and national level.

Progressivist's believed that economic privilege and corrupt government policies threatened democracy in the U.S. They also believed that true democracy had been taken out of the Electoral College system. To remedy this they came up with 2 major reforms; the initiative, and direct primary. The initiative reform provided that after a petition was put together by the people it was either put to a direct popular vote, or put through to legislature beforehand. We know this as "ballot measures" or "propositions." The next major reform in democracy brought on by the progressives was the Primary Election. This provided that each political party was to decide their candidates ahead of

time for the general election that was to take place. This generates direct involvement from the people in the choosing of the next elected official, and pulls the government closer to a more pure form of democracy. "These reforms have given voters today a louder voice in the direct choosing of elected candidates" (Wilensky). They have given us the power to become directly involved in the legislation that binds our daily lives.

Other major issues for the progressives included reforms for social justice and equality. They supported social welfare, in...
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