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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Progressivism is the support for or advocacy of improvement of society by reform.[1] It is today largely synonymous with left-of-centre political ideology. As a philosophy, it is based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition. Progressivism became highly significant during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, out of the belief that Europe was demonstrating that societies could progress in civility from uncivilized conditions to civilization through strengthening the basis of empirical knowledge as the foundation of society.[2] Figures of the Enlightenment believed that progress had universal application to all societies and that these ideas would spread across the world from Europe.[2]

The meanings of progressivism have varied over time and from different perspectives. The contemporary common political conception of progressivism in the culture of the Western world emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late 19th century, particularly out of the view that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor; minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with monopolistic corporations; and intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, thus claiming that measures were needed to address these problems.[3] Early progressivism was also tied to eugenics[4][5][6] and the temperance movement.[7][8]

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  • The Progressive Era: Crash Course US History #27
  • Progressivism
  • Jonah Goldberg: The Fascist Roots of Progressivism
  • How Progressivism Happened
  • Progressivism

Transcription

Episode 27: Progressive Era Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse U.S. history, and today we’re gonna talk about Progressives. No Stan Progressives. Yes. You know, like these guys who used to want to bomb the means of production, but also less radical Progressives. Mr. Green, Mr. Green. Are we talking about, like, tumblr progressive where it’s half discussions of misogyny and half high-contrast images of pizza? Because if so, I can get behind that. Me from the past, your anachronism is showing. Your Internet was green letters on a black screen. But no, The Progressive Era was not like tumblr, however I will argue that it did indirectly make tumblr and therefore JLaw gifsets possible, so that’s something. So some of the solutions that progressives came up with to deal with issues of inequality and injustice don’t seem terribly progressive today, and also it kinda overlapped with the gilded age, and progressive implies, like, progress, presumably progress toward freedom and justice, which is hard to argue about an era that involved one of the great restrictions on freedom in American history, prohibition. So maybe we shouldn’t call it the Progressive Era at all. I g--Stan, whatever, roll the intro. Intro So, if the Gilded Age was the period when American industrial capitalism came into its own, and people like Mark Twain began to criticize its associated problems, then the Progressive era was the age in which people actually tried to solve those problems through individual and group action. As the economy changed, Progressives also had to respond to a rapidly changing political system. The population of the U.S. was growing and its economic power was becoming ever more concentrated. And sometimes, Progressives responded to this by opening up political participation and sometimes by trying to restrict the vote. The thing is, broad participatory democracy doesn’t always result in effective government--he said, sounding like the Chinese national Communist Party. And that tension between wanting to have government for, of, and by the people and wanting to have government that’s, like, good at governing kind of defined the Progressive era. And also our era. But progressives were most concerned with the social problems that revolved around industrial capitalist society. And most of these problems weren’t new by 1900, but some of the responses were. Companies and, later, corporations had a problem that had been around at least since the 1880s: they needed to keep costs down and profits high in a competitive market. And one of the best ways to do this was to keep wages low, hours long, and conditions appalling: your basic house-elf situation. Just kidding, house elves didn’t get wages. Also, by the end of the 19th century, people started to feel like these large, monopolistic industrial combinations, the so-called trusts, were exerting too much power over people’s lives. The 1890s saw federal attempts to deal with these trusts, such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, but overall, the Federal Government wasn’t where most progressive changes were made. For instance, there was muckraking, a form of journalism in which reporters would find some muck and rake it. Mass circulation magazines realized they could make money by publishing exposés of industrial and political abuse, so they did. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? I bet it involves muck. The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. I’m either correct or I get shocked. “Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing a truck in the pickle-rooms, and all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by the acid, one by one. Of the butchers and floormen, the beef-boners and trimmers, and all those who used knives, you could scarcely find a person who had the use of his thumb; time and time again the base of it had been slashed, till it was a mere lump of flesh against which the man pressed the knife to hold it. ... They would have no nails – they had worn them off pulling hides.” Wow. Well now I am hyper-aware of and grateful for my thumbs. They are just in excellent shape. I am so glad, Stan, that I am not a beef-boner at one of the meat-packing factories written about in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. No shock for me! Oh Stan, I can only imagine how long and hard you’ve worked to get the phrase “beef-boner” into this show. And you finally did it. Congratulations. By the way, just a little bit of trivia: The Jungle was the first book I ever read that made me vomit. So that’s a review. I don’t know if it’s positive, but there you go. Anyway, at the time, readers of The Jungle were more outraged by descriptions of rotten meat than by the treatment of meatpacking workers: The Jungle led to the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. That’s pretty cool for Upton Sinclair, although my books have also led to some federal legislation, such as the HAOPT, which officially declared Hazel and Augustus the nation’s OTP. So, to be fair, writers had been describing the harshness of industrial capitalism for decades, so muckraking wasn’t really that new, but the use of photography for documentation was. Lewis Hine, for instance, photographed child laborers in factories and mines, bringing Americans face to face with the more than 2 million children under the age of 15 working for wages. And Hine’s photos helped bring about laws that limited child labor. But even more important than the writing and photographs and magazines when it came to improving conditions for workers was Twitter … what’s that? There was no twitter? Still? What is this 1812? Alright, so apparently still without Twitter, workers had to organize into unions to get corporations to reduce hours and raise their pay. Also some employers started to realize on their own that one way to mitigate some of the problems of industrialization was to pay workers better, like in 1914, Henry Ford paid his workers an average of $5 per day, unheard of at the time. . Whereas today I pay Stan and Danica 3x that and still they whine. Ford’s reasoning was that better-paid workers would be better able to afford the Model Ts that they were making. And indeed, Ford’s annual output rose from 34,000 cars to 730,000 between 1910 and 1916, and the price of a Model T dropped from $700 to $316. Still, Henry Ford definitely forgot to be awesome sometimes; he was anti-Semitic, he used spies in his factories, and he named his child Edsel. Also like most employers at the turn of the century, he was virulently anti-union. So, while the AFL was organizing the most privileged industrial workers, another union grew up to advocate for rights for a larger swath of the workforce, especially the immigrants who dominated unskilled labor: The International Workers of the World. They were also known as the Wobblies, and they were founded in 1905 to advocate for “every wage-worker, no matter what his religion, fatherland or trade,” and not, as the name Wobblies suggests, just those fans of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey. The Wobblies were radical socialists; ultimately they wanted to see capitalism and the state disappear in revolution. Now, most progressives didn’t go that far, but some, following the ideas of Henry George, worried that economic progress could produce a dangerous unequal distribution of wealth that could only be cured by … taxes. But, more Progressives were influenced by Simon W. Patten who prophesied that industrialization would bring about a new civilization where everyone would benefit from the abundance and all the leisure time that all these new labor-saving devices could bring. This optimism was partly spurred by the birth of a mass consumption society. I mean, Americans by 1915 could purchase all kinds of new-fangled devices, like washing machines, or vacuum cleaners, automobiles, record players. It’s worth underscoring that all this happened in a couple generations: I mean, in 1850, almost everyone listened to music and washed their clothes in nearly the same way that people did 10,000 years ago. And then BOOM. And for many progressives, this consumer culture, to quote our old friend Eric Foner, “became the foundation for a new understanding of freedom as access to the cornucopia of goods made available by modern capitalism.” And this idea was encouraged by new advertising that connected goods with freedom, using “liberty” as a brand name or affixing the Statue of Liberty to a product. By the way, Crash Course is made exclusively in the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth ever. (Libertage.) That’s a lie, of course, but you’re allowed to lie in advertising. But in spite of this optimism, most progressives were concerned that industrial capitalism, with its exploitation of labor and concentration of wealth, was limiting, rather than increasing freedom, but depending on how you defined “freedom,” of course. Industrialization created what they referred to as “the labor problem” as mechanization diminished opportunities for skilled workers and the supervised routine of the factory floor destroyed autonomy. The scientific workplace management advocated by efficiency expert Frederick W. Taylor required rigid rules and supervision in order to heighten worker productivity. So if you’ve ever had a job with a defined number of bathroom breaks, that’s why. Also “Taylorism” found its way into classrooms; and anyone who’s had to sit in rows for 45 minute periods punctuated by factory-style bells knows that this atmosphere is not particularly conducive to a sense of freedom. Now this is a little bit confusing because while responding to worker exploitation was part of the Progressive movement, so was Taylorism itself because it was an application of research, observation, and expertise in response to the vexing problem of how to increase productivity. And this use of scientific experts is another hallmark of the Progressive era, one that usually found its expression in politics. American Progressives, like their counterparts in the Green Sections of Not-America, sought government solutions to social problems. Germany, which is somewhere over here, pioneered “social legislation” with its minimum wage, unemployment insurance and old age pension laws, but the idea that government action could address the problems and insecurities that characterized the modern industrial world, also became prominent in the United States. And the notion that an activist government could enhance rather than threaten people’s freedom was something new in America. Now, Progressives pushing for social legislation tended to have more success at the state and local level, especially in cities, which established public control over gas and water and raised taxes to pay for transportation and public schools. Whereas federally the biggest success was, like, Prohibition, which, you know, not that successful. But anyway, if all that local collectivist investment sounds like Socialism, it kind of is. I mean, by 1912 the Socialist Party had 150,000 members and had elected scores of local officials like Milwaukee mayor Emil Seidel. Some urban progressives even pushed to get rid of traditional democratic forms altogether. A number of cities were run by commissions of experts or city managers, who would be chosen on the basis of some demonstrated expertise or credential rather than their ability to hand out turkeys at Christmas or find jobs for your nephew’s sister’s cousin. Progressive editor Walter Lippman argued for applying modern scientific expertise to solve social problems in his 1914 book Drift and Mastery, writing that scientifically trained experts “could be trusted more fully than ordinary citizens to solve America’s deep social problems.” This tension between government by experts and increased popular democratic participation is one of the major contradictions of the Progressive era. The 17th amendment allowed for senators to be elected directly by the people rather than by state legislatures, and many states adopted primaries to nominate candidates, again taking power away from political parties and putting it in the hands of voters. And some states, particularly western ones like California adopted aspects of even more direct democracy, the initiative, which allowed voters to put issues on the ballot, and the referendum, which allows them to vote on laws directly. And lest you think that more democracy is always good, I present you with California. But many Progressives wanted actual policy made by experts who knew what was best for the people, not the people themselves. And despite primaries in direct elections of senators it’s hard to argue that the Progressive Era was a good moment for democratic participation, since many Progressives were only in favor of voting insofar as it was done by white, middle class, Protestant voters. Alright. Let’s Go to the Thought Bubble. Progressives limited immigrants’ participation in the political process through literacy tests and laws requiring people to register to vote. Voter registration was supposedly intended to limit fraud and the power of political machines. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar, but it actually just suppressed voting generally. Voting gradually declined from 80% of male Americans voting in the 1890s to the point where today only about 50% of eligible Americans vote in presidential elections. But an even bigger blow to democracy during the Progressive era came with the Jim Crow laws passed by legislatures in southern states, which legally segregated the South. First, there was the deliberate disenfranchisement of African Americans. The 15th amendment made it illegal to deny the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude but said nothing about the ability to read, so many Southern states instituted literacy requirements. Other states added poll taxes, requiring people to pay to vote, which effectively disenfranchised large numbers of African American people, who were disproportionately poor. The Supreme Court didn’t help: In 1896, it made one of its most famous bad decisions, Plessy v. Ferguson, ruling that segregation in public accommodations, in Homer Plessy’s case a railroad car, did not violate the 14th amendment’s Equal Protection clause. As long as black railroad cars were equal to white ones, it was A-OK to have duplicate sets of everything. Now, creating two sets of equal quality of everything would get really expensive, so Southern states didn’t actually do it. Black schools, public restrooms, public transportation opportunities--the list goes on and on--would definitely be separate, and definitely not equal. Thanks, ThoughtBubble. Now, of course, as we’ve seen Progressive ideas inspired a variety of responses, both for Taylorism and against it, both for government by experts and for direct democracy. Similarly, in the Progressive era, just as the Jim Crow laws were being passed, there were many attempts to improve the lives of African Americans. The towering figure in this movement to “uplift” black southerners was Booker T. Washington, a former slave who became the head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a center for vocational education. And Washington urged southern black people to emphasize skills that could make them successful in the contemporary economy. The idea was that they would earn the respect of white people by demonstrating their usefulness and everyone would come to respect each other through the recognition of mutual dependence while continuing to live in separate social spheres. But Washington’s accommodationist stance was not shared by all African Americans. WEB DuBois advocated for full civil and political rights for black people and helped to found the NAACP, which urged African Americans to fight for their rights through “persistent, manly agitation.” So I wanted to talk about the Progressive Era today not only because it shows up on a lot of tests, but because Progressives tried to tackle many of the issues that we face today, particularly concerning immigration and economic justice, and they used some of the same methods that we use today: organization, journalistic exposure, and political activism. Now, we may use tumblr or tea party forums, but the same concerns motivate us to work together. And just as today, many of their efforts were not successful because of the inherent difficulty in trying to mobilize very different interests in a pluralistic nation. In some ways their platforms would have been better suited to an America that was less diverse and complex. But it was that very diversity and complexity that gave rise and still gives rise to the urge toward progress in the first place. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, Rosianna Rojas, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Every week there’s a new caption for the libertage. You can suggest captions in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course. If you like it, and if you’re watching the credits you probably do, make sure you’re subscribed. And as we say in my hometown don’t forget to be awesome...That was more dramatic than it sounded. Progressive Era -

Contents

Progressivism in philosophy and politics

From the Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution

Immanuel Kant identified progress as being a movement away from barbarism towards civilization. 18th-century philosopher and political scientist Marquis de Condorcet predicted that political progress would involve the disappearance of slavery, the rise of literacy, the lessening of inequalities between the sexes, reforms of harsh prisons and the decline of poverty.[9] "Modernity" or "modernization" was a key form of the idea of progress as promoted by classical liberals in the 19th and 20th centuries who called for the rapid modernization of the economy and society to remove the traditional hindrances to free markets and free movements of people.[10] German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was influential in promoting the idea of progress in European philosophy by emphasizing a linear-progressive conception of history and rejecting a cyclical conception of history. Karl Marx applied to his writings the Hegelian conception of linear-progressive history, the modernization of the economy through industrialization and criticisms of the social class structure of industrial capitalist societies. As industrialization grew, concerns over its effects grew beyond Marxists and other radical critiques and became mainstream.

Contemporary mainstream political conception

In the late 19th century, a political view rose in popularity in the Western world that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor, minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with out-of-control monopolistic corporations, intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists and a need for measures to address these problems.[11] Progressivism has influenced various political movements. Modern liberalism was influenced by liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill's conception of people being "progressive beings".[12] British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli developed progressive conservatism under "one-nation" Toryism.[13][14] Similarly in Imperial Germany, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck enacted various progressive social welfare measures out of conservative motivations to distance workers from the socialist movement of the time and as humane ways to assist in maintaining the Industrial Revolution.[15] Proponents of social democracy have identified themselves as promoting the progressive cause.[16] The Roman Catholic Church encyclical Rerum novarum issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 condemned the exploitation of labour and urged support for labour unions and government regulation of businesses in the interests of social justice while upholding the rights of private property and criticizing socialism.[17] A Protestant progressive outlook called the Social Gospel emerged in North America that focused on challenging economic exploitation and poverty and by the mid-1890s was common in many Protestant theological seminaries in the United States.[18]

In the United States, progressivism began as a social movement in 1890s and grew into a political movement in what was known as the Progressive Era. While the term "American progressives" represent a range of diverse political pressure groups (not always united), some American progressives rejected social Darwinism, believing that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism and class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment and an efficient workplace. Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated and believed that government could be a tool for change.[19] American President Theodore Roosevelt of the Republican Party and later the Progressive Party declared that he "always believed that wise progressivism and wise conservatism go hand in hand".[20] President Woodrow Wilson was also a member of the American progressive movement within the Democratic Party.

Progressive stances have evolved over time. Imperialism was a controversial issue within progressivism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in the United States where some progressives supported American imperialism while others opposed it.[21]

In response to World War I, progressive President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points established the concept of national self-determination and criticized imperialist competition and colonial injustices; these views were supported by anti-imperialists in areas of the world that were resisting imperial rule.[22] During the period of acceptance of economic Keynesianism (1930s to 1970s), there was widespread acceptance in many nations of a large role for state intervention in the economy. With the rise of neoliberalism and challenges to state interventionist policies in the 1970s and 1980s, centre-left progressive movements responded by creating the Third Way that emphasized a major role for the market economy.[23] There have been social democrats who have called for the social democratic movement to move past Third Way.[24] Prominent progressive conservative elements in the British Conservative Party have criticized neoliberalism.[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Definition of progressivism in English". oxforddictionaries.com. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Harold Mah. Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750–1914. Cornell University. (2003). p. 157.
  3. ^ Nugent, Walter (2010). Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780195311068.
  4. ^ Leonard, Thomas (2005). "Retrospectives: Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era" (PDF). Journal of Economic Perspectives. 19 (4): 207–224. doi:10.1257/089533005775196642. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  5. ^ Freeden, Michael (2005). Liberal Languages: Ideological Imaginations and Twentieth-Century Progressive Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 144–165. ISBN 0691116776.
  6. ^ Roll-Hansen, Nils (1989). "Geneticists and the Eugenics Movement in Scandinavia". The British Journal for the History of Science. 22 (3): 335–346. JSTOR 4026900.
  7. ^ "Prohibition: A Case Study of Progressive Reform". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  8. ^ James H. Timberlake, Prohibition and the Progressive Movement, 1900–1920 (1970)
  9. ^ Nisbet, Robert (1980). History of the Idea of Progress. New York: Basic Books. ch 5
  10. ^ Joyce Appleby; Lynn Hunt & Margaret Jacob (1995). Telling the Truth about History. p. 78.
  11. ^ Nugent, Walter (2010). Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780195311068.
  12. ^ Alan Ryan. The Making of Modern Liberalism. p. 25.
  13. ^ Patrick Dunleavy, Paul Joseph Kelly, Michael Moran. British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England, UK; Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000. pp. 107–08.
  14. ^ Robert Blake. Disraeli. Second Edition. London, England, UK: Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd, 1967. p. 524.
  15. ^ Union Contributions to Labor Welfare Policy and Practice: Past, Present and Future. Routledge, 16, 2013. p. 172.
  16. ^ Henning Meyer, Jonathan Rutherford. The Future of European Social Democracy: Building the Good Society. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. p. 108.
  17. ^ Faith Jaycox. The Progressive Era. New York, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2005. p. 85.
  18. ^ Charles Howard Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (1940).
  19. ^ he Progressive Era (1890–1920), The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project (retrieved 31 September 2014).
  20. ^ Jonathan Lurie. William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 196.
  21. ^ Nugent, Walter (2010). Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780195311068.
  22. ^ Reconsidering Woodrow Wilson: Progressivism, Internationalism, War, and Peace. p. 309.
  23. ^ Jane Lewis, Rebecca Surender. Welfare State Change: Towards a Third Way?. Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 3–4, 16.
  24. ^ After the Third Way: The Future of Social Democracy in Europe. I. B. Taurus, 2012. p. 47.
  25. ^ Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. p. 108.
Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 6 October 2018, at 06:49
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