ESSAY TOPIC: What was Progressivism in the early twentieth century? Define it clearly with your own definition. What did Progressives seek to accomplish and why?
The essay should be 4-6 double-spaced, typed pages (times new roman font size 12) with one-inch margins, consisting of three sections (Introduction, Body, and Conclusion). It should include footnotes and a bibliography. The bibliography does not count as a page of text. The essay will be based on the course materials and 4 scholarly outside sources minimal research on your research topic.
Make sure to use correct citations (Chicago Manual of Style citation method). Cite all ideas, Materials derived from a computer database for scholarly articles are not Internet resources, this essay requires the use of a minimum of four scholarly sources. I will not accept any essays with Internet sources, so no websites. Do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries.
Paper must have a clear thesis (answer to the question) and a clear method (how you are answering the question) in the last sentence of the introduction. It must utilize analysis based on scholarly evidence to prove the thesis. The paper must be typed, in Word (no PDFs), double-spaced with one-inch margins, and no cover page. Times new roman 12 font. Do not use more than two quotes and none should be longer than three lines. Follow this rule closely.
· Sharply focused and clearly organized discussion appropriate to the instructor’s assignment
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Progressivism in the Early Twentieth Century
The world has experienced different ideologies, ideas, and waves of thoughts that have shaped societal coexistence and history over the years, influencing socio-politico and economic development. The idea of progress that focuses on the promotion of social organization and development through scientific, technological, and economic development advancement for the betterment of human condition influenced the twentieth century significantly. The ideas continue to impact on the world hitherto. By definition, progressivism is a philosophy that seeks to promote social, political, and economic reform by pushing the government to address social problems, inequities, and inequalities in a country. From the latter years of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century, progressivism affected political, social, and economic development greatly. Its importance in shaping the history of the country and the world is, therefore, undeniable. This essay discusses progressivism in the early twentieth century, the quest by Progressives to address social, political, and economic problems, and the reasons why they promoted the progressive ideas.
Progressivism – What Progressives Sought to Accomplish
The significant modernization, industrialization, increasing awareness, and the numerous social changes that developed in the latter and early years of the nineteenth and twentieth century prompted the development of progressivism. The society was experiencing social-economic changes that demanded extensive changes. There was a need to tackle issues that influenced and affected parts of the society negatively. During the Progressive Era, cases of economic inequality, corruption, child labor, growing monopolistic corporations, gender inequality, racism, violence, and class warfare among others were significantly high. Progressives advocated for the adoption and development of measures and strategies for the elimination of such challenges for improved social, economic, and political development. According to Dudley, Progressives argued for the inclusion of more people in the political process and the need for the government to focus on solving social problems. Across the period between 1890 through to the World War I, the Progressives had managed to trigger immense social, economic, and political changes.
In the early twentieth century, Progressives sought to improve the citizen-state relationship. According to Dudley, Progressives acknowledged the need for citizenship to form a critical part of the concept of the state. They sought to promote themes that enhanced the role of citizens in governance by encouraging the replacement of parties as the educator of the citizens. Additionally, Progressives advocated for the development of individuals and parainstitutions leading to a decline in the party identification and popular electoral participation. The idea was to ensure that labor unions, settlement houses, moral and political reform movements, the church, school, and family played the role of educating citizens. This was targeted towards the development of free institutions and a citizenry capable of pushing the government to undertake its roles and to promote socio-economic development. The idea was to alleviate corruption in party politics, promote government accountability to the citizenry, and to enfranchise all Americans regardless of their race or gender.
Following increased corruption and corporate greed, Progressives argued for increased efficiency in all aspects within the government and the society. The improvement of efficiency in governmental operations and in the delivery of services to the people would improve the quality of life and eliminate waste and corruption in the government and the society. According to Meier, there was a need for the promotion of consumer rights, to end corporate greed and the exploitation of Americans by monopolistic corporations. The Progressives sought to advocate for increased efficiency as a way of eliminating governmental corruption and corporate greed. They pushed for the passing and implementation of laws that reduced corruption by weakening the power of political bosses and machine politicians. Additionally, the Progressives argued for the need to protect the working class. They hoped that restraining and regulating corporate power would reduce exploitation thus ensuring improved livelihood as workers receive meaningful pay for services rendered and working in safe, healthy, and effective environments (Glenn 2012, 3).
Progressives sought to achieve racial and gender equality in the quest of promoting social and economic equality and development. Segregation and discrimination in the country were issues of great concern that affected minorities significantly. The discrimination and segregation of African Americans on racial grounds and the gender inequality affected women demanded attention. Progressives advocated for women suffrage and equal rights for African Americans and other minorities irrespective of gender, ethnicity, color, or religion. The existence of privileged male only higher education system, disenfranchisement of women and African Americans, segregation of the latter, and inequality in opportunities were some of the key issues of concern that Progressives sought to eliminate. According to Shay, “the most expedient path to gain access to a four-year college education was through the creation of a new, separate institution for women.” It was even more difficult for African Americans to gain access to college education. The Progressives focused on changing the issue by advocating for gender and racial equality in order to encourage an all-inclusive socio-economic development and eliminate social problems such as poverty, crime, and poor housing among others’.
The increased demand for labor caused by the increased industrialization experienced during the Progressive Era posed a challenge of child labor and abuse. Progressives focused on the promotion of awareness of the issue and the development of laws that would protect children from exploitation by industries. The enactment of the child labor laws was set to give the children an opportunity to go to school and mature with an intent of promoting humanity and social and economic development. Even with opposition from the factory owners who rejected and defamed the progression, the Progressives managed to push for the enactment of the laws. The enactment of such laws tackled the issue of child labor and spurred increased percentage of school-going children.
The Progressive Era
stimulated increased political, social, and economic development. The different
reforms pushed by the Progressives led to the elimination of various social and
political problems and encouraged economic growth and development. The social
reforms such as the push for social equality resulted in the enfranchisement of
women and African Americans and led to the enactment of laws illegalizing slavery,
discrimination on the basis of gender and race, and the segregation. Moreover,
the efforts of the Progressives enhanced efficiency in governmental processes
and systems, reduced corruption and corporate greed and exploitation, and
enhanced the state-citizen relationship. Advocating for efficient social
amenities, child labor laws, and the regulation of corporate power enhanced
socio-economic development significantly. The social amenities improved
livelihood and spurred economic growth while restraining corporate power and
monopolistic corporations boosted competition and limited exploitation.
Dudley, Larkin Sims. “Enduring Narratives From Progressivism.” International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior 7 (3), 2004: 315-340.
Frankel, Noralee, and Nancy Schrom Dye. Gender, Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. Unequal Freedom : How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012.
Labaree, David F. “Progressivism, Schools and Schools of Education: An American Romance.” Paedagogica Historica 41 (1/2), 2005: 275-288.
Meier, Kenneth J. The Political Economy of Regulation : The Case of Insurance. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.
Miller, Tiffany Jones. “Progressivism, Race, and the Training Wheels of Freedom.” National Review 63 (21), 2010: 37-40.
Dougher. The Founding of the New Jersey College for Women: The Struggle for
Women’s Access during the Progressive Era (1870-1930). ProQuest LLC, Ed.D.
Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2010.
 Frankel, Noralee, and Nancy Schrom Dye. Gender, Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2015, pp. 170.
 Dudley, Larkin Sims. “Enduring Narratives From Progressivism.” International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior 7 (3), 2004, pp. 315.
 Ibid, pp. 316.
 Ibid, pp. 317.
 Meier, Kenneth J. The Political Economy of Regulation : The Case of Insurance. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988, pp. 57.
 Shay, Patricia Dougher. The Founding of the New Jersey College for Women: The Struggle for Women’s Access during the Progressive Era (1870-1930). ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2010, pp. 227.
 Miller, Tiffany Jones. “Progressivism, Race, and the Training Wheels of Freedom.” National Review 63 (21), 2010, pp. 37.
 Labaree, David F. “Progressivism, Schools and Schools of Education: An American Romance.” Paedagogica Historica 41 (1/2), 2005, pp. 275.
 Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. Unequal Freedom : How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012, pp. 3.