Progressive Movement Essay

Progressive Movement Essay-3
Efforts to improve society were not new to the United States in the late 1800s.A major push for change, the First Reform Era, occurred in the years before the Civil War and included efforts of social activists to reform working conditions and humanize the treatment of mentally ill people and prisoners.Reformers tended to value scientific studies and the recommendations of professional "experts" whether they were promoting efficiencies in society or fighting corruption in politics.

Efforts to improve society were not new to the United States in the late 1800s.A major push for change, the First Reform Era, occurred in the years before the Civil War and included efforts of social activists to reform working conditions and humanize the treatment of mentally ill people and prisoners.Reformers tended to value scientific studies and the recommendations of professional "experts" whether they were promoting efficiencies in society or fighting corruption in politics.

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Prominent governors devoted to change included Robert M.

La Follette of Wisconsin and Hiram Johnson of California.

As such, it was a rejection of Social Darwinism, the position taken by many rich and powerful figures of the day.

Progressivism also was imbued with strong political overtones, and it rejected the church as the driving force for change.

Others removed themselves from society and attempted to establish utopian communities in which reforms were limited to their participants.

The focal point of the early reform period was abolitionism, the drive to remove what in the eyes of many was the great moral wrong of slavery.

A farm movement also emerged to compensate for the declining importance of rural areas in an increasingly urbanized America.

As part of the second reform period, progressivism was rooted in the belief, certainly not shared by all, that man was capable of improving the lot of all within society.

Progressives never spoke with one mind and differed sharply over the most effective means to deal with the ills generated by the trusts; some favored an activist approach to trust-busting, others preferred a regulatory approach.

A vocal minority supported socialism with government ownership of the means of production.

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