To what extent was the Progressive movement (1900-1920) an extension of what transpired in the late nineteenth century?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To a large extent, the Progressive Movement was rooted in the fact that there was not much in way of reforms and social advancement in the late 19th Century. The Progressive Movement came out of this idea of recognizing that there was a certain level of unfairness in both business and politics and that the social landscape was becoming quickly transformed into strict lines of stratification.  The Progressive Movement was born precisely because there was not much in way of reforms or legislation being passed to remedy this.  The massive influx of wealth that made a select few obscenely rich and that government at the time period was driven to protect this entitlement of wealth and power helped to drive the era.  The Progressive Movement arose from this idea that if capitalism and business were left unchecked, social inequality could become enshrined in American society and that the rights of those who found themselves at the bottom of the capitalist schematic would never experience the promises and possibilities of the American Dream, which was slowly turning into the American nightmare.   In this respect, the Progressive Movement was an extension in way of a response to what was transpiring in the late 19th Century.


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