Progressive Party (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Beginning in the 1900s, the political history of the United States has been the story of the two mainstream political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, and the third party movements that have grown and receded in their wake. Between 1912 and 1948, progressivism, a broadly based reform movement, had three national incarnations as the Progressive Party.
Progressivism began as a response to the transformation of American society from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial one. Many American workers, both native-born and immigrant, found themselves hindered by long hours of work in dangerous conditions, low pay, and unsafe and unsanitary housing. Reformers in the largest cities began to lobby for safer working environments, improved tenement housing, and public ownership of utilities. Others fought political corruption and the cronyism that was part of the established political machines of both parties.
In 1908, President THEODORE ROOSEVELT, who had sought to find a balance between capitalists and working people and had gained fame as the nation's chief "trustbuster," declined to run for another term. With Roosevelt's support, his friend and colleague WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT was elected president, a move that at first was hailed by a number of Progressives. The conservative Taft turned out to be a huge disappointment to the Progressives and to Roosevelt, who...
(The entire section is 860 words.)
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