Describe the different manifestations of progressivism at the local, state, and national levels.Also, to what extent did progressives redefine the role of the state in American politics?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The basic structure of modern government is a progressive one.  The idea of government taking a more active role in the lives of citizens, and providing assistance and help to those who are in need of it is something that is present in government on all levels.  For example, one could argue that middle class tax cuts is a progressive idea, as it is providing economic relief to those who require it the most, as middle class individuals are those who are mostly workers and individuals who are not working at the level of an industrialist.  One can even argue that the creation of a national service clearinghouse on the web of is an example of the government seeking to create a niche of public service in its own existence.  This is a highly progressivist idea.  The ideas of governments of Grover Cleveland, which argued that government assistance "weakens the national character," would be severely challenged in such a notion. When Progressivism is seen on a local level, it is based out of government helping those who need it the most.  Consider local governments that organize food drives or ask shoppers to donate a can of food to a food pantry.  These are Progressivist ideas in action, as they help to bring out the notion that government can take direct and positive action in helping its citizens, in creating a realm of promoting the general welfare.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Progressives were instrumental in getting the government to play a larger role in people's lives.  So they redefined the role of government to have it involved in both economic and social aspects of people's lives.

On the local level, the main impact of progressives was on urban machines.  By instituting such things as secret ballots and non-partisan elections, the progressives broke up many urban political machines.

On the state level, they pushed for the initiative, referendum and recall.

On the national level, they got such important things passed as constitutional amendments that allowed for an income tax and for the direct election of US senators.