Are populism, progressivism, the New Deal, and the Great Society related as one continued reform or are there sharp differences?These four movements represented important reform movements of the...

Are populism, progressivism, the New Deal, and the Great Society related as one continued reform or are there sharp differences?

These four movements represented important reform movements of the past century. Do you view the movements as representing one continuous pattern of reform, or do you find sharp differences between the movements? Compare the movements in the terms of causes, membership goals, and achievements.

Asked on by pccox

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The first two, populism and progressivism, started mainly as grass roots movements among the people, with reform of government, the economy and society as their goals.  They were based largely on class struggle, the rich vs the poor, and targeted corruption in government and exploitation in business.  While populism largely failed, progressivism became more successful once it was adopted by Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson.

The New Deal and the Great Society were government initiatives and responses to poverty and inequality in society.  The main difference was that the New Deal responded to a crisis - the Great Depression, while the Great Society took place during a time of relative wealth in our country.  The New Deal tried to establish a safety net for the most vulnerable Americans, and the Great Society attempted to expand it.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Long question.  I'll give you a bit...

Progressivism is different than all of these. Cause: giving the middle class more power and getting the poor to behave more like the middle class.  Way more moralistic than any of the others.

Populism and New Deal are somewhat related.  Both are trying to get government to act more on behalf of the little guy to some extent.  But populism is a bottom-up movement, New Deal is all FDR's idea, very top-down.

Great Society is more like the New Deal in that it's top-down.

You could argue Populism, New Deal, Geat Society are relatively continuous -- government helping the poor/vulnerable.  Progressives have a bit of that but they're really different because of the moral aspect.

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