What were the various motives of Progressive reformers?
The Progressive Era—and the reformers who populated it—sprung from dissatisfaction with the status quo of the Gilded Age. The laissez-faire, business-first attitude of many nineteenth-century politicians horrified a growing number of progressive reformers, who believed that people, not money, should be America's first priority.
The Populists and Progressive reformers shared many of the same motives (namely, helping the disempowered and working towards a balance of political and economic control between the wealthy and the poor), but they come from very different backgrounds and used vastly different tactics. The populists were primarily from working class cooperatives and unions, and used collective bargaining and striking to try and make change from the bottom up. The Progressives, on the other hand, attacked the problems from the top, attempting to change legislation, build charitable organizations, and create more moral communities.
Progressivism is difficult to discuss in general...
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