Riassunto esame United States in the 20th and 21 century, prof. Fiorentino, libro consigliato Age of Reform, Hofstadter
serving their time as a cheap labor. The firms themselves grew larger, the work of the independent
practitioner was taken from him by real-estate, trust, and insurance companies and banks.
- From Mugwump to Progressive: Progressive leaders were the spiritual sons of the Mugwumps.
Mugwumps had been committed to aristocracy, the Progressive spoke of returning government to the
people. Mugwumps had clung desperately to liberal economics and the cliché of laissez faire, the
Progressive were prepared to make use of state intervention wherever it suited their purpose. Mugwumps
had lacked a consistent support among the public at large, the Progressive had an almost rabidly
enthusiastic following. Mugwumps had not allies, Progressives had reliable allies in the very agrarian rebels.
Last chapter: enemies of Progressives like trusts, unions, and political machines. Leaders expressed the
need for entrepreneurship, individualism, and moral responsibility, rather than organization. The
American tradition had been one of unusually widespread participation of the citizen in the management of
affairs, both political and economic. Now with the growth of the large corporation, the central theme in
Progressivism was this revolt against the industrial discipline: Progressive movement was the complaint of
the unorganized against the consequences of organization.
The Progressives were trying to keep the benefits of the emerging organization of life (modern technology
and machine industry) and yet to retain the scheme of individualistic values that this organization was
destroying. Progressivism appealed powerfully to small businessmen who were being overwhelmed or
outdistanced by great competitors. It also appealed to the new middle class of technicians and salaried
professionals, clerical workers and public-service personnel. A large and significant political public had
emerged that was for the most part well educated, full of aspiration, and almost completely devoid of
economic organization. Wilson’s speech appealed to individual Opportunity, free opportunity where no
man is supposed to be under any limitations except the limitations of his character and of his mind. Wilson
saw that Americans were living under “a new organization of society”, in which the individual had been
submerged and human relations were pervasively impersonal. There was a common fear among Americans
that the great business combinations, being the only centers of wealth and power, and that would put an
end to traditional American democracy.
By the close of his 1912 campaign there was no doubt left in Wilson’s mind that a great part if the public
considered an attack on business monopoly necessary to political freedom. He engaged a “Crusade” against
the power that have limited American development.
The Progressives stood for a dual program of economic remedies designed to minimize the dangers from
the extreme left and right. On one side they feared the power of the plutocracy, on the other the poverty
and restlessness of the masses. The first line of action was to reform the business order, to restore or
maintain competition and expand credit in the interests of the consumer, the farmer, and the small
businessman. The second was to minimize the most outrageous and indefensible exploitation of the
working population. The relations of capital and labor, the condition of the masses in the slums, the
exploitation of the labor of women and children, the necessity of establishing certain minimal standards of
Both Wilson and Roosevelt ran on platforms so generally Progressive that only their difference on the trust
issue clearly marked them off from each other. The issue was: regulated competition versus regulated
monopoly. Wilson believed deeply in the little entrepreneur and in competition, he rested his hope in “free
competition”, he had a different temperament than Roosevelt. The relations of the reform movement to
business were not limited to the effort to restore competition or check monopoly. There were other more
pragmatic reforms under consideration; and it was the effect of all the monitory writing and speaking, and
all the heated agitation over the trust and their threat to democracy and enterprise and liberty. The
Progressives adopted many initiatives: Hepburn Act; regulation of the railroads; the creation of the Federal
Reserve System; Underwood tariff.
The Progressive Era: a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States,
from the 1890s to 1920s.
1) eliminating corruption in government. The movement primarily targeted political machines
and their bosses. Direct democracy would be established.
2) They also sought regulation of monopolies (Trust
Busting) and corporations through antitrust laws to promote equal competition for the advantage of
3) From 1860 to 1910, towns and cities sprouted up with miraculous rapidity all over the United States.
Large cities grew into great metropolises, small towns grew into large cities, and new towns sprang into
existence on vacant land. While the rural population almost doubled during this half century, the urban
population multiplied almost seven times. The urban boss became a more important and more powerful
figure. In the city the native Yankee-Protestant American encountered the immigrant. Between the close of
the Civil War and the outbreak of the first World War, the rise of the American Industry and the absence of
restrictions drew a steady stream of immigrants. . New political bosses accepted immigrants and protected
them in exchange of votes. The immigrants formed a potent mass that limited the range and the
achievements of Progressivism. The loyalty of immigrant voters to the bosses was one of the signal reasons
why the local reform victories were so short-lived. The immigrants looked to politics not for the realization
of high principles but for concrete and personal gains. And here the boss, particularly the Irish boss, who
could see things from the immigrant’s angle but could also manipulate the American environment, became
a specialist in personal relations and personal loyalties. The boss himself encouraged immigrant to think of
politics as a filed in which one could legitimately pursue one’s interests. So many progressives supported
Prohibition in the United States in order to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons,
manufactured and alcohol.
4) Women's suffrage was promoted to bring a "purer" female vote. The most important leaders of the
National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA, 1890) were Elizabeth Candy Stantan and Carrie
Chapman Catt. The women’s suffrage was achieved after the WWI with Wilson (1920).
5) building an Efficiency Movement in every sector: needed modernizing, scientific, medical and
engineering solutions; a key part of the efficiency movement was scientific management, or “Taylorism".
- Many activists joined efforts to reform local government, public education, medicine, finance,
insurance, industry, railroads, churches, and many other areas. Progressives transformed,
professionalized and made "scientific" the social sciences, especially history, economics, and political
- The national political leaders included Theodore Roosevelt, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and Charles Evans
Hughes on the Republican side, and William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson and Al Smith on the
- Initially the movement operated chiefly at local levels; later, it expanded to state and national levels
thanks to the support derived from the middle class: lawyers, teachers, physicians, ministers and business
- policies, such as a major transformation of the banking system by creating the Federal Reserve System in
- Political reform: Disturbed by the waste, inefficiency, stubbornness, corruption and injustices of
the Gilded Age, the Progressives were committed to changing and reforming every aspect of the state,
society and economy. Significant changes: the imposition of an income tax with the Sixteenth
Amendment; direct election of Senators with the Seventeenth Amendment; Prohibition with the
Eighteenth Amendment; women's suffrage through the Nineteenth Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution
The work of the Progressive movement rested upon its journalism. The fundamental critical achievement of
American Progressivism was the business of exposure, and journalism was the chief occupational source of
creative writers. The muckraker was a central figure. It was muckraking that brought the diffuse malaise of
the public into focus.
During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, dozens of novels were published which have been
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher sciencespolitics di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di United States in the 20th and 21 century e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Roma Tre - Uniroma3 o del prof Fiorentino Daniele.
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