Progressives the Natural Successor to Populists

To what extent were the Progressives the natural successors to the Populists?

The progressive era ran from the late 1800s to the first two decades of the twentieth century. Progressivism was a movement that was led by individuals who believed that America needed to deal with the cultural, economic, and political problems that came about due to the industrial revolution and advancement of the capitalist system. The progressives were convinced that the government and the society should change instead of the capitalist system that was already in place. They believed this change would mark the end of the depression of the 1890s and required a new industrial era. Progressivism emerged when the US economy bounced back after the depression era and farm prices became more stable.

Progressives were actively involved in ensuring the welfare of the people is put first.  They were known to be more moderate compared to the populists. Progressives were naturally going to succeed the populists because their ideas were less radical. Populists wanted to control the government directly and to own all the railroads but progressives believed that the government should control the financial system to prevent the development of monopolies.[1] Progressives naturally succeeded the populists because their ideas for reforms instead of revolution would ensure economic growth in the United States. Their hope was to curb corruption by appointing new government officials with a college education. Giving college graduates key government positions would ensure all members of the community were protected. Despite the many similarities, different progressives had different ideas. Some were looking for social justice while others were focused on providing more services such as urban sanitation.

[1]Schmitz, Andy. From Populism to the Progressive Era, 1900-1912. December 29, 2012. (accessed December 20, 2017).

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