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Robert Kennedy's United States History Class

Lecture LO II

The years from the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency in 1901 until 1917 when the United States became involved in World War I are generally known as the progressive years or era.


This was an age dominated by a passion for social progress and reform in politics, business, and morals.


As its name implies, progressivism was a movement founded on the notion that further progress toward social justice was necessary if democracy was to survive.


Progressives aimed to correct what they considered to be the most serious social faults of the American way of life which had accompanied the growth of big business in the post-Civil War period


Federal regulatory agencies were established in an effort to curb monopolies and restore competition. Trust-busting, not necessarily successful, was the order of the day. Tariff and banking reform. For labor, the improvement of working conditions were undertaken .


Laws were passed protecting the consumer against abuses by meat packers and food and drug manufacturers.


Out of this progressive impulse arose both the "Square Deal" of Republican Theodore Roosevelt and the "New Freedom" of Democratic Woodrow Wilson. The progressive movement laid the philosophic and some of the legislative foundations of the New Deal.