The Middle Ground of the Progressives

As the Progressives looked at America and the state it was in, they did not agree with the Socialists, Populists, or those in Unions. Rather, they wanted to be in the “middle ground” when it came to their regulations. The socialists wanted to nationalize all major business, which basically meant that the government would control all businesses and nothing would be privately owned. The socialists thought that the way the progressives wanted to settle things was too apprehensive and would not work. The populists sole purpose was to reform the economy of America through the words and actions of lower-class people in society like farmers. The populists thought that the progressives were doing too much by wanting the government to help all people in America. Those in labor unions worked toward better wages and working conditions, however they would do this with strikes, which was too forceful to the Progressives.

To the Progressives, finding this “middle ground” was simple. They wanted to be able to accomplish the end of social classes having conflict, without the government taking total control of everything, as well as keeping the environment of the United States in good health and stability. Progressives thought that these things would lead to a socially just nation. They wanted to diminish the corrupt businesses of America by governmental supervision of businesses and their workers. They believed that many social problems started with the unsanitary and poor conditions of their work and life environments. By everyone working together to make America better, the Progressives believed that they could accomplish something for everyone.

Sherman anti trust act

With the Progressives and their movement to better America, they wanted help from the government in passing laws to better working conditions for the working class. They wanted the government to rid America of the big business tycoons that were corrupting America for the rest of the people. These laws included getting rid of child labor, setting a limit to the amount of hours one worker can work, and better the working conditions and environment. However, some things such as minimum wage, were not regulated by the government until the early 1900’s.

Looking back at this time in American history, I would most definitely be a Progressive. By meeting needs that are essential for all classes in society, America would be made better. The way the Progressives went about making their voices heard is also something that I support. I would not want to be a part of the labor unions and strike. The Progressives wanted to be working members of society while also bringing about a change in America. I think that the government should be involved in these work laws in America. Without work laws, many people would be underpaid for working too many hours. People would also be working in poor conditions. Certain groups of people would not be able to work and others would be able to work without the government setting laws for such things. If the government did not set these laws, working conditions would not be safe or healthy for the workers. Equal opportunity for work would also not be available to those in America without the government laws set in place.



Green, John. “The Progressive Era: Crash Course US History #27.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Aug. 2013,

Keene, Jennifer D., Saul T. Cornell and Edward T. O’Donnell. Visions of America: A History of the United States, Combined Volume, 3/e. Boston: Pearson, n.d.

4 thoughts on “The Middle Ground of the Progressives

  1. Learning about the progressive era has really shown my what has shaped out nation today. The progressives had really worked hard in making a better country for the middle class workers. Seeing how far we have come today amazes me. I also agree about wanting to be a progressive in this era. To much power for business can cause corruption I also believe this with government. I am glad our country has came a long ways since then and power has become more divided for the best.

    1. I agree that it’s great our country has come so far since this era. Learning about what the progressives were able to accomplish was pretty inspiring. It’s definitely impressive that they were able to better the working and living conditions of so many people.

  2. I agree with your statement: “By meeting needs that are essential for all classes in society, America would be made better.”

    Give people fair opportunities to better their lives. The problem for too long has been that some people didn’t have opportunities or the opportunities they had weren’t fair. But things have gotten better when people speak up and take action.

  3. I agree that the progressives helped better America and shaped us to be what we are today. They helped others realize how important the working class really is, and wanted fair treatment. The laws and regualtions passed to better working conditions was a huge success for the working class.

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