What it means to be a progressive and how it can alter society


Progressivism is a political philosophy that supports the reform movements and social progress in society. The progressive movements that arose more than a century ago brought significant societal changes. They directed the community from ignorance, inequality, and injustice towards prosperity and equality.

Progressivism also changed the world’s political order, prompting significant events such as the French Revolution and the American War of Independence and contributed to modern-day democracy.

The history of American Progressivism is more than a century old. It dates back to the 19th century when the population increased exponentially. The rapidly growing population contributed to urbanization and industrialization. Contributing to sentiments which brought forth Progressivism to address modernization issues.

In the 19th century, the concept of Progressivism did not deliver the desired results. However, the 20th century had seen much progress towards medicine and technology but failed to address poverty, inequality, and ignorance.

Progressivism accommodates social workers, activists, journalists, and academics who struggle to consolidate government for bringing social, political, and economic reforms. It encompasses a varying school of thought.

The educational reforms of John Dewey, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the political movements of Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, and the literature of Upton Sinclair were various representations of Progressivism.

Despite having a diversity of views and opinions, the main idea behind all progressive social movements is the same. People do not need to wait for change from top to bottom; in fact, they have the power to bring change from bottom to top.

Examples of Progressivism in action

During the progressive era, women activists mobilized to address public health and safety, women’s rights and social needs, child labor, etc. Ultimately, they paved the women’s influence in different national organizations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Young Women’s Christian Association, which supported single women in America.

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The Sunrise Movement

Sunrise movement is another example of Progressivism. The youth-led campaign aims to address climate change problems through progressive ideas collectively called the Green New Deal. They are on the mission of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy resources to meet America’s power demand.

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The Living wage movement

The living wage movement is another example of a progressive movement that struggled to pass legislation to set a standard for living wages. A living wage is a theoretical income level that enables an individual to afford life necessities, including food and shelter.

The idea of the living wage is not a new one. It dates back to 1886 when the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded. It demanded a sufficient salary for workers to raise their living standards.

The movement, which started in 1994 in Baltimore, involved homeless people, labor unions, church workers, and employees in setting a wage of $6.10 for workers. Over time, it has risen, and now the Minimum worker wage in the United States is $ 7.25 per hour.