Basil M. Manly
The social issue which most continually distracted the minds of citizens in the progressive era was the fact of class conflict. Americans viewed the problem in mixed ways. A small but important number were professed Socialists who believed that capital and labor would clash in an inevitable (though not necessarily a violent) showdown, from which would emerge a classless nation. A greater number rejected Socialism as irrelevant or undesirable and deplored the class warfare they associated with it. Most citizens longed for a social order free from strife, a single middle class nourished on a respect for the rights of property and persons under a rule of law.
To the perceptive citizen, however, evidence was abundantly clear that this order had not yet arrived. In the single generation between 1885 and 1915 no less than three federally sponsored fact-finding commissions were empowered to investigate the impact of industrialism on the economic and social order and to prescribe remedies to Congress for what they uncovered. In 1903 the second (and most thorough) of the three commissions published nineteen fat volumes of testimony which documented what many people believed on hunch, that while the productive achievements of American industrialism were awesome they had been gained at the price of a substantial grough in monopoly power and an apparent aggravation of social injustice. National progressivism brought little relief. Between 1903 and 1913 conflicts between management and labor were to mwkter and flare which increasing heat. After the bombing of the Los Angeles Timesand with the violence in western mining camps still fresh in public memory, the outgoing Congress of 1912 authorized the appointment of a third federal commision to probe specifically into the causes of the current labor unrest.
In the following year the new President, Woodrow Wilson, announced
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Publication information: Book title: The Progressive Years:The Spirit and Achievement of American Reform. Contributors: Otis Pease - Editor. Publisher: George Braziller. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 157.
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