Perspectives on 20th Century America: Readings and Commentary

By Otis L. Graham Jr. | Go to book overview

PART ONE
Prewar America: 1900-1916

Between the turn of the century and World War I there occurred in many American cities, most states, and at the federal level a broad reform effort called the progressive movement. And for more than forty years there was general agreement about the nature and accomplishments of this movement. As the explanation went, the purpose of the movement was to cope with the flaws of rapid industrialization and urbanization by democratizing the various American political systems and conferring upon these systems new powers of economic regulation. The reformers were a coalition of young and dynamic politicians, journalists, academics, and social workers; and they included among their number, two Presidents. The struggle for their goals was far from easy, and was of course never entirely completed; but in the end (by common consent, about 1916) American life was more humane, democratic, and the public interest better protected, than when the century opened.

This view of the 1900-1916 period has been called the liberal interpretation, since it was part of a broader liberal view of modern American history. In this view, two epochal periods of political and intellectual struggle, the progressive era and the New Deal, had transformed the State from a friend of the corporations (although not a particularly active one; the corporations in the late nineteenth century didn't need much help) to a vigilant protector of the general public and guarantor of economic security for the poor and weak. The liberal interpretation was invariably presented in a spirit of modest national self-congratulation at so much enlightenment and social progress.

This framework satisfied virtually all historians until after World War II. Then, in the 1950s, came the publication of several books and articles that were either incompatible with it or suggested serious modifications. In the latter category, George Mowry in his The California Progressives ( 1951) found reformers in California a rather conservative lot, unduly nostalgic for an unrecapturable past, unable to completely disguise their dislike for aspects of urban society -- in particular the labor movement, the saloon, and the new ethnic groups. This critical insight was given a brilliant, comprehensive statement in Richard Hofstadter's The Age of Reform ( 1955). Subsequent research has cast doubt on the "Status Revolution" theory which Hofstadter offered in explanation of the reformers' motivation. But Hofstadter's more important reassessment of the progressive mentality was widely influential. Granting the reformers' virtues, which included social idealism and sympathy for the underdog, Hofstadter drew attention to their intellectual

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Perspectives on 20th Century America: Readings and Commentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 434

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.