What is a Real Progressive?

Steve Grumbine breaks down what it means to be a Real Progressive.

Know your history: read more about the Progressive Party Platform of 1912

Progressive reformers had worked for political, social and economic change within the traditional two-party system for decades before they established a third party — sometimes called the “Bull Moose Party” after Theodore Roosevelt, the party’s first presidential candidate. The Progressive Party’s 1912 platform listed those aspects of modern industrial society that most threatened the American ideals of equality and liberty, and which therefore required immediate attention under the supervision of the national government. Despite the best showing by a third-party candidate in American history, Roosevelt lost the election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive running as the Democratic nominee. Nonetheless, the reform aspirations expressed in the Progressive Party Platform have had an enduring influence on how Americans think about equality, freedom, democracy and government. 

Questions for consideration: On what grounds do Progressives argue that a new party is needed? What industrial and labor reforms are called for by the Progressive Party? How would the Progressive Party’s changes to the political system foster more democracy in the nation?

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