Wisconsin College of the Air; American history, 1876-present; 13; The Progressive Movement
While today I want to talk about the climax of the progressive movement the election of 19 12. Woodrow Wilson and the new freedom. When. We last left Theodore Roosevelt and he formed part of this and a very important part of this triangular contest in 1912. We last left Theodore Roosevelt in 99 having retired from the presidency and gone off to Africa. Big game hunting. It was a successful hunt. Roosevelt never did anything by halves. He returned with over a thousand trophies. Indeed one wonders if there was anything left alive in Africa. For instance he killed nine Lions five elephants 13 rhinoceroses and seven hippopotamuses. In Cairo he lectured the Egyptians on the blessings of belonging to the British Empire.
And then after a brief tour of Europe during which he stopped off in Berlin and spend four glorious hours on a white charger reviewing the troops of the German army. He then departed for New York in the spring of 19 town. In all of this busy schedule however Teddy Roosevelt found time somehow to read a book. And the book that he read turned out to be the most important single piece of literature to emerge from the progressive movement. The book was by a young journalist named Herbert Croly. C R O L Y. And it was called The Promise of American life. Indeed it's a phrase that I've been using both last semester in this ad. To discuss this particular feature of the gospel of free labor.
The promise of America Herbert Curly's promise of American life published in 99. Deals as the title suggests with the promise of America. That is the land of opportunity. It deals with the old free labor gospel the idea that any human any American can get ahead by his own bootstraps as far and as fast as his energy his initiative his abilities will take it. What Carly is suggesting home however is that by the early 20th century. This age old promise of America the land of opportunity was no more. What he's suggesting is that the promise had turned sour. Because the America had become too complicated. By virtue of the technological industrial agricultural urban
revolutions it was too crowded. Life was too complicated. The economy was too sophisticated. To provide anymore for reasonable opportunities for just any person to get ahead and make a million in this fairly complicated technological society dominated by large corporations. What Carly is saying is that the most you normally can expect is to become a small cog in a big wheel kind of an organization man. That the real promise to make a million is no longer there. You know. His solutions of course are the fairly obvious ones that other progressives like Iraq US. And John R. Commons were also suggesting. That is got more government intervention
to improve the possibility the economic opportunities of the average. But Crowley's book was far more than that because it was in addition it was a criticism of progressive thought a criticism of the programs of other progressives. Indeed it's probably the most penetrating self criticism to emerge from this era. He's criticizing both the political and the economic program of his fellow progressives. Politically you'll recall. Politically the progressive program was more a democracy direct rule by the people you remember the Wisconsin idea direct primaries referendum recall the cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. Clearly suggested that that was hardly a new program indeed he even
suggested it was not only old it was positively reactionary. It was a matter of trying to look over your shoulder and restore the past. The assumption that the cures for the ills of democracy is more democracy is an attempt suggested Croly only to return to the simpler age of Jefferson when we were a nation of small shopkeepers and yeoman farmers. And that what will happen is that you'll end up just about. Where you are now. You go back and restore popular democracy and who is going to take over control it'll be the same party bosses the mark Canas the map ways that have already taken over. You really haven't accomplished anything. What he's suggesting in shart. Is that. Under the impact of industrialization and the
- Wisconsin College of the Air
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- The Progressive Movement
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- Chicago: “Wisconsin College of the Air; American history, 1876-present; 13; The Progressive Movement,” 1973-06-17, Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 1, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-30-773tz9cc.
- MLA: “Wisconsin College of the Air; American history, 1876-present; 13; The Progressive Movement.” 1973-06-17. Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 1, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-30-773tz9cc>.
- APA: Wisconsin College of the Air; American history, 1876-present; 13; The Progressive Movement. Boston, MA: Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-30-773tz9cc