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The Progressive Presidents
The Progressive Presidents
Progressivism has been understood to be a broad political philosophy. Its foundation is the idea of progress which emphasizes that advances in development of the economy, social organization, science and technology can improve the quality of human conditions. The significance of progressivism highly rose in Europe during the Age of Enlightment. During this age it was believed by the masses that progressivism demonstrated that societies could wake up and progress from barbaric conditions that prevailed at such a time to enjoy the joys of civilization. Empirical knowledge, it was also believed, is the foundation on which a civilized society stands. Robert Nisbet, a sociologist, realizes that not one single concept has had the right to be accorded more value than the concept of progress in Western civilization for three thousand years. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson are perfect examples of people who espoused progressive philosophies. These are great men whose selfless actions and opinions helped shape the face of history as we know it.
The two frontrunners of the most progressive presidential elections in US history had some principles that were common to them. To begin with, they both believed that restoration of the government which was being used as an instrument of evil would have to be done by destroying the invisible government behind the real government. Woodrow Wilson during his first inaugural speech said that progress was being hindered as the government was being used for private and selfish purposes and those who used it had indeed forgotten about the people. The invisible government needs to be destroyed, so did Theodore Roosevelt believe. He held so strongly to the belief that behind every perceived government sits ordained an invisible government that owed neither allegiance nor acknowledged responsibility to its people. This, according to both parties greatly reduced the prevalence of progress in the US.
In addition, both Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson believe in democracy as an aid to progressivism. During the declaration of principles of the Progressive party Theodore categorically showed support for the rule of the people. He showed commitment to a self controlled democracy as he listed the rule of the people as one of the principles of the party that he represented during the elections in 1912. His party wanted direct primaries for the nomination of both the state and the national officials. Woodrow Wilson also expresses satisfaction over the fact that the house representatives became democratic by a decisive majority and a democratic senate is about to assemble. He represents the democrats during the presidential elections.
In contrast, the duo has conflicting principles when it came to protection of rights of the workers. Theodore Roosevelt opted to go after the corporations by regulating their power whereas Woodrow Wilson took the approach of using the federal government to regulate the working conditions. Theodore demanded strong national regulation of inter-state corporations. In his declaration of principles for the progressive party he stated that the existing concentration of vast wealth under a corporate system unguarded and uncontrolled by the nation, has ended up placing in the hands of a few men enormous secrets and irresponsible power .............
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