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The US 1900 To World War II Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 March 2017

The US 1900 To World War II

Populism in America came about when farmers made up a huge percentage of the population.  These farmers realized that the economic environment of the times were not encouraging for them.  In the 1870s they experienced hardships that prompted them to move westward in search of better opportunities, from their homes in Ohio, Alabama, Virginia and other parts East of Mississippi.  Things were no different as they found out.  They banded to help each other out economically and politically through movements or concerted action. This started the Populist Movement, the largest in the history of America.

It would prove futile in the end when situations turned from worse to worst.  The landless farmers grew and the small landowners were in no better circumstances due to mounting debts.  At this point, they resolved to turn around their lives around by adopting new methods of doing things.    A depressed economy did not give a strong reason for a protest movement to succeed.  The Populist movement realized that in order to have the same, better opportunities as the rest they had to overcome their circumstances by doing all they can to do better.  This was the beginning of the working class in later years.

            At the start of the 20th century, the effects brought by the capitalist economy, the living conditions in crowded cities brought by unchecked waves of migration, and the working conditions in a free economy began the spread of Socialism in America.  During this period employers were given a free hand in setting the wages and conditions of employment.  There were no laws to regulate them.  The workers, skilled and unskilled were not organized to collectively speak for their interests.

This scenario provided the beginning for the Socialist Movement in America.  It had a membership of 100,000 that helped elect into office 1,000 in various states in the country and their newspaper Appeal to Reason boost of half a million circulation and readership in the country.  Basically the Socialist Movement was formed to unite the workforce and press for reforms in the workplace.

They were against Capitalism and promoted the ideals of Socialism.  Eugene V. Debs was the most known Socialist who claimed to fight the most important war, the ruling class war.  He advocated just like the rest of the Socialists, equitable rights for labor and the fight against abuses on the working class.  The Socialist movement helped won documented cases of labor discrimination and most importantly worked for the legislation of laws to protect the workers.

            Progressivism is the era of the common people and their interests, in their roles as employees, taxpayers, consumers and citizens.  It looks into the past to define the future.  American Progressivism looks into the gains of its past and uses these reforms to make life better for the American.

  Through the democratic processes that have been put in place, America is able to direct its government to be responsive and accountable to its citizenry.  A legislated structure has been fixed to allow efficient administration of power and dispensation of duty by government officials.  Laws have been enacted to regulate relations between individuals and entities and provide equity for all.  Government is tasked to ensure the quality of life and social justice is extended to all without exception.

            Every society had its beginnings.  The great nation of America is no exception.  Even with its current state of progress and world status it had gone through a rough start just like the other countries of the First World order.  This beginning is what has been providing the nation with the strong foundation upon where it stands today.  The early years of the farmers of the Populist era gave the present America the moral fiber and the conviction to believe in one’s capability and ability to control the circumstances of his life.

A significant lesson that they had passed on was that to protest the inequality of opportunities was not enough to change things from worse to better.  The Socialists’ legacy was their advocacies matched with positive action.  They made use of the laws to forward their crusades and in so doing were able to get their desired response.  They not only believed in having rights, but they used those rights to fight for the rights of others as well.


Arnove, Anthony. “Howard Zinn On: Voice of the US Socialist Movement.” 21 May 2004.

            Socialist Worker Organization.


Debs, E.V. “Outlook for Socialism in the United States.” 1900. E.V. Debs Archive.


Goodwyn, Lawrence. “The Populist Movement: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in

            America. 1978. WWW-VL: USA History: US Populism.


Taliant, Dr. Harold D. “Progressivism.” 17 January 2001.


“What is Progressivism?”  http://www.progressiveliving.org/progressivism.htm

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