Pre-World War I Progressivism

Issues such as child laborer were frequently in early 1900’s; workers were given low wages and working conditions were unpleasant. Progressive policies prevented these large companies from further abusing their workers.

The idea of progressivism was developed in the early 20th century. In 1912, President Theodore Roosevelt found the National Progressive Party. This party had its principles based on progressivism.[1] Progressivism emerged as a response to the abuses of laissez-faire capitalism by large corporations. It supported “a square deal” for average citizens, with three important ideas: to conserve natural resources, control corporations, and protect consumers through legislations and reforms.[2] Progressivism was significant in that it prevented powerful entities from abusing rights and freedoms of less influential individuals.[3] Ultimately, progressivism helped to restore certain classical liberal principles, such as competition – it broke up monopolies, allowing competitions between companies to recur.


1. "Evolution of Modern Liberalism." Perspectives on ideology. Edmonton, Alta.: Alberta Education, 2010. 199-200. Print
2. "The Progressive Era (1890 - 1920)." The George Washington University. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <>
3. "The Progressive Era (1900-1920)." American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <>