Progressivism in the United States

Women marching for the right to vote, 1912
"The Bosses of the Senate", a cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicting corporate interests–from steel, copper, oil, iron, sugar, tin, and coal to paper bags, envelopes and salt–as giant money bags looming over the tiny senators at their desks in the Chamber of the United States Senate
A poster highlighting the situation of child labor in the United States in the early 20th century
Upton Sinclair's The Jungle exposed Americans to the horrors of the Chicago meatpacking plants.
Senator Bernie Sanders, an advocate of single-payer healthcare
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, an advocate of action on climate change and author of the Green New Deal

Political philosophy and reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th century.

- Progressivism in the United States

500 related topics


Robert M. La Follette

For his son, also a senator, see Robert M. La Follette Jr. "Fighting Bob" redirects here.

Robert M. La Follette's college yearbook photo, 1879
Portrait from History of the Bench and Bar of Wisconsin, vol. 2, 1898
La Follette addressing a large Chautauqua assembly in Decatur, Illinois, 1905
La Follette in 1908
La Follette in 1912
Time cover, December 3, 1923
La Follette recording a radio speech in 1924, shortly before his death
1924 presidential election results by county. Counties won by La Follette are marked green.
La Follette with his wife and daughter in February 1924

After losing his seat in the 1890 election, La Follette embraced progressivism and built up a coalition of disaffected Republicans.

Primary election

Upcoming general election, local election, or by-election.

A ballot box used in France

The origins of primary elections can be traced to the progressive movement in the United States, which aimed to take the power of candidate nomination from party leaders to the people.

Theodore Roosevelt

American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909.

Portrait by Pach Bros., c. 1904
Theodore Roosevelt at age 11
The Roosevelt coat of arms as displayed on Theodore Roosevelt's bookplate, featuring three roses in a meadow (in reference to the family name, which means "rose field" in Dutch).
6-year-old Theodore and 5-year-old Elliott watch Lincoln's funeral procession from the second-floor window of their grandfather's mansion (at top left, facing the camera), Manhattan, April 25, 1865
Roosevelt's taxidermy kit
Roosevelt's birthplace at 28 East 20th Street in Manhattan, New York City
Roosevelt as New York State Assemblyman, 1883
Theodore Roosevelt as Badlands hunter in 1885. New York studio photo.
NYC Police Commissioner Roosevelt walks the beat with journalist Jacob Riis in 1894—Illustration from Riis's autobiography.
The Asiatic Squadron destroying the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt
Colonel Roosevelt and the Rough Riders after capturing Kettle Hill in Cuba in July 1898, along with members of the 3rd Volunteers and the regular Army black 10th Cavalry
Bureau of Engraving and Printing engraved portrait of Roosevelt as President
Official White House portrait by John Singer Sargent
Roosevelt driving through a sequoia tree tunnel
The U.S.'s intentions to influence the area (especially the Panama Canal construction and control) led to the separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903
1903 cartoon: "Go Away, Little Man, and Don't Bother Me". Roosevelt intimidating Colombia to acquire the Panama Canal Zone.
1904 election results
Roosevelt family at Oyster Bay, circa 1903
Roosevelt shortly after leaving office, October 1910
Roosevelt standing next to the elephant he shot on safari
Punch depicts no-holds-barred fight between Taft and Roosevelt
Roosevelt campaigning for president, 1912
Theodore Roosevelt's medical x-ray on October 14, 1912, after the assassination attempt, showing the bullet that would remain inside his body for life
The bullet-damaged speech and eyeglass case on display at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in Manhattan, New York City
From left to right (seated): Fr. John Augustine Zahm, Cândido Rondon, Kermit Roosevelt, Cherrie, Miller, four Brazilians, Roosevelt, Fiala. Only Roosevelt, Kermit, Cherrie, Rondon, and the Brazilians traveled down the River of Doubt.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt in Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1914
Theodore and Edith Roosevelt's Grave at Youngs Memorial Cemetery
Part of the Works of Theodore Roosevelt
Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's Long Island estate
"The Man of the Hour" Roosevelt as Warrior in 1898 and Peacemaker in 1905 settling war between Russia and Japan
1910 cartoon showing Roosevelt's many roles from 1899 to 1910
Theodore Roosevelt and pilot Hoxsey at St. Louis, October 11, 1910.

Roosevelt was a leader of the progressive movement and championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs.

Democratic Party (United States)

One of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States.

Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States (1829–1837) and the first Democratic president.
Martin Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States (1837–1841) and the second Democratic president.
Senator Stephen A. Douglas
The 1885 inauguration of Grover Cleveland, the only president with non-consecutive terms
Leaders of the Democratic Party during the first half of the 20th century on 14 June 1913: Secretary of State William J. Bryan, Josephus Daniels, President Woodrow Wilson, Breckinridge Long, William Phillips, and Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 32nd and 33rd presidents of the United States (1933–1945; 1945–1953), featured on a campaign poster for the 1944 presidential election
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 35th and 36th presidents of the United States (1961–1963, 1963–1969)
Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States (1977–1981), delivering the State of the Union Address in 1979
Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States (1993–2001), at The Pentagon in 1998
Barack Obama speaking to College Democrats of America in 2007
President Barack Obama meeting with the Blue Dog Coalition in the State Dining Room of the White House in 2009
Eleanor Roosevelt at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago
President Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law at the White House on March 23, 2010
Secretary of State John Kerry addressing delegates at the United Nations before signing the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016
Shirley Chisholm was the first major-party African American candidate to run nationwide primary campaigns.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Immigration Act of 1965 as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and others look on
Then-Senator Barack Obama shaking hands with an American soldier in Basra, Iraq in 2008
President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with President Barack Obama at Ben Gurion Airport in 2013
Self-identified Democrats (blue) versus self-identified Republicans (red) (January–June 2010 data)
Higher percentages of Democrats than Republicans are members of union households.
Elected at age 33, Jon Ossoff is currently the youngest member of the U.S. Senate.
Hillary Clinton was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
Vice President Kamala Harris
Julián Castro served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
U.S. opinion on gun control issues is deeply divided along political lines, as shown in this 2021 survey.

In the early 20th century, it supported progressive reforms and opposed imperialism, with Woodrow Wilson winning the White House in 1912 and 1916.

Herbert Hoover

American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the Republican Party, holding office during the onset of the Great Depression.

Hoover in 1928
Hoover in 1877
Hoover's birthplace cottage in West Branch, Iowa
Hoover, aged 23; taken in Perth, Western Australia, in 1898
Lou Henry, age 17, on a burro and rifle-ready at Acton, California on August 22, 1891
Hoover in 1917 while a mining engineer
The Lou Henry Hoover House in Palo Alto, California, the couple's first and only permanent residence
Hoover with his son Allan (left) and his grandson Andrew (above), 1950
U.S. Food Administration poster
Assistants William McCracken (left) and Walter Drake (right) with Secretary Hoover (center)
Hoover listening to a radio receiver
Hoover (left) with President Warren Harding at a baseball game, 1921
1928 electoral vote results
Hoover's inauguration
Inaugural parade ticket
Hoover congratulates the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on the completion of Cleveland Union Terminal, June 14, 1930.
Hoover in the Oval Office with Ted Joslin, 1932
National debt as a fraction of GNP up from 20% to 40% under Hoover. From Historical Statistics US (1976).
Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover aboard a train in Illinois
Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign.
1932 electoral vote results
Hoover with Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933
Hoover's official White House portrait by Elmer Wesley Greene
A photograph of Hoover in 1958
Hoover Presidential Library located in West Branch, Iowa
A plaque in Poznań honoring Hoover
Medal depicting Hoover, by Devreese Godefroi

Hoover's wartime service made him a favorite of many progressives, and he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in the 1920 presidential election.

Progressive Era

Period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States of America that spanned the 1890s to World War I.

The Awakening: "Votes for Women" in 1915 Puck magazine
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (pictured) wrote these articles about feminism for the Atlanta Constitution, published on 10 December 1916.
Colorado judge Ben Lindsey, a pioneer in the establishment of juvenile court systems
Glass works in Indiana, from a 1908 photograph by Lewis Hine
Women's Suffrage Headquarters on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio in 1912
President Wilson used tariff, currency, and antitrust laws to prime the pump and get the economy working.
Manhattan's Little Italy, Lower East Side, circa 1900.
Newspaper reporting the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii in 1898
A cartoon of Uncle Sam seated in restaurant looking at the bill of fare containing "Cuba steak", "Porto Rico pig", the "Philippine Islands" and the "Sandwich Islands" (Hawaii)
Breaker boys sort coal in an anthracite coal breaker near South Pittston, Pennsylvania, 1911

The main objectives of the Progressive movement were addressing problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and political corruption.

Progressive Party (United States, 1924–1934)

Political party created as a vehicle for Robert M. La Follette, Sr. to run for president in the 1924 election.

The members of political parties coordinate to collectively achieve and use political power.

The party advocated progressive positions such as government ownership of railroads and electric utilities, cheap credit for farmers, the outlawing of child labor, stronger laws to help labor unions, more protection of civil liberties, an end to American imperialism in Latin America, and a referendum before any president could lead the nation into war.

Progressive Party (United States, 1912)

Third party in the United States formed in 1912 by former president Theodore Roosevelt after he lost the presidential nomination of the Republican Party to his former protégé rival, incumbent president William Howard Taft.

The bull moose was the party's official mascot
The 1912 Progressive National Convention at the Chicago Coliseum
Theodore Roosevelt was the founder of the Progressive Party and thus is often associated with the party
16-page campaign booklet with the platform of the new Progressive Party
Roosevelt mixing ideologies in his speeches in this 1912 editorial cartoon by Karl K. Knecht (1883–1972) in the Evansville Courier
Roosevelt and Hiram Johnson after nomination
Pro-Roosevelt cartoon contrasts the Republican Party bosses in back row and Progressive Party reformers in front

The new party was known for taking advanced positions on progressive reforms and attracting leading national reformers.

History of the Democratic Party (United States)

Oldest voter-based political party in the world and the oldest existing political party in the United States.

Andrew Jackson, founder of the Democratic Party and the first president it elected.
1837 cartoon shows the Democratic Party as donkey
Martin Van Buren
August Belmont: DNC Chair for 12 years during and after the Civil war
To vote for Stephen A. Douglas in Virginia, a man deposited the ticket issued by the party in the official ballot box
Thomas Nast's January 1870 depiction of the Democratic donkey
Typewriters were new in 1893 and this Gillam cartoon from Puck shows that Grover Cleveland can not get the Democratic "machine" to work as the keys (key politicians) will not respond to his efforts
William Jennings Bryan at age 36 was the youngest candidate, October 1896
Thomas Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the longest-serving president of the United States (1933–1945)
Adlai Stevenson warns against a return of the Republican policies of Herbert Hoover, 1952 campaign poster
President John F. Kennedy with his brothers, Attorney General and later New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy
President Lyndon Johnson foresaw the end of the Solid South when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 and defeated in 1980
Representative Thomas "Tip" O'Neill was Speaker of the House (1977–1987) and was the highest ranking Democrat in Washington, D.C. during most of Reagan's term
During Bill Clinton's presidency, the Democratic Party moved ideologically toward the center
Nancy Pelosi of California was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives
On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president of the United States
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Senator Bernie Sanders
Nancy Pelosi, the current House Speaker (2019–present), was highly visible adversary for President Trump.
Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump on November 3, 2020.

Both Bryan and Wilson were leaders of the progressive movement in the United States (1890s–1920s) and opposed imperialistic expansion abroad while sponsoring liberal reforms at home.

People's Party (United States)

Left-wing agrarian populist late-19th-century political party in the United States.

Economist Edward Kellogg was an early advocate of fiat money.
Charles W. Macune, one of the leaders of the Farmers' Alliance
People's Party candidate nominating convention held at Columbus, Nebraska, July 15, 1890
1892 People's Party campaign poster promoting James Weaver for President of the United States
1892 electoral vote results
In 1896, the 36-year-old William Jennings Bryan was the chosen candidate resulting from the fusion of the Democrats and the People's Party.
People's Party campaign poster from 1904 touting the candidacy of Thomas E. Watson

Scholars also continue to debate the magnitude of influence the Populists exerted on later organizations and movements, such as the progressives of the early 20th century.