Populists v Progressives Essay
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Populists v Progressives
A political party is an organization whose aim is to gain control of the government apparatus, usually through the election of its candidates to public office. Political parties take many forms, but their main functions are similar: to supply personnel for government positions; to organize these personnel around the formation and implementation of public policy; and to serve in a mediating role between individuals and their government. Political parties are as old as organized political systems. Two parties in particular, the Populist Party and the Progressive Party are alike in many ways, from their platforms to their general issues. In general, however, the structure and behavior of…show more content…
The party adopted a platform calling for the free coinage of silver along with the abolition of national banks. Another aspect of the Populist Party, is a graduated income tax, government ownership of all forms of transportation and communication, and the election of Senators by direct vote of the people. Civil service reform, a working day of eight hours, postal banks, pensions, and the reform of immigration regulations are just some of the other views and beliefs of populists.
Progressives are activists in a political reform movement known as progressivism, which is a broadly based reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th cent. In the decades following the Civil War, rapid industrialization transformed the United States. A national rail system was completed, agriculture was mechanized, the factory system spread, and cities grew rapidly in size and number all because of this newfound movement. The progressive movement arose as a response to the vast changes brought by industrialization. Progressives were often frustrated, however, because state legislatures, controlled by railroads and large corporations, obstructed the municipal struggle for their rule. Throughout all of the reform movements, progressives began to play a major role in politics and the creation of a new political party known as the
As the United States advanced into the twentieth century, the Populists and Progressives saw numerous economic, political, and social problems in need of reform. The Populist movement was a result of a campaign by the Farmer's Alliance. Their chief organizer was a man named Ignatius Donnelly whose proposals were passed into law in the Progressive era. The Omaha Platform was adopted by the newly formed party and it called for the free coinage of silver. From an economic standpoint, the Populists hoped that this inflationary measure would eradicate the financial burden that plagued the nation's farmers. It also demanded reformation of the banking system, the graduated income tax, the secret ballot, the direct election of senators, and the eight-hour workday.
Similarly, the Progressive movement called for solutions to many economic ills in need of reform. The goal of most progressives was government regulation of business. Just as the populists had proposed years earlier, the progressives supported a graduated income tax, and a system to control currency.
In order to establish a system to control currency, the populists demanded the free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at a ratio of sixteen to one, and that the circulating medium should be increased to at least fifty dollars per capita. At the height of progressivism, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood Tariff into law. The Underwood Tariff, which reduced taxes on imported goods, also included an income tax. As a result of the passing of the sixteenth amendment, the progressives used the federal income tax amendment to justify a graduated income tax. The income tax was first supported by Robert La Follette, the governor of Wisconsin, and it raised state taxes on corporations. In bank reformation, a major exception in proposed solutions occurred since the populists demanded that the government...