Professor John W. Szablewicz
US History II
Laissez-faire is defined by Merriam Webster as, “a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights” (Merriam-Webster.com 1). By this, they mean Laissez-faire supports smaller government. I myself am a conservative who is a strong believer in Laissez-faire politics. But many people today disagree with my views. A large majority of people now support liberalism, which is another word for progressivism. Progressivism is defined by Dictionary.com as “favoring or promoting political or social reform through government action, or even revolution, to improve the lot of the majority” (Dictionary.com 3). This basically means that the government is larger, to protect the people. The main parts that will be focused on are the major events of the early 1900’s up until the 1950’s. There is a major importance to both of these styles of political ideology. They both helped us to obtain what we have today, the good and the bad things.
Progressivism is a very important aspect of American culture and has helped carve America into the place that it is today. The progressivism movement started around the 1890’s and gained popularity especially during the Great Depression. During the early 1900’s conditions in the workplace were rough and the pay was low. People figured out that as a single person they had very little power or say in anything about these conditions. They figured out that if they got together as one and collectively fought for better conditions and pay that they could win what they wanted and deserved. This is how unions first came to be. Unions, like the American Federation of Labor, had 138,000 members in 1886 and the Knights of Labor had 730,000. With numbers like this Americans…...