Progressive Party


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Progressive Party: Socialist Party, Bull Moose Party, Progressive politics

Progressive Party

Beginning in the 1900s, the political history of the United States has been the story of the two mainstream political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, and the third party movements that have grown and receded in their wake. Between 1912 and 1948, progressivism, a broadly based reform movement, had three national incarnations as the Progressive Party.

Progressivism began as a response to the transformation of American society from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial one. Many American workers, both native-born and immigrant, found themselves hindered by long hours of work in dangerous conditions, low pay, and unsafe and unsanitary housing. Reformers in the largest cities began to lobby for safer working environments, improved tenement housing, and public ownership of utilities. Others fought political corruption and the cronyism that was part of the established political machines of both parties.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt, who had sought to find a balance between capitalists and working people and had gained fame as the nation's chief "trustbuster," declined to run for another term. With Roosevelt's support, his friend and colleague William Howard Taft was elected president, a move that at first was hailed by a number of Progressives. The conservative Taft turned out to be a huge disappointment to the Progressives and to Roosevelt, who challenged him for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912. After losing the nomination to Taft, Roosevelt left the Republican Party and gained the nomination of the Progressive Party that had been launched in 1911 as the National Progressive Republican League by Wisconsin Senator robert m. la follette. Although La Follette had hoped to be the new party's candidate, he was outpolled by Roosevelt for the nomination.

Roosevelt campaigned vigorously on a platform that called for multiple social, economic, and political reforms, including woman suffrage, the institution of a Minimum Wage and Child Labor Laws, environmental conservation, direct election of U.S. senators, and procedures permitting initiative, Referendum, and recall. Although Roosevelt's Progressive Party, popularly known as the "Bull Moose Party," polled 600,000 more votes than Taft, he lost to Democratic candidate woodrow wilson.In 1924, a group of Progressives, including former members of the Bull Moose Party, united with railroad union workers, an organization called the Conference for Progressive Political Action (CPPA), the american federation of labor, and the American Socialist Party to support the presidential candidacy of Robert M. La Follette. A liberal Republican, "Fighting Bob" La Follette was a three-term Wisconsin governor who broke with the Republican establishment to lead the fight for tax reform, control of railroad rates, the establishment of the direct primary, and other reform measures that were collectively labeled the "Wisconsin Idea." In 1906, La Follette, whose wife Belle Case La Follette was an attorney and champion of women's suffrage, began the first of three terms in the U.S. Senate, where he championed reform along the lines of the Wisconsin Idea and also displayed an isolationist streak, opposing U.S. entry into World War I and also into the League of Nations.

Running against Republican Calvin Coolidge and conservative Democrat john w. davis in 1924, La Follette and his running mate, Montana senator Burton K. Wheeler, crusaded for the dismantling of monopolistic corporations, equitable taxation of businesses, the right to Collective Bargaining, state ownership of Public Utilities, public control and protection of the country's natural resources, and an end to Fraud and corruption in public offices. Coolidge, who had become president in August 1923 after the death of President warren g. harding, was reelected in a landslide victory. La Follette and the Progressive Party polled close to 5 million popular votes and 13 electoral votes. The only state the Progressive Party carried was La Follette's home state of Wisconsin.

Worn out by his extensive efforts at campaigning, La Follette died in June 1925. With La Follette's death, many members of his followers rejoined the Republican Party and the second materialization of the Progressive Party movement passed from the national political arena.

In 1948, the Cold War policies of President harry truman caused a group of disaffected Democrats and others to reconstitute the Progressive Party. The new Progressives nominated former U.S. vice president and commerce secretary Henry Wallace for president and Senator Glen H. Taylor from Idaho for vice president. They campaigned on a number of issues including opposition to the Marshall Plan, support for Civil Rights and Welfare legislation, and repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act that had placed a number of restrictions on labor unions. Support from the U.S. Communist Party caused a political backlash, and the Progressive Party's third presidential bid garnered only 2.4 percent of the national vote. In the early 2000s, the Progressive Party existed not as a national entity but as a collection of local and state organizations still championing liberal causes and reform issues.

Further readings

Morris, Edmund. 2001. Theodore Rex. New York: Random House.

Progressive Party. Available online at <progressiveparty.org> (accessed August 1, 2003).

Thelen, David. 1986. Robert M. La Follette and the Insurgent Spirit. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

Cross-references

Libertarianism; Third Party.

References in periodicals archive ?
But in the year Roosevelt ran for president under the Progressive Party banner, Americans had a choice between a socialist, a right-wing Republican, and two very different flavors of progressive This year, Cherny's generation got a choice between two candidates who quibbled over small details of center-right economic plans.
The Caucus held its first gathering on February 1 to meet each other, share ideas, adopt bylaws, and discuss pending legislation, and how to network with others, including the newly formed Vermont Progressive Party.
That stirred fears that the next president, Mr Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, could aggravate tensions with China.
Why the strike exploded and persisted in certain places and not others; how past and current local Populists or Socialist politics impacted on events; the place of the strike in the Progressive Party campaign of 1924; how strikers and their supporters were mobilized and personally affected; what legacies the defeat of the strike had in communities--all these questions and issues await future research that will be well aided by Davis's commendable foundational study.
He soon headed the newly formed federal agrarian Progressive party which won 65 seats in the 1921 election, shattering the two-party system and resulting in the first minority government.
The Democratic Progressive Party, which favours independence, won 54 seats.
Disillusioned with the existing party structure, Grimke outraged many African American politicians by championing Roosevelt's Progressive Party in 1912; he did so on the grounds that the third party offered the best hope for altering the wholesale disfranchisement of black voters in the South.
Unfortunately, statements in January by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have signaled a more restrictive stance on cross-Strait investments.
BELGRADE, Jumada I 24, 1435, Mar 25, 2014, SPA -- The Serbian Progressive Party has won 48.
On Saturday, the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office accused Wang and Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu of using their positions to stop prosecutors from appealing the not-guilty verdict against opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator Ker Chien-ming.
The Independence party has 26% and the Progressive party 24%, putting them on track to win nearly 40 of the 63 seats, BBC reported.
It has been announced that LP, NSDP, the Democratic League of Bosnians and the Serbian Progressive Party will join this group and it is possible for Fiat Canoski's party PEI to join too.

Full browser ?