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Progressivism in philosophy and politics

From the Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution

Immanuel Kant identified progress as being a movement away from barbarism towards civilization. Eighteenth century philosopher and political scientist Marquis de Condorcet predicted that political progress would involve the disappearance of slavery, the rise of literacy, the lessening of inequalities between the sexes, reforms of harsh prisons and the decline of poverty.<ref>Nisbet, Robert (1980). History of the Idea of Progress. New York: Basic Books. ch 5</ref> "Modernity" or "modernization" was a key form of the idea of progress as promoted by classical liberals in the 19th and 20th centuries, who called for the rapid modernization of the economy and society to remove the traditional hindrances to free markets and free movements of people.<ref>Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History (1995) p. 78</ref> German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was influential in promoting the Idea of Progress in European philosophy by emphasizing a linear-progressive conception of history and rejecting a cyclical conception of history. Karl Marx applied to his writings the Hegelian conception of linear-progressive history, the modernization of the economy through industrialization, and criticisms of the social class structure of industrial capitalist societies. As industrialization grew, concerns over its effects grew beyond Marxist and other radical critiques and became mainstream.

Contemporary mainstream political conception

In the late 19th century, a political view rose in popularity in the Western world that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor, minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with out-of-control monopolistic corporations, intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, and a need for measures to address these problems.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Progressivism has influenced various political movements. Modern liberalism was influenced by liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill's conception of people being "progressive beings".<ref>Alan Ryan. The Making of Modern Liberalism. P. 25.</ref> British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli developed progressive conservatism under "One Nation" Toryism.<ref>Patrick Dunleavy, Paul Joseph Kelly, Michael Moran. British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England, UK; Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000. Pp. 107-108.</ref><ref>Robert Blake. Disraeli. Second Edition. London, England, UK: Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd, 1967. Pp. 524.</ref> Similarly in Germany, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck enacted various progressive social welfare measures out of conservative motivations to distance workers from the socialist movement and as humane ways to assist in maintaining the industrial revolution.<ref>Union Contributions to Labor Welfare Policy and Practice: Past, Present and Future. Routledge, 16, 2013. P172.</ref> Proponents of social democracy have identified themselves as promoting the progressive cause.<ref>Henning Meyer, Jonathan Rutherford. The Future of European Social Democracy: Building the Good Society. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. P108.</ref> The Catholic Church encyclical Rerum novarum issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, condemned the exploitation of labour and urged support for labour unions, government regulation of businesses in the interests of social justice, while upholding the rights of private property and criticizing socialism.<ref>Faith Jaycox. The Progressive Era. New York, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2005. P85.</ref> A Protestant progressive outlook called the Social Gospel emerged in North America that focused on challenging economic exploitation and poverty, and by the mid-1890s the Social Gospel was common in many Protestant theological seminaries in the United States.<ref>Faith Jaycox. The Progressive Era. New York, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2005. P84.</ref>

In America, progressivism began as a social movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and grew into a political movement, in what was known as the Progressive Era. While the term "American progressives" represent a range of diverse political pressure groups (not always united), some American progressives rejected Social Darwinism, believing that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated, and believed that government could be a tool for change.<ref>he Progressive Era (1890 - 1920), The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project (retrieved 31 September 2014).</ref> American President Theodore Roosevelt of the US Republican Party and later the US Progressive Party declared that he "always believed that wise progressivism and wise conservatism go hand in hand".<ref>Jonathan Lurie. William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 196.</ref> American President Woodrow Wilson was also a member of the American progressive movement within the Democratic Party.

Progressive stances have evolved over time. In the late 19th century, for example, certain scientifically illiterate progressives of their day argued for scientific racism on the grounds that it had a biblical<ref name=huffpost-scienceofracism>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=tamu-pat-racism>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and scientific basis.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Modern progressives now tend to describe racism as merely a social construct,<ref name=mothjonescienceofracism>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> remnants of the Spanish Inquisition,<ref name=washu-raceisasocialconstruct>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and that genetic markers are not exclusive to any race of people, nor does race even exist.<ref name=sciencedaily-racedoesntexist>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=guardianracismisnotscience>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=huffpost-racedoesntexist>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Imperialism was a controversial issue within progressivism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in the United States where some progressives supported American imperialism, while others opposed it.<ref name="nugent">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> In response to World War I, progressive American President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points established the concept of national self-determination and criticized imperialist competition and colonial injustices; these views were supported by anti-imperialists in areas of the world that were resisting imperial rule.<ref>Reconsidering Woodrow Wilson: Progressivism, Internationalism, War, and Peace. P. 309.</ref> During the period of acceptance of economic Keynesianism, circa 1920s to 1970s, there was widespread acceptance in many nations of a large role for state intervention in the economy. However with the rise of neoliberalism and challenges to state interventionist policies in the 1970s and '80s, centre-left progressive movements responded by creating the Third Way that emphasized a major role for the market economy.<ref>Jane Lewis, Rebecca Surender. Welfare State Change: Towards a Third Way?. Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp. 3-4, 16.</ref> In the aftermath of the arising of the Great Recession, economic policies established or influenced by neoliberalism have faced scrutiny and criticism in mainstream politics.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} There have been social democrats who have called for the social democratic movement to move past Third Way.<ref>After the Third Way: The Future of Social Democracy in Europe. I.B. Taurus, 2012. p. 47.</ref> Prominent progressive conservative elements in the British Conservative Party have criticized neoliberalism.<ref>Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. P. 108.</ref>


Progressivism sections
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