A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era by Nichols, Christopher M.; Unger, Nancy C

By Nichols, Christopher M.; Unger, Nancy C

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As they experienced their ouster “by new men of the crudest sort,” these transitional figures sought reforms that would reshape modern society without sinking to the level of demagoguery (Hofstadter 1955, 140). The rise of progressivism, argued Hofstadter, percolated from all classes of professional men, including the clergy. Sensing that their status had eroded in the new era, they looked for new ways to restore their power. After the economic turbulence of the mid‐1890s, men with roots in old‐line Yankee families turned from conservatism to progressivism in order to reassert control over religion, higher education, and the legal system.

Social Justice and the Settlement House Movement Wiebe’s book gained traction and, like Hofstadter’s, influenced a generation of Progressive Era historians. The Search for Order apparently solidified the view that the farmers’ alliances and Knights of Labor were important progressive 24 James M. Beeby and Brian M. Ingrassia antecedents, even if its focus on Bellamy’s Nationalist movement has not persisted in the historiography. In any case, by the mid‐1960s American historians clearly saw the Progressive Era’s antecedents in the 1880s, in the wide array of responses to industrialization and urbanization.

The Populists wanted to place the power more firmly in the hands of the common people, and they influenced mainstream politics by merging with the Democratic Party in 1896, under the leadership of William Jennings Bryan (Flanagan 2007, 10). Even though the traditional trinity of Mugwumps, socialists, and farmers appeared in this synthetic account, Flanagan placed little emphasis on international antecedents of turn‐ of‐the‐century reforms. America Reformed did mention a few international organizations, but for the most part the book discussed internationalism in the context of anti‐ imperialist movements in the years between 1898 and 1917 (Flanagan 2007).

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