The Progressive Era and World War I
The Progressive Era in the United States has brought crucial changes to its society by altering peoples’ views and promoting ideas of democracy, social equality, freedom, etc. World War I had a great impact on the development of these social, political and economic concepts. The purpose of this paper is to discuss whether the decision to enter the war was a failure or success from the point of view of the Progressive Era values and ideas.
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During the years prior to World War I, the USA saw great positive changes. According to Rothard, “the country was transformed from a relatively laissez-faire economy with a minimal government into a heavily regulated economy”. The USA was also not formally associated with any of the rival parties. That is why at the very beginning of World War I, President W. Wilson solemnly promised that the United States would remain neutral until the end of the confrontation. This strategy seemed to be an implementation of progressive ideas and beliefs.
However, the US society did not manage to ignore the influence of World War I completely, and in 1917, W. Wilson made a complicated decision to participate in it. At first glance, this might be seen as a retrograde step and a betrayal of the progressive impetuses. Nevertheless, the goals of the USA were very different from those of the other nations. The country wanted to promote peace and hoped that the belligerents would achieve mediation, which belonged to the key targets and ideas of progressivism. Therefore, in conclusion, it is possible to note that the US participation might be regarded as a culmination of progressivism, not its termination, for the country had a mission to abolish violence and war.
Berg, Manfred, and Axel Jansen. “Americans in World War I – World War I in America.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, vol. 17, no. 4, 2018, pp. 599-607.
Corbett, Scott P., et al. U.S. History. Houston: OpenStax, 2014.
Rothbard, Murray N. The Progressive Era. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2017.
Smith, David. “WorldWar I: The Progressive War”. FEE, 2017, Web.
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