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Undeniable Failure: The Progressive Movement

The spread of progressive ideology has plagued this great nation from the time Theodore Roosevelt had introduced progressivism in its rawest form to the United States. Progressive derives from the root word; progress, meaning to drive forward and ever-changing. To apply the word in political context it means to, fundamentally change the norm and past policies. As a general rule a Roosevelt progressive and a current progressive are unchanged. They strive to achieve the same goal and that is to transform and revolutionize the constitution, creating a living breathing entity. The constitution has been deemed "outdated" and non-relevant by progressive standards. They fight for strong government, entitlement programs and lack economic and social choice, which deviates from the true definition of freedom. Throughout history progressivism has failed, creating two of the most unmistakable failures of all time, the Great Depression and the Depression of the 1920’s.

Prior to the Great Depression the United States had seen an era that can be matched by no other time period in our history. The Roaring Twenties had not been christened the name "Roaring" for no particular reason. It was a time of economic and social prosperity. At this time President Calvin Coolidge had taken office following arguably one of the worst economies in the history of the United States. Prior to the Harding and Coolidge 20’s, Woodrow Wilson set the stage for many of the problems that overwhelmed the country. The abysmal policies succeeding World War I had crippled Germany; the Treaty of Versailles, and can be directly tied to the animosity of Hitler to spark another World War. Wilson’s policies had not only stifled the German economy but also the U.S. was procuring unprecedented debt that would subsequently lead to the first and sometimes forgotten depression. Unemployment had reached its highest margin to date starting at 11.8%; Wilson’s remedy entailed higher taxes and greater spending. Sound familiar? His failures while in office represented the essence of the progressive movement; the League of Nations, the "Progressive" income tax, universal healthcare, prohibition and The Federal Reserve. Freedom was not in the nature of President Wilson. "Government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin" – Woodrow Wilson

In contrast to Wilson, Coolidge had done just the opposite. Once Warren Harding had passed away, Calvin Coolidge took over a weak United States. His actions were on route to change U.S. history for the long run if proceeding Presidents had followed his path. A common misconception made by Republican candidates is that if we cut taxes and spend, the economy will prosper or vis-à-vis. This is simply not true, to create economic prosperity there must be action taken on both; cut spending and cut taxes. Coolidge had accomplished both and created an immediate boom within the economy. His strong opposition to progressivism characterized his successful presidency, by obtaining economic stability. To demonstrate the radical change post 1920, government spending had decreased over 50%, taxes had dropped from a staggering 77% to a minute 25%, and lastly unemployment had dropped to its lowest rate in peacetime history to 1.8%. Which led to what has been previously stated, the Roaring Twenties. This time period gave way to technological advances that revolutionized America such as in home telephones, cars, radios and the airplane.

Unfortunately Coolidge and his policies would be short lived after the death of his son, Herbert Hoover, who had been despised by Coolidge and labeled as unfit for office, took his place. Like Wilson and Roosevelt before him, Hoover took the progressive route and went in a fundamentally different direction, creating the second and more legendary depression.

With the economic crash of 2008 and the seemingly endless spiral into economic destabilization, one would think the American people would learn from history and past mistakes. Progressivism has no place in the U.S.; it breeds undoubted failure that is only realized once the damage has been amassed. We must band together and educate the unaware of the falsehoods that liberals and progressives feed through mass media outlets into the minds of the impressionable citizens. Give them true hope and change through economic freedom and limited government.

Felipe Turbay

As an economist and historian, I must tell you that your paper is fundamentally wrong. Among many other factors; deregulation, speculation, greed and risky behavior from banks and financiers, are the main factors accountable for the Great Depression and the Depression of the 1920’s. I encourage you to watch this documentary. It might give you a different perspective of history and information to better structure your future arguments.

All the best.