Theodore Roosevelt and Progressive Era


Theodore Roosevelt is a statesman whose ideas continue to reshape the United States’ political, social, and democratic processes. During his period as a leader, Roosevelt joined hands with other individuals to propose ideas that could transform their followers’ experiences. In 1912, he presented a famous speech that focused on the goals and characteristics of American progressives. This paper gives a detailed analysis of the attributes and achievements of the progressive era.

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Characteristics of a Progressive

In his speech, Roosevelt manages to outline the unique characteristics of a progressive. He begins by indicating that such a person is intelligent and always ready to promote or pursue the forward movement (Schwartz, 2017). He or she will address the needs of all followers and remain righteous. A progressive promotes justice by focusing on what is good for all. The speech indicates such leaders use their concepts, philosophies, and resources to address most of the problems many community members face. They promote progress for everyone without pursuing their personal demands.

Characteristics of Anti-Progressives

Roosevelt’s speech challenges anti-progressives since their goals and ideas fail to support the needs of the people they serve. Such individuals possess these unique characteristics: they lack fervent convictions, their followers do not have confidence in them, and their actions only focus on popular intelligence (“Who is a progressive,” n.d.). They assume managerial roles when they intend to implement change and seek nominal rules from those they lead.

As indicated earlier, this leader reveals that anti-progressives tend to engage in specific activities that address their personal gains. They also pursue their industrial goals in order to become rich. They do so without tackling their negative or evil motives. These people will also react negatively whenever addressing the demands of progressives (Schwartz, 2017). Such characteristics explain why they always expect to benefit from injustices.

Goals of Progressivism: Key Areas of Society

The pioneers of progressivism wanted to transform the experiences of American citizens by promoting several benefits. Some of the leading objectives included improving people’s working conditions, transforming the quality of education, promoting employees’ unionization, and supporting women’s rights (Schwartz, 2017). These achievements would encourage more citizens to pursue their economic goals.

There were critical areas of society that attracted the attention of different progressives. Some of them included increasing levels of urbanization, challenges of industrialization, and cases of child labor (“Who is a progressive,” n.d.). Those behind this wave of progressivism wanted to address various issues affecting society, including disparities in criminal justice systems and health, gender inequality, and unemployment. Every strategy aimed at addressing these issues can transform the experiences of more Americans.

Achievements of Progressivism

Roosevelt uses his speech to outline several progressive gains. Firstly, he argues that there is a need to change the country’s judicial system. This means that different agencies and people will be able to interpret the Constitution properly. Secondly, the speech supports the desire to develop a superior political system (“Who is a progressive,” n.d.). This achievement will create the best environment for economic development. Thirdly, Roosevelt believes that there is a need for all people in urban areas to have healthy living environments. Fourthly, he encourages progressives to address the predicament of child labor. Lastly, he admits that America requires evidence-based policies to empower more women.

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The above discussion has revealed that Roosevelt’s ideas of a progressive are capable of transforming the outcomes and experiences of many citizens. His speech dares his opponents to embrace superior ideas and implement initiatives that can improve the United States’ political, social, and economic systems. Individuals who focus on these attributes will eventually emerge successfully.


Schwartz, H. E. (2017). Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group.

Who is a progressive? (n.d.). Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Theodore Roosevelt and Progressive Era'. 14 June.

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