Progressivism and Social Christianity

The Progressive Movement of the first two decades of the twentieth century was deeply intertwined with religion, especially Christianity.  Without its religious impulses and inspiration and the substantial contribution of Christians, Progressivism may never have developed or had the impact it did. Although historians have not discovered a “typical progressive profile,” a “coherent [Progressive] political agenda,” or even a “definable [Progressive] ethos,” they generally agree that Progressivism was a political response to the industrialization, urbanization, immigration, class divisions, and economic concentration of early twentieth-century America. Never a “cohesive movement with a unified program,” Progressivism instead involved a “diverse array of reform activities that sometimes overlapped and sometimes diverged sharply.”  Drawing “in varying degrees upon America’s leading political traditions—liberal republican, populist, and socialist”—Progressivism’s ranks included labor leaders, social reformers, social engineers, settlement house staff, ministers, journalists, and politicians.  Some Progressives sought primarily to curtail the power of businesses, while others strove to pass legislation to protect workers and the urban poor. Some focused on reforming the structure of government, while others fought to restrict immigration, institute prohibition, and abolish prostitution.

, Progressivism and Social Christianity

About Gary Scott Smith

Dr. Gary Scott Smith is a Professor of History Emeritus at Grove City College and is a fellow for faith and politics with the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He is the author of "Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill” (January 2021), "A History of Christianity in Pittsburgh" (2019), "Suffer the Children" (2017), "Religion in the Oval Office" (Oxford University Press, 2015), “Faith and the Presidency From George Washington to George W. Bush” (Oxford University Press, 2009), "Religion in the Oval Office" and “Heaven in the American Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

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About Gary Scott Smith

Dr. Gary Scott Smith is a Professor of History Emeritus at Grove City College and is a fellow for faith and politics with the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He is the author of "Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill” (January 2021), "A History of Christianity in Pittsburgh" (2019), "Suffer the Children" (2017), "Religion in the Oval Office" (Oxford University Press, 2015), “Faith and the Presidency From George Washington to George W. Bush” (Oxford University Press, 2009), "Religion in the Oval Office" and “Heaven in the American Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2011).