Politics

Difference Between Populism and Progressivism

Main difference

American society has a rich heritage of different revolutions to ideologies, it has added much directly to the burgeoning “modernization” of the world. If we look at some of the last 150 years, populism and progressivism are the two ideologies or philosophies that went on to become movements in America. Populism , started in the late 19th century, was a farmer-led movement for economic change, while progressivism , started in the early 20th century, was the movement of the urban middle class against the political system, which they believe it was corrupt and those eligible were chosen through unfair elections.

Comparison chart

Populism Progressivism
The movement led by farmers for economic change. The movement of the urban middle class against the political system.
Target
Reform the economic system. Focused on bringing political reforms.
key players. main players
It was led by farmers and other people associated with agriculture. The educated urban middle class was the key actor.
It was
It emerged in the last decade of the 19th century. This campaign began at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ideas
Populism brought ideas such as reforms in public administration, regulation of banks and industries, 8-hour work per job. Progressivism mainly revolved around political reforms and their problems like inflation and corruption in the business class.

What is populism?

The term populism is derived from the Latin word ‘Populus’ which means people in English. The movement, populism, arose in America in the last decade of the 19th century by farmers and others associated with agriculture, since the followers of this political ideology believe that industrialists and bankers had a lot of interference in the government and the policies promoted by them. they were against farmers to destabilize them economically. The actors of this movement were called ‘populists’, then they formed a political party to secure their interests. The basic demands of this group were to tax the upper business class more and to get a dedicated share of income tax through the 16th amendment. Populists totally denied laissez-faire and urged the government to take matters directly into its hands from ownership of the railway, telephone, and telegraph systems to take control of the banks and industries. This upward movement gradually achieved its objectives as its demand for reforms in public administration, regulation of banks and industries, 8 hours of work per labor force was subsequently acceded to.

What is progressivism?

The movement was started by the urban middle class in the early 20th century, the sole aim of the ideology was to oppose the powerful (rich) as part of this belief that the unfair electoral system, corruption in the business class, exploitation of workers, women and children prevailed in society. Bearing this in mind, they took on the riches after plunging deep into dissatisfaction. The other problems like inflation and unstable legal system also forced them to oppose the system. The ideology developed from the top down and spread widely among the masses, although the key players were educated people from the urban middle class. Men and women alike opposed the inflation that arose from the influx of immigrants.

Key differences

  1. Populism aimed to reform the economic system, while progressivism focused on bringing political reforms.
  2. The populism movement emerged in the last decade of the 19th century, while progressivism was a campaign started in the early 20th century.
  3. Populism was led by farmers and others associated with agriculture, on the other hand, the educated urban middle class was the key actor in progressivism.
  4. Populism is a bottom-up movement that started with farmers aligning themselves against the economic system, while progressivism is a top-down approach, starting with the upper echelons of the urban middle class.
  5. Populism brought ideas such as reforms in civil services, regulation of banks and industries, 8-hour work per job, while progressivism revolved mainly around political reforms and their derived problems such as inflation and corruption in the business class. .

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