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Story of America in Our Time By Harry C. Veryser.

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1 Story of America in Our Time By Harry C. Veryser

2  1. The perfectibility of man and the illimitable progress of society : meliorism. Radicals believe that education, positive legislation, and alteration of environment can produce men like gods; they deny that humanity has a natural proclivity towards violence and sin.  2. Contempt for tradition. Reason, impulse and materialistic determinism are severally preferred as guides to social welfare, trustier than the wisdom of our ancestors. Formal religion is rejected and various ideologies are presented as substitutes.  3. Political leveling. Order and privilege are condemned; total democracy, as direct as practicable, is the professed radical ideal. Allied with this spirit, generally, is a dislike of old parliamentary arrangements in an eagerness for centralization and consolidation.  4. Economic leveling. The ancient rights of property, especially property in land, are suspect to almost all radicals; and collectivistic reformers hack at the institution of private property, root and branch.  The Conservative Mind, Seventh Revised Edition, p.10

3  The first attempt to build a ”Rational Society.”



6  Positivism is a system of philosophical and religious doctrines elaborated by Auguste Comte. As a philosophical system or method, Positivism denies the validity of metaphysical speculations, and maintains that the data of sense experience are the only object and the supreme criterion of human knowledge; as a religious system, it denies the existence of a personal God and takes humanity, "the great being", as the object of its veneration and cult.philosophical humanknowledgeexistence of a personal God  Catholic Encyclopedia

7 The Enlightenment Fascination with Physical Science Physics of Issac Newton August Comte Application of the methods of Physics to Social Sciences Stresses Mathematics and assumes a purely material world Positivism Materialistic Intrepretation Biology- Darwin Psychology-Freud -Behaviorism & others Sociology-Comte Economics-Marx

8  Materialistic Explanation of Order in the Universe especially with respect to the appearance of life.

9  Materialistic Explanation of Mental States

10  Proposes a program of revolutionary socialism as opposed to the social democracy of the welfare state.  Materialistic Explanation of Economics

11 Marx is the dominant “voice” of the modern era; millions upon millions of lives irreparably influenced and even eliminated as a result of his ideas at work Essence of Collectivist Materialism  Man/the person is a material creature only; the idea of a human spirit or soul is a myth  In order for science (i.e., the search for knowledge) to be genuine it must concern itself with the material world  The wealth or value of a thing is determined by its labor inputs  Capitalism is nothing more than an attempt by the owner/entrepreneur to expropriate the value of the laborer to himself

12  The ideal state will ( The Communist Manifesto ):  Confiscate all existing private property  Outlaw private property  Institute a graduated income tax  Centralize all media/communication  Centralize all transportation  Establish public education for all children  Centralize Credit in a State Controlled Bank  “To each according to his needs; from each according to his abilities.”

13  Abolition of Private Property  Abolition of the Family  Abolition of Religion  Equality, abolition of Hierarchies in Society

14 Paths to Utopia Welfare State Socialism

15  Application of Methods of Physical Sciences to improve human conditions through government action. Social Welfare state of Bismarck- 1880 Fabian Society 1884 Progressi vism 1901

16 People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood.

17  1. National Health Insurance  2. Strong support for labor unions.  3. High tariffs for Germany  4. Strong central government under control of Prussia.  5. Cultural fight with Catholic Church called “The Kulturekampf”  6. Provokes wars with Denmark, Austria & France  7.Extends voting franchise.  8. Regime becomes model for American Progressives and British Fabians.


19  Society founded by Sidney & Beatrice Webb, and George Bernard Shaw

20  Last Conservative President

21  1. Opposed Spanish-American War and annexation of Hawaii.  2. Enforced treaties with Indian Tribes and wanted to give them the land on an individual basis. No reservations.  3. For Free Trade  4. Supported the Gold Standard  5. Opposed “crony capitalism”, no special favors for veterans, business, or farmers.  6. Strong supporter of the Constitution.

22  The Democratic Party Turns Populist and then Progressive

23  What gave the Progressive movement its theoretical unity, in spite of internal quarrels among various writers, thinkers, and politicians, was its uniform opposition to the founding principles of the American regime. Progressives opposed the natural law and natural rights arguments of the Declaration of Independence in favor of a political science founded on historical evolution. The metaphors were typically Darwinian, and the substance was derived from German–Hegelian historicism.  The Progressive movement aimed at nothing less than the total and complete transformation of the American regime. In Croly’s words, “The best that can be said on behalf of this traditional American system of ideas is that it contained the germ of better things.” [2][2]

24  In practice, this meant a criticism of the Founders’ idea of limited government with enumerated powers. In electoral politics, as it was expressed by writers such as Herbert Croly, Progressive democracy was built on an increased concentration of political power, primarily in the executive.  The primacy of executive power was not original with Croly; philosophically, he borrowed it from Woodrow Wilson, and in practical politics, he borrowed it from the example set by Theodore Roosevelt. What Croly added was to place the concentration of power in the broader context of the complete reordering of the American regime and not merely a tinkering with institutions.  Heritage Foundation

25  1. Government as the instrument to implement the progressive vision and the chief influence in society.  2. Increase centralization shifting decision-making upward to national governments, especially to bodies of experts.  3. The scientific attitude. Using the model of the physical sciences to reconstruct society.  4. Extension of the vote and increasing democratization of both government and the electoral process.  5. Special rights for labor unions and the fostering of a strong labor movement.

26  6. Increasing taxation, particularly through income and inheritance taxes.  7. State control of the economy, especially to regulatory bodies.  8. Expansion of the role of the central bank.  9. “Idealism” replaced prudence as acting principal among statesman.  10. The use of war, especially to change the governments of other countries, esp. to democracy.  11.Building of Empires.




30  “For better or worse, democracy cannot be disentangled from an aspiration toward human perfectibility, and hence from the adoption of measures looking in the direction of realizing such an aspiration.” ( The Promise of American Life, p. 454. Herbert Croly)

31  Progressive Education-Prepare Children for Democracy-eschews classical education

32  Enlists Christian Teaching in the service of progressivism through the concept of the Social Gospel

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