Progressive Party was an American political group formed by former President Theodore Roosevelt after the Republican Party split between Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft. The party also became known as the “Bull Moose Party.”
The Progressive movement was comprised of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) who often began to reform minorities and people from other religious and cultural backgrounds, leaving the shift of power in the hands of the WASPs.
Although the Progressive Era was a period of broad reform movements and social progress, it also was characterized by
• loose, multiple, and contradictory goals
• impeded the efforts of reformers
• often pitted political leaders against one another, most drastically in the Republican Party.
Some national Progressive leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt argued for
increased federal regulation to coordinate big business practices while others, such as
Woodrow Wilson, promised to legislate for open competition.
Although the Progressive Era brought reform to government and business and increased political power for many citizens, its benefits were limited to white Americans. The African Americans and other minorities continued to experience discrimination and marginalization during this era.
Thus, according to Wilson, the limitations of this era were:
• the biggest failure of the Progressive Era was its exclusive nature.
• saw intense segregation and discrimination of African Americans.
• everyone was supposed to receive the same public services, but with separate facilities for each race.
• In practice, the services and facilities reserved for African Americans were almost always of lower quality than those reserved for whites
• most African-American schools received less public funding per student than nearby white schools
• In southern states, many laws were enacted that disenfranchise black voters.
• State legislatures passed restrictive laws or constitutions that made voter registration and election rules more complicated
• racism often pervaded most Progressive reform efforts, as evidenced by the suffrage movement