World War One was the first ever global war. It started in July 1914 and ended in November 1918. Though it was global, this war was centered in Europe. It involved the great economic powers of the world which included France, United Kingdom, Russia, United States, Germany and Italy. The main cause of the war was the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand. By the time the war came to a halt, the effects were obvious. Many lives were lost, homes broken and the political agenda of all the countries disturbed (Sondhaus, 2011).
The progressive political agenda in the United States was marked by political reform and social activism in the period between 1890 and 1920. Since the First World War occurred during this period, it had some effects on the progressive politics corner. Before examining the effects that the war had on the progressive political front, progression in politics must be comprehended. Progressive politics, as said earlier, was marked by political reform and activism in the United States. The actors in this movement wanted to ‘purify the government by eliminating corruption, cutting the political machinery that promoted this and exposing the dirty political minds (Borosage, 2001).
The activists who were the promoters of progressive politics wanted reforms in public education, local government, finance, medicine, churches, railroads, industry, and even insurance. The main political leaders who pushed the progressive political agenda were Robert Follette, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Charles Hughes, William Bryan and Al Smith. These were the leaders that worked hard to see progression in the United States. Though the movement commenced at the local levels, it later became a national movement. Support was drawn from the middle class Americans who included lawyers, businessmen, teachers, physicians and ministers (Borosage, 2001). These people supported methods that were scientific in fields like economics, medicine and the others which are mentioned above. They closely followed advances in those fields and contributed in policy making. An example of progress was the banking sector whereby they created the Federal Reserve System. They also attempted to abolish wastage and inefficiency.
There are many ways how First World War One helped in the hindrance of the progressive political agenda. One of them is of cause the disruption that it made to the movement. Many leaders concentrated on how to win the war rather than the progression of the agenda. Since winning the war was more important, the progressive agenda took the backseat. Another way that most scholars say had the greatest effect was the fact that most progressive leaders were supporters of Benito Musolini (Sondhaus, 2011). Thus, they had some form of left wing leaning. This made them lose support. Thus, this killed progressivism.
Woodrow Wilson started with vigor in his fight for progressivism. However, along the line he lost his energy. He concerned himself more with World War One. Since the progressive agenda started more as being imperialistic and interventionist, the push by the then president made the average people to lose faith since they were put off by his push. This was another way that the war affected this progressive agenda. The concentration on the war made the fight against corruption, inequality and other progressive ideas to take a backseat.
In summary, the First World War had many effects on the progressive political agenda. As discussed, it brought disruption, made the progressive agenda leaders to lose concentration on the fight and affected other areas as well. To answer the question, it hindered the progressive political agenda. The ways by which it did that are discussed above.
Borosage, Robert L, and Roger Hickey. The Next Agenda: Blueprint for a New Progressive Movement. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 2001. Print.
Sondhaus, Lawrence. World War One. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011. Print.