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Progressivism and Turbulent Time

Homework 1

1. As pointed out by Pestritto (2009), progressivism was strong in the Western countries due to the presence of powerful western states reformers who took advantage of weaker federal and state governments, thereby passing progressive reforms more quickly compared to the eastern states.  For instance, the western states surpassed their eastern counterparts with female suffrage and voting rights.

Robert La Follette’s Wisconsin became known as “laboratory of democracy” due to his ability to successfully push for legislation that gave voters the right to choose their leaders. Additionally, La Follette supported measures that would protect the growth of workers’ unions in order to end patronage politics, especially by regulating the powers of large organizations (Wisconsin Historical Society, 2012).

2. While today’s anti-liquor laws are usually considered conservative as opposed to liberal that existed in the late 19th and early 20th century, prohibition was regarded as progressive. This was due to the fact that Prohibition/anti-liquor law was seen to call for voluntary abstinence rather than forceful consumption of alcohol.  However, Hanson (2009) points out that the forces of the “wets”, which did not support prohibition led to the failure and amendment of the law. This was based on the fact that these forces embraced political intimidation, massive political corruption, and increased violence associated with temperance propaganda being contributed by consumption of alcohol.

3. Based on the African-American history, the Progressive era can be argued to have been a single worst period since the emancipation due to the immense racial discrimination that characterized the period (Root, 2006). Therefore, to the reformers, racism was a norm. They, thus, infused a race-based pseudoscience in their education practices to help in forming the opinion through which they would advocate for equal right to black Africans.

From Sagebrush & Slot Machine readings, I cannot support the statement that Nevada was a typical strong progressive western state in the early 20th century. This is due to the fact that, even with the passage of referendum, minority groups could not hold statewide offices until 1990 because of discrimination (Warren, 2006).

Homework 2

A Turbulent Time: Protest and Identity Politics in the 60s

1.During 1960s, a violent protest, like that by the Black Panther party of 1967, was the most effective approach used by various movements of this era in the struggle to win their civil rights (Munoz, 2006).

2. According to Martin Luther King, only white people were able to take part in nonviolent activities. To him, nonviolent protestor would only be regarded as a fighter if he or she engages in activities only to defeat an enemy rather than winning them back.

3. As pointed out by Proach (2009), Dr. King believed that a nonviolent protestor could be regarded as a peacemaker if he or she sought to understand and make friendship with enemies rather than disgrace them. To these people, politics and religion gave a great emotional and spiritual courage that enabled them to stand firm to fight against injustices. While hatred would result into more violent acts, love tends to accommodate other people’s thoughts, thereby helping in resolving society’s problems. Therefore, as for me, I would perfectly join a nonviolent protest since it is more of an educative tool in addressing injustices within society especially by harmonizing both conflicting groups.

Dr. King characterizes the choice between violence and nonviolence in the struggle for freedom based on hatred and love respectively. According to him, violence would result into more retaliatory chaos, hatred, and trauma, while nonviolent would result into love among the opponents. Based on his philosophical writings, Dr. King was a reliable forecaster.

4. The antiwar movement became stronger in the United States because there was a growing opposition from the students and middle class population. The antiwar movements in Vietnam were criticized for being a prosecuting tool envisaged by the working class against the black and Latino populations. This was true because a number of victims from the war came from the black and Latino working people, most of whom were forced into the war. Therefore, the struggle of black, students, and women for equal rights was more of enhancing equal participation within the existing order.

In conclusion, a nonviolent activity should be emulated as an approach that helps in fighting for freedom against injustices.  It is, thus, imperative for the government to enact and implement best prohibition laws that advocate for democracy and progressiveness.

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