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American Progressivism: A Reader [Kindle Edition]

Ronald J. Pestritto , William Atto
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

American Progressivism is a one-volume edition of some of the most important essays, speeches, and book excerpts from the leading figures of national Progressivism. It is designed for classroom use, includes an accessible interpretive essay, and introduces each selection with a brief historical and conceptual background. The introductory essay is written with the student in mind, and addresses the important characteristics of Progressive thought and the role of Progressives in the development of the American political tradition. Students of American political thought, American politics, American history, the presidency, Congress, and political parties will find this reader to be an invaluable source for insight into Progressivism.

Editorial Reviews


Pestritto and Atto have pieced together an excellent collection of essays. The progressives―from Wilson and Roosevelt to Addams and Rauschenbush―emerge clearly in this superb set of primary source essays. We can see in these essays the goals of the progressives to circumvent the Constitution and to try to centralize political power in the hands of the few. I do not know of a better collection of essays on the progressives. (Burton W. Folsom, Jr., Hillsdale College)

The Progressive era is second in importance only to the Founding itself for a clear understanding of American political ideas and institutions. Many of the deepest debates in contemporary American political life, ranging from the authority of the Constitution, to the role of parties and interest groups, to the proper stance of the United States in world politics, are traceable back to their roots in the Progressive era. Yet we have devoted remarkably little attention to the careful analysis of Progressivism, partly because we have not looked carefully at the documents that defined “Progressivism” and served to promote it. But now, thanks to Pestritto and Atto’s thoughtful and carefully assembled anthology, this defect has been remedied. Every serious student of American politics and history will be in their debt for this excellent collection. (Wilfred M. McClay, University of Oklahoma)

This documentary collection provides a fresh and incisive analysis of seminal texts of the Progressive movement that have been uncritically accepted as timeless truths by elusive and ever-changing liberal relativists. Pestritto and Atto illuminate the intellectual vacuity of the Progessive project to substitute history for philosophy as the standard of political right in America. (Herman Belz, University of Maryland)

About the Author

Ronald J. Pestritto is Charles and Lucia Shipley Chair in the American Constitution at Hillsdale College and author of Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism and Woodrow Wilson: The Essential Political Writings. William J. Atto is assistant professor in the department of history at the University of Dallas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2707 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (May 2, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,656 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Progressivism in the words of Progressives May 1, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Progressivism is a term that has been drained of a lot of meaning these days, as people use the term in ways that often depart from the classical version, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century and extending into the 20th century. This is an edited work, by Ronald Pestritto and William Atto, with snippets from a variety of Progressives, providing a solid sampling of exemplars of this movement. The editors note the method that they adopted (Page ix): "We have been guided in our selection of texts by a desire to focus largely on the national progressives whose writing and speeches have had an influence in shaping the politics of our own time."

The book is divided into several sections. The first, The Principles of Progressivism. Selections are come from Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and public administration scholar Frank Goodnow. The second section, Progressive Interpretation of History, features works by Frederick Jackson Turner and Charles Beard. One target of many Progressives was the Constitution, as they contended that it limited the ability of government to address major problems. Thus, questioning the Constitution was one route taken by academics. Beard, for instance, contended that the Constitution was an economic document designed to protect the property of the Founders and their allies. Part III, Social Justice, Social Gospel, and Education. One key character here is Walter Rauschenbusch, who argued that religious values spoke to the need for government to use its power for the good of the people, including limiting the power of property. John Dewey's well known work on education also appears in this segment of the book.

Part IV, Leadership and the American Presidency.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Pestritto and Atto do an excellent job of summarizing the fundamentals of the American Progressive movement in this compilation. The selected excerpts from notable progressives of the early 20th century (Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt, Adams, Croly, and others) go a long way to introducing the reader to the roots of progressivism via concrete sources, while supporting the more abstract defintions and explanations provided in the authors' intro. A must read for anyone concerned with modern politics and the development or erosion of liberal democracies everywhere, depending on your belief system.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXACTLY what I wanted!!! March 1, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I wanted to know what PROGRESSIVES say about PROGRESSIVISM. This book achieved exactly that. I was completely satisfied in that respect. On that count alone, the book deserves 5 stars. My biggest fear before reading this book was that it would be "a conservative's take on progressivism." I though it may have snippets of this and that assembled to make progressives look really bad. IT WAS NOT. This book consists of complete speeches, complete chapters from books and other NOT OUT OF CONTEXT sources. All the editors did was write the introduction at the beginning of the book and then a short paragraph at the top of each entry putting it in its historical context. So, the review that claimed this was a biased book OBVIOUSLY did not READ the book.

Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt played very large in this book. Wilson was VERY dry reading. Teddy Roosevelt was very lively reading. There were many others in here, too that ranged from interesting to very dry. One bonus that I did not expect was some insight into the U.S.'s entry into WWI. Very interesting stuff.

I read somewhere in the other reviews here that Beck recommended this book. I don't know if that's true or not. I'm a regular listener, but I don't recall hearing that. Maybe I wasn't listening that day. Regardless, you can listen to Glenn Beck all day long. From that, you can learn what GLENN BECK says about progressives. Admittedly, not a "Fair and Balanced" view of that ideology. So, I wanted to get the rest of the story. This book was it. (BTW, Beck's picture of progressives is more or less accurate. He puts horns and a tail on them-but...his facts are pretty much right on)

If you are interested in learning what progressives say about progressivism-THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!
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74 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book April 14, 2009
I had a hard time finding this book. But I finally did, thank goodness. If you believe in our Constitution, and want to gain insight, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must to understanding the Progressives objectives February 1, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good read on the progressives ideology. Boring to to read but very informative and a must so as to understand what is really going on in politics in our country. It's not the Dems or the Repubs we have to worry about but, the progressive movement and it infiltration into both party systems.
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65 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars definately meaty reading August 17, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book when I began hearing the liberal left speaking in terms of being "Progressive". I wanted to understand just exactly what is a Progressive democrat since it seemed that the liberals of today were advocating more government control than we have seen in many years. This book is very informative but don't expect an easy read. It is text book material and in many instances I had to cross reference my reading by keeping my computer handy to reference events, persons and policies that the text assumes you should know. It is very accurate and informative if you have the patience to read and investigate. In some ways, I learned more by having to go slow and investigate as I went. I better understand the totalitarian development that has taken the liberal left since Roosevelt's time. Nevertheless, I am sure there are other books which could explain the principles and historical events in more easily understood text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The book was in excellent condition and a good read.
Published 1 month ago by Lydia Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Hint: Progressivism is not about progress.
An excellent guide for understanding progressive politics in America today.
Published 1 month ago by Chuck Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommendable
I did not much about progressivism, but after reading this book, I have a much better idea.
I do not know other texts, but given the idea that I got from the book, I guess... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jose M. G. Schettino
4.0 out of 5 stars Shape of things to come?
If you are curious about the Progressive political movement then this book is for you. It starts at the beginning of the
movement up to modern day times. Read more
Published 14 months ago by michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought the book used in very good condition - The Book looks brand...
Got the book as a gift for my boyfriend. Very happy with the condition of the book. He held off buying this book for years because it was quite pricey, as it is technically a... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Shirley O.
5.0 out of 5 stars educate yourself
We have the government we deserve right now because we have an uneducated voter. Every thinking voter has a responsibility to learn how we got to this point and learn to recognize... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Published 22 months ago by Ron + Cheri York
1.0 out of 5 stars Consigned to the Rubish Pile
I was able to cross-check several references, either fraught with irregularities or re-written with impunity. Read more
Published on May 18, 2013 by Roy K. Farber
5.0 out of 5 stars must read
If you ever wondered why politicians suck at leading this book is for you progressivism is a cancer to the freedom we have in this country but then again it seems that we have... Read more
Published on May 18, 2013 by techrickster
5.0 out of 5 stars In Every High School History,Civics,Governmt Course- Mandatory
To read the the nature of Progressivism is to understand the cancer that current consumes my country. Read more
Published on April 12, 2013 by M L Lathers
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