Difference Between Populism vs Progressivism
No matter how you look at it, humans remain political in nature. There is always a group of people who relate better with one another as opposed to other groups. On studying this human nature, scholars came up with terms to describe these factions.
There are quite a number of them, but for the sake of this post, we will narrow things down to populism vs progressivism, particularly as it has to do with the different revolutions and ideologies of American society.
According to history, these terms were the two prevailing philosophies that gave rise to political movements. They were initiates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by respectively. The former was initiated by farmers of the economic change and the latter was initiated by the urban middle class against the political system.
Definition of Populism
Populism is a movement initiated by people in the agricultural sector who believe that industrialists and bankers controlled the government with policies that were unfavorable to farmers. They came together to discuss their collective issues in unity and find solutions to their problems.
To legally execute their plans, they came together to form and created a major political party known as People’s Party, also known as the Populist Party.
The word “populism” was derived from Latin and directly translates to “people.” It started in the nineteenth century and was spearheaded by farmers and their associates. This faction came to be as a result of the perception that industrialists and bankers had a better political platform that allows them to interfere in government and make laws in their interest which, more often than not, does not go down well with farmers.
This perception was a fact that needed to be dealt with, and forming the people’s party was the best way the agriculturalists could deal with the problem. A difference between progressivism and populism is that the farmers did not have the economic stability to sponsor their agenda. As a result, they did not achieve much.
Definition of Progressivism
Progressivism is a political movement initiated by the upper-middle class in the twentieth century against the upper class to alleviate unfair elections, corruption, and exploitation of women and children, all of which gave concession to rich people. They came together to form the progressive party, and most of their ideas bordered on the idea of communism.
This advocacy for social reform was powered mostly by people of the middle class who devoted a great deal of time to the course, leading to a great success eventually. As you can tell, their proponents started out on a better platform with more economic and political clout than the latter.
The difference between populism and progressivism basic fact can be seen in their motives – as for the former, it was to impose more taxes on top business class via the sixteenth amendment as well as receive a dedicated share of the income tax.
Main Differences Between Populism vs Progressivism
|Basis of Comparison||Populism||Progressivism|
|Definition||A movement initiated by people in the agricultural sector who believes that industrialists and bankers controlled the government with policies that were unfavorable to farmers||A political movement initiated by the upper-middle class in the twentieth century against the upper class to alleviate unfair elections, corruption, and exploitation of women and children, all of which gave concession to rich people|
|Purpose||Economic change||Social reformation|
|Key participants||Agriculturalists||Educated urban middle-class citizens|
|Initiation time||Late 19th century||Early 20th century|
|Result||Eventually failed because of low economic support||Became a success based on economic and political clouts|
Difference Between Populism and Progressivism: Conclusion
One thing that is clear in the populists vs progressives comparison is that they were not initiated by the upper-class citizens, who obviously had everything going in their favor and did not need any sort of reform.
These movements also needed a lot of economic support, which was the main reason why the People’s Party did not work. It was championed by farmers who had little education and barely enough money.
The progressives, on the other hand, may be middle-class, but they are educated and had some economic leverage as a result. They even had some political leverage as well.