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Posted: February 9th, 2023

The Progressive Movement: A Reassessment

Essay 3: Progressive Reforms

Paper instructions:
One of the central objectives of the course curriculum is to ensure that students are able to comprehend academic research—essentially understand information that is professionally researched, peer reviewed, and intended for the “academic discourse.”

For this essay, students will illustrate their capacity for comprehension and then express that comprehension in a short, explanatory piece of writing.

As the Filene article explains, for decades historians have debated the meaning and accomplishments of the Progressive Movement. When historians write books/articles they are usually in response to other historians’ books/articles. Historians either argue against each other, add to the cumulative knowledge of the “conventional wisdom” surrounding the historical topic, or on rare occasions offer breakthrough, novel interpretations. Filene helps explain the ebbs and flows of the debate on Progressivism. Your task is to effectively transmit the contents of the Filene article, but also indicate a clear understanding of Filene’s argument. Demonstrate a clear understanding of a scholar’s argument and how they develop and defend it through a written article summary.

Here are some tasks that should help you complete the larger objectives of the assignment:

Identify the author, title, and year of publication

Situate the topic in the historical context, based on what you know from the textbook and other sources in this class.

Identify and summarize the author’s thesis in YOUR OWN WORDS

State and explain the author’s supporting ideas and evidence

Explain the underlying meaning or goal of the article, not simply the superficial details.

For this paper you will demonstrate your ability to read and comprehend a published article and effectively summarizing the main idea(s) of the author in a concise summary.

Writing Standards

The essay will be 2 pages long.

Standard margins.

12 point times new roman font.

In-text parenthetical citations. For example: (Johnson, 25).

The essay needs to reference/cite the Filene article. The essay also needs to reference at least one of the sources from the module 2 on the Progressive Era. So, the essay must reference two sources. To illustrate a sharp command over the reading, you might judiciously incorporate some passages from the Filene article.

All essays need to be submitted to turn-it-in, through canvas. I will not grade the essay if it’s not submitted to turn-it-in.

Proofread the essay. If I can’t understand the writing, the grade will be penalized.

The rubric is posted on the course portal.

Every essay needs a formal works cited page. Remember to cite each individual source. MLA format for works cited page.

There is no need to consult outside sources. All of the information needed to complete this essay is found in the module. Students must reference the Filene text.

Essay Due February 19, 11:59 pm

After completing these tasks and objectives, students will be able to:

CO1. Demonstrate understanding of key events, central themes, and questions pertaining to recent United States history.

CO2. Gain experience reading and analyzing written arguments by engaging with a variety of types of sources.

CO 3: Read and condense the central ideas of an author’s work into your own words by identifying the author’s thesis and key evidence used to support it.
The Filene article, “Progressive Historians Revisited” by Peter Filene, was published in the journal “The Journal of American History” in 1983. In this article, Filene addresses the ongoing debate among historians about the meaning and accomplishments of the Progressive Movement in the United States during the early 20th century.

Filene argues that Progressive historians, those who view the Progressive Movement positively and see it as a necessary response to the problems of industrialization and urbanization, have been too focused on the actions of middle-class reformers and have overlooked the role of working-class and minority groups in shaping Progressive reform. He also criticizes Progressive historians for downplaying the negative aspects of Progressivism, such as its support for eugenics and its tendency to rely on government intervention in social and economic issues.

In order to support his argument, Filene discusses the work of several prominent Progressive historians, including Richard Hofstadter and William Leuchtenburg, and critiques their interpretations of the Progressive Movement. He also highlights the contributions of historians who have offered alternative perspectives, such as Alan Dawley and David Montgomery, who have emphasized the agency of working-class and minority groups in Progressive reform.

Overall, Filene’s article aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the Progressive Movement by challenging the dominant view of Progressive historians and highlighting the perspectives of those who have offered alternative interpretations.

The Filene article “Progressive Historians Revisited” is an examination of the debate among historians about the Progressive Movement and its accomplishments. The author argues that Progressive historians have been too focused on the actions of middle-class reformers and have overlooked the role of working-class and minority groups in shaping Progressive reform. He also critiques Progressive historians for downplaying the negative aspects of Progressivism, such as its support for eugenics and its tendency to rely on government intervention in social and economic issues.

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