header by Emerson Taymor, 2005

1. The Colonial Era: 1607-1763

2. The Revolutionary Era: 1763-1789

3. The Early National Period: 1789-1824

4. Jacksonian America: 1824-1848

5. Antebellum America: 1848-1860

6. The Civil War Era: 1861-1877

7. The Gilded Age: 1877-1901

8. Progressivism: 1901-1920

9. The Twenties

10. Depression and New Deal: 1929-1939

11. World War II: 1939-1945

12. Early Cold War: 1945-1963

13. Social Ferment: 1945-1960

14. The Sixties

15. The Seventies and After




Theodore Roosevelt, speech, 2/12/12

I believe in pure democracy. With Lincoln, I hold that “this country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it.” Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it. We Progressives believe that the people have the right, the power, and the duty to protect themselves and their own welfare; that human rights are supreme over all other rights; that wealth should be the servant, not the master, of the people….We test the worth of all men and measures by asking how they contribute to the welfare of the men, women, and children of whom this nation is composed. We are engaged in one of the great battles of the age-long contest waged against privilege on behalf of the common welfare. We hold it a prime duty of the people to free our government from the control of money in politics. For this purpose we advocate, not as ends in themselves, but as weapons in the hands of the people, all governmental devices which will make the representatives of the people more easily and certainly responsible to the people’s will….The ends of good government in our democracy are to secure by genuine popular rule a high average of moral and material well-being among our citizens. It has been well said that in the past we have paid attention only to the accumulation of prosperity, and that from henceforth we must pay equal attention to the proper distribution of prosperity. This is true. The only prosperity worth having is that which affects the mass of the people….But it behooves us to remember that there is no use in devising methods for the proper distribution of prosperity unless the prosperity is there to distribute. I hold it to be our duty to see that the wage-worker, the small producer, the ordinary consumer, shall get their fair share of the benefit of business prosperity. But it either is or ought to be evident to every one that business has to prosper before anybody can get any benefit from it. Therefore I hold that he is the real Progressive, that he is the genuine champion of the people, who endeavors to shape the policy alike of the nation and of the several states so as to encourage legitimate and honest business at the same time that he wars against all crookedness and injustice and tyranny in the business world. What is needed is, first, the recognition that modern business conditions have come to stay, in so far at least as these conditions mean that business must be done in larger units, and then the cool-headed and resolute determination to introduce an effective method of regulating big corporations so as to help legitimate business as an incident to thoroughly and completely safeguarding the interests of the people as a whole.