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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1855 (from 1892 in the political sense), from progressive + -ism.


n. A political ideology that favours progress towards better conditions in society and ultimately the fulfillment of Marx Communism.


n. the political orientation of those who favor progress toward better conditions in government and society

Progressivism (disambiguation)

Progressivism is a broad political movement.

Progressivism may also refer to:

  • Progressive Party (disambiguation), multiple political organizations
  • Progressive education, belief that education must be based on the principle that humans are social animals who learn best in real-life activities
  • Progressive tax, increases as the taxable base amount increases
  • Progressive Era, in the United States was a period of reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s

Progressivism is a philosophy based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition. Progressivism became highly significant during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, out of the belief that Europe was demonstrating that societies could progress in civility from barbaric conditions to civilization through strengthening the basis of empirical knowledge as the foundation of society. Figures of the Enlightenment believed that progress had universal application to all societies and that these ideas would spread across the world from Europe. Sociologist Robert Nisbet defines five "crucial premises" of the Idea of Progress as being: value of the past; nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth. The term is often used as shorthand for a more or less left-wing way of looking at the world. Beyond this, the meanings of progressivism have varied over time and from different perspectives.

The contemporary common political conception of progressivism in the culture of the Western world emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late 19th century, particularly out of the view that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor; minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with monopolistic corporations; and intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, thus claiming that measures were needed to address these problems.

Usage examples of "progressivism".

Wells or the shallow Fabian progressivism of writers like Bernard Shaw.

Since an internal solution to the closing of space was impossible, the progressivism of american ideology had to be realized with reference to the outside.

One could rightly say that FDR resolved the contradictions of american progressivism by forging a synthesis of the American imperialist vocation and reformist capitalism, represented by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.