Once again talking about Progressives and progressivism and once again I feel the need to define progressivism and separate it from Liberals and liberalism and Socialists and socialism, regardless of whatever socialist faction you’re talking about.
Progressives are people who believe in progress through government action. That is basic, simplest, and best definition of it. Progressives are the least ideological of all the political factions and the most practical. You have Progressives on the Center-left like Teddy Roosevelt and Progressives on the Center-Right like Newt Gingrich. Unlike lets say Socialists way over on the Left ( to be kind ) who believe that government should try to do practically everything for everybody. Even if they believe private enterprise and capitalism should still exist and aren’t Marxists. Like Senator Bernie Sanders today.
Or people like Libertarians who believe that government should do practically nothing and only the most mainstream of Libertarians today believe that government should even be policing the streets, protecting the borders, defending the country, and even managing the currency. But Libertarians like former Representative Ron Paul, believe that government should at least be doing these things.
You have Progressives who believe in a strong but limited public social safety net, workers rights, equal rights for all Americans, but who are also strong anti-Communists and are against authoritarianism of all forms including socialist dictatorships. And believe in a strong national defense and social security. Even limiting deficit spending especially when the economy is strong like President Lyndon Johnson. So, Progressives aren’t the people you see today who want tax hikes on everyone and all sorts of new government programs for the people, while slashing the defense budget and trying to censor everyone they disagree with and labeling all of those people as bigots.
The Progressive President’s in American history at least in the 20th Century and in the 21st Century so far, are President Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, President Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, President Lyndon Johnson, and President Barack Obama. You could even argue that President Dwight Eisenhower and President Richard Nixon, were Progressives but coming from the Right, especially when it came to economic and foreign policy.
President Theodore Roosevelt, gave us the regulatory state to protect workers and consumer from predators, but not to run private business thorough government.
President Woodrow Wilson, gave us the progressive income tax and the Federal Reserve. As well as defeat authoritarianism in Europe during World War I.
President Franklin Roosevelt, gave us the New Deal which is the creation of the American safety net, as well as defeat Nazi Germany during World War II.
President Harry Truman, put the finishing touches ( so to speak ) on Germany and Japan during World War II. As long as create the national security state which went a long way in defeating Communist Russia during the Cold War. He also fought for but was unsuccessful in passing his Fair Deal agenda in Congress which would’ve been an expansion of the New Deal.
President Lyndon Johnson, gave us the Great Society which was an expansion of the New Deal with more public assistance to try to combat poverty in America. He also gave us the civil rights laws of the 1960s that gave African-Americans and really all Americans, the right under statue not to be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. As well as the right to vote for all American including African-Americans.
President Barack Obama, gave us the Affordable Care Act, which means all Americans are eligible for health insurance and that people who are too wealthy for Medicaid, but can’t afford private health insurance, are eligible for subsidies to help them pay for health insurance. As well as an expansion of the regulatory state with how Wall Street does business in response to the economic crash of 2008.
Progressives aren’t interested in creating a national government so big that state and local government’s become practically irrelevant because so much power is centralized with the national government and government becomes so big that people no longer have to make personal and economic decisions for themselves. And even be able to speak or think for themselves. Progressives aren’t Communists but instead are anti-Communists. They just want everybody to be able to succeed in society and believe that government has a limited role in seeing that everyone can be successful. Which is what these Progressive President’s believed in.