The Preamble to the Constitution states that government should promote the general welfare. The term welfare means the well-being of the people. The Progressive Movement advocates positive liberties that promote the general welfare of the American people.
Progressives are advocates of government taking an active role in society to defend and protect the civil rights of all persons. We believe that the greatest obstacles to individual freedom and liberty are inequality and poverty; a person is never truly free if they are disenfranchised, discriminated against, or poor. Everybody has the right to equal opportunity to reach their full potential and make positive contributions to the quality of life in their community. We advocate government taking an activist role to eliminate social injustice and poverty because everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed in life.
The Progressive Movement is not new. The Abolitionist Movement to free the slaves was a struggle for equality and social justice in America. The experience of the Abolitionists created the core values of the Progressives Movement. We have promoted our progressive values ever since then to bring equality, justice, peace, security, and prosperity to all Americans.
The rise of conglomerates, corporations, monopolies, and big banks, at the turn of the 20th Century, created widespread unfairness in markets and gross inequality in America. The “progressive” label became popular during this time. Progressives led the struggle for consumer safety, regulating industry, and advancing the cause of working Americans. Progressives won social security and the minimum wage for the American people during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration (1933-1945). The Progressive Movement mobilized women to advance the suffrage movement. Progressives won the vote for women with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the vote for Native Americans by congressional statute ion 1924.
Progressives were active in the civil rights movement. In the early 1960s, Progressives worked with the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) and heroically participated as Freedom Riders. Progressives participated in the March on Washington in 1963, and the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965. Progressives led the struggle to ratify the 24th Amendment that outlawed poll taxes in 1964, and ratify the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Throughout the 20th Century, progressivism continued to be the leading force in America for advancing equal rights, social justice, and promoting democracy and prosperity. The recent accomplishments and activities of Progressives include: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, The Consumer Protection Act and establishing the Consumer Protection Agency, funding the Violence Against Women Act, advancing the cause of healthcare reform, repealing DADT, and advocated for ending the wars. Progressives are leading advocates for marriage equality, equal rights for the GLBT community, women’s reproductive rights, improved gun control regulations, raising the minimum wage, defending voting rights and removing voting barriers, defending the middle class and the right of working people to organize, consumer protection, and stronger regulations for Wall Street.