Social Darwinism And The Progressive Era

695 Words3 Pages
The social monster manufactured from the second Industrial Revolution threatened to consume the lives and livelihoods of the average worker. In the late 1800s, social concepts were on the verge of changing. Social Gospel preceded the progressive era and influenced its beginning. Previous years witnessed largely conservative Protestant church authorities; they focused on the sin of the individual while ignoring societal problems. Many of the educated clergymen studied abroad in Germany, where they were taught that the Bible wasn’t to be taken literally. This allowed them to conscientiously reject their earlier position that the plight of those destitute in the wake of industrialists was to be ignored. Social Darwinism had held sway for…show more content…
Pushing for wide reforms, some of which being lightened workloads on Sunday, abolition of child labor, and injury compensation among factory workers, the proponents of the new Social Creed established the National Council of Churches to sway the positions of established Protestant churches. Among these issues, one which especially carried over to the Progressive Era was the call to fix the horrifying and downright deadly conditions of industrial workers. This included forcing companies to provide compensation for injuries received on the job. Concepts of worker compensation, already established in some European countries, were introduced through writers such as Crystal Eastman in the early 1900s. While not entirely causing the progressive movement, the Social Gospel was a precursor to it and changed the way many people thought about the conditions of the impoverished working class. Both the Social Gospel and the Progressive movements relied on muckrakers to alert the public to the atrocities that maimed and deprived workers of lifestyle and…show more content…
The atrocities of trench warfare caused the influence of the Social Gospel to wane, paralleling the “larger public disillusionment with the ideas that had underpinned the Progressive Movement.” (Bateman, The Social Gospel and the Progressive Era) The average person, whether church-going or not, was simply losing faith in mankind’s ability to change willingly for the better. Both the Social Gospel and the early Progressive movement suffered a staggering drop in popularity resulting from the tragedy of the Great War. Effectively, a chapter of history was closing for both the church and society at large. Although generally rejected, the Social Gospel continued to be taught in some Protestant schools for years to come. Martin Luther King Jr. would later base his civil rights arguments on the still-existing principles of the Social Gospel in the

More about Social Darwinism And The Progressive Era

Open Document