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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Progressive Party and the Rise of Executive-Centered Partisanship

The Progressive Party and the Rise of Executive-Centered Partisanship

(p.174) 8 The Progressive Party and the Rise of Executive-Centered Partisanship
The Progressives' Century

Sidney M. Milkis

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the wayward path of Progressivism from Roosevelt's Bull Moose campaign to the Obama presidency. Committed to “pure democracy,” many early-twentieth-century reformers hoped to sweep away intermediary organizations like political parties. In their disdain for partisan politics and their enthusiasm for good government, they sought to fashion the Progressive Party as a party to end parties. However, the Progressives failed in that ambition, and their shortfall has had profound effects on contemporary government and politics. By transforming rather than transcending parties, they fostered a kindred, though bastardized, alternative: executive-centered partisanship. The transformation of parties set in motion by the Progressives has subjected both Progressivism and conservatism to an executive-centered democracy that subordinates “collective responsibility” to the needs of presidential candidates and incumbents.

Keywords:   Progressives, Progressivism, Theodore Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Progressive Party, political parties, executive-centered partisanship, conservativatism

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