Progressive Spirit Grips Nation
North Dakota Joins Movement
Something called progressivism seems to be everywhere. Just what is this progressivism? Progressivism stands for change, for the use of government to bring about more rapid improvement of people’s lives. Progressives believe that a better educated person can make better decisions. So, they support efforts to improve schools. They believe that democracy must be expanded and strengthened. So, they work for laws that will give the people more voice in government. President Theodore Roosevelt, who became president in 1901, is a progressive. He has supported national parks and the saving of forest land for the people. He has fought against unfair big business monopoly, for the people. He has supported pure food and drug legislation to protect people from contaminated food and illegal drugs or fake remedies. He sees himself as a reformer. A progressive is a reformer.
In North Dakota progressivism has many examples. At the North Dakota Agricultural College here in Fargo, Professor Edwin Ladd, a chemist, has been investigating the adulteration of food and found many cases of spoiled canned food as well as the use of unwholesome food dyes. He has become a crusader for laws that will eliminate these health hazards. He is a progressive.
At the university in Grand Forks, John M. Gillette, the sociologist, has been investigating child labor, jail conditions, and treatment of the mentally ill. He is calling for improved conditions in these areas. He is a progressive.
Elizabeth Preston Anderson has been leading the fight to get the vote for women as well as other measures that she believes will improve society. She is a progressive.
George Winship, the editor of the Grand Forks Herald, has been in the forefront of the movement to expand democracy. He is leading the Republicans who are out to defeat Alexander McKenzie and end undemocratic bossism. He is a progressive.
R. B. Griffith, the owner of the Ontario store in Grand Forks, crusades against bootlegging and “blind pigs” that sell illegal liquor. He is a progressive.
Theodore G. Nelson, president of the American Society of Equity, campaigns for fairer grain-grading laws to help farmers. He is a progressive.
Webster Merrifield, president of the university, is pressuring the legislature into passing laws that will provide higher standards for teachers and schools. He is a progressive.
The North Dakota Good Government League supports laws that will give the people more voice in government decision making. It endorses measures such as the initiative whereby the people can directly pass laws and the referendum whereby the people can directly overturn a legislative act. It is a progressive movement.
Progressivism means reform, changing society through more involvement of the government in the lives of people. It is a strong movement across the nation and it is very much alive in our state.
By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.