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Study Guide

The Education of Henry Adams Historical Context

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Historical Context

Reform Era

A new spirit of civic awareness by members of the middle class who identified themselves as Progressives launched the Reform Era in the 1890s. Progressives believed that the rampant development of the economy had led to wasted resources, lives, and health. In response, Progressives applied a belief in maximum efficiency to every facet of life. Their goal was to make America a more efficient society and, in the end, more prosperous. The Progressives also applied new ideas about the individual. They replaced social Darwinism with envi-ronmentalism: good environments made good citizens. Thus, an improvement of society's environment (namely cities) would improve the citizenry. Both tenants were mixed with a fervent belief in the "Social Gospel" or a secularizing of the Christian gospels. Progressives, in other words, sought to make real the messages of "love of neighbor" that they believed Christ taught.

During the Reform Era, slums...

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This section contains 728 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Education of Henry Adams Study Guide
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The Education of Henry Adams from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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