Progressive era, religious idealism, Richard T. Ely, Josiah Strong, Jane Addams, nationalism, social welfare policy


This re-evaluation of the published writings of Richard T. Ely, Josiah Strong, and Jane Addams during the Progressive era (1880- 1912) explores the themes of religious idealism and nationalism that figured prominently in the early formulation of modern liberal reform ideology in the United States. A specific focus will be placed on tracing themes of the America’s millennial destiny and how they gradually evolved into prophesies of social transformation through the applied use of social science knowledge. Beyond merely satisfying historical curiosity, this inquiry provides a new perspective from which to consider the fierce clashes over social welfare policy which occurred in the twentieth century.

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