Progressive Generation

From Academic Kids

The Progressive Generation is a name coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations for that generation of Americans born from 1843 to 1859. The Progressives were caught in an odd warp of history, as the Civil War saeculum did not have a Hero (or Civic) archetype.

The Progressives spent their childhood shell-shocked by sectionalism and the American Civil War. Overawed by older "bloody-shirt" veterans, they came of age cautiously, pursuing refinement and expertise more than power. In the shadow of Reconstruction, they earned their reputation as well-behaved professors and lawyers, calibrators and specialists, civil servants and administrators. In midlife, their mild commitment to social melioration was whipsawed by the passions of youth. They matured into America's genteel yet juvenating Rough Riders in the era of Sigmund Freud's "talking cure" and late-Victorian sentimentality. After busting trusts and achieving progressive procedural reforms, their elders continued to urge tolerance on less conciliatory juniors.

Altogether, there were about 22 million Americans born from 1843 to 1859. 27 percent of them were immigrants and 9 percent were slaves at any point in their lives.

The Progressives' typical grandparents were of the Compromise Generation. Their parents were of the Transcendental Generation and Gilded Generation. Their children were of the Missionary Generation and Lost Generation; their typical grandchildren were of the G.I. Generation.

A listing of sample Progressives includes the following, with birth and death dates as this generation is fully ancestral:

The Progressives had four U.S. Presidents:

They held a plurality in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1893 to 1909, a plurality in the U.S. Senate from 1903 to 1917, and a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1911 to 1923.

Prominent non-U.S. peers of the Progressives include Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Giacomo Puccini, Sigmund Freud, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Henri Bergson.

Sample cultural endowments of the Progressives include the following:


Preceded by:
Gilded Generation
1822–1842
Progressive Generation
1843–1859
Succeeded by:
Missionary Generation
1860–1882
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