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Word Count: 447
We are in a period of clamor of bewilderment of an almost tremulous unrest We are hastily revising all our social conceptions We are hastily testing all our political ideals Weyls description reflected the widespread popular expectation for change Reform was in the air almost every where and many different individuals and groups joined the crusade often with quite different expectations The variety of competing organizations seeking to reform politics could and did produce nearly as much clamor and bewilderment as Weyl described At the dawn of the new century however few Americans could have anticipated the extent of change the extent of change that lay just ahead Most probably expected a continuation of nineteenth century political patterns which dominated politics and governments roles in the economy was limited largely to a stimulating economic development through the tariff and land policies At the same time however many Americans also believed that something should be done to curb the power of the new industrial corporations and to correct the problems of the cities and some Americans came to identify traditional political practices as a major constraint in reform Progressivism took shape through many choices by voters and political leaders Most decisions were specific to a particular election or legislative proposal but a more basic choice loomed behind many of them Time after time Americans chose a greater role for government Often there was such a widespread agreement on the need for government intervention that the only choices were about the form intervention would take As they gave government more power Americans also sought to make it more responsive to ordinary citizens Constrained by nineteenth century patterns of political decision making Americans put stricter limits on political parties and introduced ways for people to participate more directly in politics such as the direct primary and the initiative and referendum
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