The Progressive Era

Purpose: To enable students to demonstrate a thoughtful approach to making a difficult decision with important ethical implications for society.

Introduction: Your Personal Responsibility Assignment will require you to submit a typed essay that assesses the ethical approaches/priorities of Theodore Roosevelt within the context of the Progressive Era, compare them to your own ethical priorities, and apply them to a social, political, or economic issue. You will use the Eight Key Questions (8KQ) Resources from James Madison University.

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To construct a well-organized assignment, follow the steps below in order. Make sure to address each question directly. The structure and mechanics of your paper are of less importance than your ability to consider the Key Questions at play in the Progressive Era and in the related primary source. There is no right or wrong answer, but there are well or poorly supported positions. Therefore, within the relevant steps please draw liberally from the primary source.

Step One: Ethical self-awareness: Your task here is to state which of the 8KQ you find the most important in ethical decision making, regardless of the specific situation. Analyze why you consider this key question to be your most important guide to ethical decision making, and examine the factors in your life that help explains why you believe this. Example: “My maternal grandmother would always greet me with a pat on the head, where she would welcome my younger brother with a wide smile and loving hug. This made me feel I was loved less, and I have always had an eye for fairness as a result.” Reminder: Perform this self-analysis without specific reference to the Progressive Era or Theodore Roosevelt.

Step Two: Ethical issue recognition: To understand the context of the Progressive Era, please read the relevant sections from your textbook or view John Green’s Crash Course History overview at this. Generally, what are the major ethical questions related to the Progressive Era? Describe what decisions were available to activists, politicians, intellectuals, journalists, businesspersons, labor leaders, and workers in responding to these questions? Avoid writing exhaustively about the Progressive Era. Instead, reflect upon 1-2 important issues that may have ethical or moral implications.

Step Three: Application of ethical perspectives/concepts: Read the assigned excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech entitled, “New Nationalism.” Describe the rationale for applicability or inapplicability for each of the 8KQ as they relate specifically to the ideas set forth in this primary source document. How do Roosevelt’s ideas address one of the major ethical issues established in Step Two? How does Roosevelt apply each of the 8KQ? Does he prioritize one of the 8KQ over others? Does he address potential or perceived critiques of his ethical priorities?

Step Four: Evaluation of different perspectives/concepts: Considering one important issue from the Progressive Era (from Step Two), compare and contrast Roosevelt’s application of the most important Key Question in his “New Nationalism Address” (from Step Three) with the application of your own Key Question (from Step One).

Format: Regarding format, your work is to be typed, double-spaced in 12-point font with 1” margins, left-aligned, and indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch. Essay length: 2-3 pages.

Write in a manner that is appropriate for an academic paper in the subject of history and follow a widely-accepted format for citing sources properly.

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