Progressive Review

Bucking the system

A scorecard

From "Sam Smith's Great American Political RepairManual" WW Norton 1997
Copyright 1997

People win
System wins
Late 18th century
End of monarchy & nobility
End of British colonial rule
Creation of a constitutional democracy
Eradication of Indian peoples (continues through mid-20th century).
Early 19th century
End of property requirements for voting
Strengthening of the slave system
Mid 19th century
End of slavery
Union organizing
End of women being considered husband's legal property.
Harsh factory conditions
Courts rule against first unions
Police & troops used to break strikes

Late 19th century


Black progress during Reconstruction era
Populist movement
New ethnic groups gain urban power
Small-scale economic democracy largely replaced by the modern corporation.
Rampant corruption of government by corporate interests and urban ethnic machines
End of Reconstruction era, rise of segregation as a legal concept.
Supreme Court gives corporations the rights of living persons.
Court rulings reverse previous gains in desegregation.
Early 20th century
Women get the vote
Large-scale labor organizing
The New Deal & social welfare programs
Anti-trust activity
Period of corporate excess
Late 20th century
Civil rights movement
Women's movement
Consumer movement
Environmental movement
The 18-year-old vote
Rise of the military-industrial complex
Trickle-down economics
Corporate and bank deregulation
Declining real wages
Flight of business abroad
Paramilitary occupation of urban areas
Rise of corporate health-care systems
Massive corruption of politics and government
Retreat from civil rights