Difference between Populism and Progressivism

The most important difference between populism and progressivism is that both are from a different time. The populism is from the 19th century about change in the economic system, and the progressivism began at the start of the 20th century.

Populism and Progressivism are the two ideologies in the USA. Populism, pioneered back in late 19th century was a movement.

The populist movement began during the 1880’s. Farmers or those connected with agriculture believed industrialists and bankers controlled the government. Farmers become united to protect their interests. They even created a significant political party.

Difference between Populism and Progressivism

The party was known as the people’s party which became famous as the populist party. Populists drew its strength from rural regions. Populist initiated a program in 1882, and they wanted to inflict more income tax on men and women.


Middle course and well-educated people said the progressivism motion in the early 1900s. They continue their battle by staying from the political mainstream. The unfair election system, exploitation of workers, women, and children, corruption at the company class and the legal system these are the significant root cause of the movement. The motion was a reflection of the dissatisfaction among the urban classes and people belonging to the middle classes.

Regardless of the fact that the majority of the requirements of the populists were bordered on the ideas of communism; ultimately, overwhelming majorities of the demands were acceded by the authorities, and they became the law of the territory eventually.

Nonetheless, the populism and progressivism campaigns were all implanted to initiate national advancement. The standard notion of progressivism was leaning more on uplifting the nation by way of socio-economic and political reforms while populism was more anti-capitalistic that favored agrarianism when opposing drastic modernization.

Populism and Progressivism

To put it simply, progressivism is academic and appears to be more upper-class. Therefore, it was an idea encouraged by the wealthy and powerful individuals. People who belong to the upper and middle classes were largely devoted to progressivism. This also contains the highly urbanized regions. Politicians also liked the concept of progressivism and emphasized charitable acts.

Populism is another side of the same coin. It’s a down-up movement, which suggests more engagement with significant decision-making. The populists also tried for the same sort of modernization as the progressivists but made sure to not undermine social justice. That is why many view populism as a kind of battle between the elite and the lower classes.

Concerning its time of conceptualization, the populism effort is thought to have begun in the latter part of the 19th century.

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