Feb 4 2011
10:13 pm
By: bill young  shortURL

IMO, there are two competing theories of the progressive idea.

The left wing theory & the Chamber of Commerce theory.

But both theories wary of Party politics.

The left wing progressive theory is that government should protect the weak from the mighty.

The Chamber of Commerce progressive theory is that good government produces the best results.

The left wing progressive thinks..ISSUE.
The Chamber of Commerce progressive thinks..PROCESS.

When one looks @ Black Wednesday..we can see the
competing theories of the progressive idea.

The left wing progressives hit the streets.
The Chamber of Commerce progressives went to Court.

We all won.

City races are non partisan because both the left wing
progressives & the Chamber of Commerce progressives are wary of Party politics.

You know you're a progressive..

If Party means nothing in the 2011 City elections.

WhitesCreek's picture


Anyone who can take an objective look at the Chamber of Commerce and think their programs will have any sort of positive effect on the welfare of the average person, except by accidental by product, needs to take a critical thinking class or something. The Chamber ideal resembles more the pre 1215 English feudal society than it does the Progressive ideal.

marytheprez's picture

Bill, I think the definitions are too narrow for today.

First, if by left wing, you mean Liberal, then you only partly cover what we believe.

And the Chamber of Commerce today,is as Whites Creek says, it works for Corporations in America that are driven by power and greed, meant to deny any rights of the middle class, and of course the poor.

notmarytheprez's picture


Bill Young is one of the most liberal AND progressive people in Knoxville. The longer KCDP memebers like MarythePrez continues the US vs THEM programming, the more irrelevant it will become.

bill young's picture

My thoughts

The progressive idea is rooted in the reform movements of the late 1800's & early 1900s.

The progressives were a "diverse lot" but they agreed that huge monopolies & political machines were destroying the country.

Progressives also wanted to improve working conditions for the common laborer.

The left wing progressives were radical & tended to support Third Parties.

The Populist Party.

In 1892, the Populist Party platform stated:

"We believe that the powers of government should be expanded
as rapidly & as far as the good sense of an intelligent the end that oppression, injustice, & poverty shall eventually cease in the land"

That year the Populist Party nominee for president received 8.5% of the vote & 22 electorial votes.

In 1896, William Jennings Bryan, gave his "Cross of Gold" speech at the Democratic Convention.

"You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold."

Bryan was nominated by both the Democratic Party & the Populist Party for president.

The Socialist Party.

In the early 1900's, the Socialist Party presidential nominees recieved between 3 & 6% of the vote.

The Progressive Party

Robert La Follette of Wisconsin was the 1924 Progressive Party nominee for president.La Follette was the force behind Party primaries & the direct election of US Senators.

La Follette received 16.5% of the vote & 13 Electorial votes.

In 1948, the Progressive Party nominated Henry Wallace for president.

The Green Party is todays version of the left wing progressive party.

The Populist, Socialist, Progressive & Green Partys have also nominated candidates for federal, state & local offices.

Progessives that have supported the Populist, Socialist, Progressive & Green Partys are to the left of the liberals.

And progressives were in both the Democratic & Republican Partys.

Theodore Roosevelt was a progressive Republican president.

Woodrow Wilson was a progressive Democratic president.

The Chamber of Commerce progressives, of the early 1900's, were pragmatic & tended to support intitiatives, referendum & legislation.

Pragmatist believed an "idea was true if it worked, even if it did not fit established theories."

The Chamber of Commerce progressives championed both the commission & the city manager form of local government.

The Chamber of Commerce progressive idea was popular with Knoxville voters.

The voters enacted the commission form of government, the city manager form of government & the direct election of the mayor.

The commission form of government elected commissioners to run the departments.

In 1911, Knoxville held a Charter election & the voters approved a commission form of government.

In 1912, Knoxville held a commission form of government election.

Those elected & their departments: Mayor Heiskell, public affairs; Sam Hill, finance; James Henley, public saftey; John Flenniken, public improvements; George McTeer, parks.

The city manager form of government requires the city council to appoint a city manager.

The city manager runs the day to day affairs of the city.

In March of 1923, Knoxville held a Charter election & the voters approved a city manager form of government.

In September of 1923, Knoxville held a city council election.

The city council elected a council president.That individual would also be mayor.

Ben Morton was the first council president/mayor.

As the city manager form of government evolved, it became "tradition", that the councilman-at-large who received the most votes was "elected by the council as it's presiding officer & mayor of the city."

On January 1, 1946, Cas Walker became mayor.

Betty Bean could tell the whole story.

However, the story ends with Knoxville voters amending the city charter to allow the direct election of the mayor.

In conclusion.

The progressive idea laid the groundwork that reformed our country & our city.IMO, the "diverse lot" that created the progressive idea is still alive today.

Right now, right here in Knoxville there are Chamber of Commerce pragmatic progressives.

And if one sits down & talks to the folks over at the
Chamber one may discover, though a "diverse lot", progressives of all stripes have more in common than one would think.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

State .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Monthly archive