The Progressive Era was a period of social activism and political reform in the United States that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was eliminating corruption in government by exposing and undercutting political machines and their bosses and establishing further means of direct democracy. Progressives also sought regulation of monopolistic trust corporations through antitrust laws, which were seen as a means to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers.
Many (but not all) Progressives supported Prohibition in the United States in order to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons. At the same time, women's suffrage was promoted to bring a "purer" female vote into the arena. A second theme was building an Efficiency Movement in every sector that could identify old ways that needed modernizing, and bring to bear scientific, medical and engineering solutions; a key part of the efficiency movement was scientific management, or "Taylorism".
Many activists joined efforts to reform local government, public education, medicine, finance, insurance, industry, railroads, churches, and many other areas. Progressives transformed, professionalized and made "scientific" the social sciences, especially history, economics, and political science. In academic fields the day of the amateur author gave way to the research professor who published in the new scholarly journals and presses. The national political leaders included Theodore Roosevelt, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and Charles Evans Hughes on the Republican side, and William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson and Al Smith on the Democratic side.
Initially the movement operated chiefly at local levels; later it expanded to state and national levels. Progressives drew support from the middle class, and supporters included many lawyers, teachers, physicians, ministers and business people. The Progressives strongly supported scientific methods as applied to economics, government, industry, finance, medicine, schooling, theology, education, and even the family. They closely followed advances underway at the time in Western Europe and adopted numerous policies, such as a major transformation of the banking system by creating the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Reformers felt that old-fashioned ways meant waste and inefficiency, and eagerly sought out the "one best system".
American History USA Articles
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The most sordid of Chicago's wards at the turn of the 20th century was the First Ward on the near South Side. At the head of this infamy rested two men known as Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John.
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The actions of Teddy Roosevelt in the Coal Strike of 1902 set a new tone in labor-government relations. This became a centerpiece of Roosevelt's progressive reputation in the coming years
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