The Progressive Movement (1900-1920) was basically a reform movement. The movement drew its ideals and inspiration from the writings of Thomas Jefferson and reform groups that had attracted some attention in the 19th Century. The progressives were successful in part because they were able to rally the better part of a generation to their ideas about reform. While not all progressives supported all progressive reforms, the basic objectives of the movement included the following: Destruction of the monopolistic power of the major corporations and banks in America. More representative government at all political levels in local, state, and national government. An active government that would take the initiative in reform. The right of labor to organize and secure a decent salary and safe working conditions. More economic and political rights for women. Regulation of child labor. The direct election of United States Senators. A graduated income tax that would fall hardest on the wealthy and least on the poor. Enactment of the initiative, referendum, and recall. Reform of city government Nationalization of railroads and banks. Government owned and operated local utilities. Consumer protection laws to prevent the sale of unsafe food and drugs. Progressives were found in all levels of society including the ranks of the very wealthy, the very poor, the middle class, and minority groups. Progressives were politicians, businessmen, workers, artists, and professionals. The progressive agenda was not an attempt to gain equality for all races and individuals in society. While minorities were represented among the leadership, most progressives were white, anglo-saxon protestants (WASPs), whose American roots were established by many generations.
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