The movement drew its ideas and inspiration from the writings of Thomas Jefferson and reform groups that had attracted some attention in the nineteenth 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 Progressive reforms, the basic objectives were that they wanted to destroy the monopolistic power of major companies and banks in America; they wanted more representative government at all political levels in local, state, and national government, they wanted an active government that would have to 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, a graduated income tax that would fall hardest on the wealthy, and least on the poor, and more.
The Gilded age was a period that spanned the 1870s through the twentieth century. The term was created Mark Twain. It was a time of economic growth and attracted millions of immigrants from Europe. Railroads and mining were the major industry. There were two major depressions that interrupted growth at the time, the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893. The south’s economy became tied to cotton and tobacco production. Reformers fought against child labor and for the eight hour working day, civil service reform, prohibition, and women’s suffrage. The Gilded age was the cause to start