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Progressive Movement

The Progressive Movement came about during the 1890’s, and lasted until the 1920’s, to enact social and political reforms throughout the United States. The agenda of this movement was to destroy the issues created by:


This involved targeting political groups and their authoritative bosses known as political machines. Taking down these groups would further establish the progressives goal of creating a more direct democracy in America.

Major figures that participated in the progressive movement were political leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Al Smith and Charles Evans Hughs. Influential women like Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Jane Addams were also major players during the progressive era.

Trust busting was another action point of the progressive movement. Activists sought to regulate big corporations and monopolies by enacting antitrust laws. The purpose of these laws was to encourage equal competition among other business competitors. Progressives supported the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s. The motivation was in part for religious reasons, but ultimately was done to dismantle political influence acquired by saloon bosses.

Progressivism garnered support from middle class supporters and activists. Many teachers, ministers, lawyers, and business men got involved in the progressive movement. In the beginning, the influence held by progressivism only spanned on a local level, but it eventually grew to influence state and national levels.

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