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progressive movement


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(US) (1890–1914)

A US movement that sought to provide the basic political, social, and economic reforms necessary for the developing industrial economy. In both the Republican and Democratic parties Progressives were distinguished by a commitment to popular government, free trade, and control of competition-stifling trusts. To secure these ends they advocated direct primary elections for the nomination of candidates, the popular election of Senators (secured in 1913), and anti-trust laws. Social reforms were also demanded, for example legislation improving conditions of employment, and Prohibition attracted much support. Under Progressive pressure, government extended its activity at municipal, state, and federal levels in the pursuit of equality, efficiency, and social harmony. In different ways, progressive policies were adapted by the Republican Theodore Roosevelt and the Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Subjects: Social sciencesPolitics


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