What ideas enabled progressives to extend opportunities to all citizens?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary idea that enabled Progressives to extend opportunities to all was the notion that power comes from the bottom up.  Progressive thinkers were really animated by the idea that power can be seen as something that emerges from the smallest aspect of society and radiate through it.  They were not thinkers that believed that power needed to be consolidated in the hands of the few, or the select.  In this, the progressive thinkers believed that power could be shared and distributed equally and as thoroughly as power.  This idea helped to bring forth the idea that all citizens could have a part in the political process.  This translated into extending political and social opportunities to women, people of color, as well as those who were economically challenged.  It is here where the Progressive idea of wealth sharing and reconfiguring political power to include more voices in the discourse helped to mark it asd a significant reform movement.  In doing so, the Progressives made their movement distinctive as one that sought to include more voices, towards a more equal vision and away from one that believed that power should rest with an elite few.