What were the objectives of the Progressives?

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The Progressives tried to accomplish many things. They saw many problems in our society and tried to correct them.

The Progressives believed too many people weren’t involved in politics. Thus, they set out to change that. The 17th Amendment allowed the people to elect our United States senators. Women got the right to vote with the 19th Amendment. People could remove elected officials from office as a result of the recall. People could even get legislation introduced in the state legislature with the initiative.

The Progressives wanted to control the actions of big business. Laws were passed to inspect the meat industry as well as to regulate the food and drug industries. The government went after businesses that formed monopolies if they did things to hurt the American people. For example, the Northern Securities Company was ordered to dissolve as a result of a Supreme Court decision. Businesses were also prevented from charging different prices to different customers.

The Progressives want to protect workers and children. Child labor laws were passed, and kids had to attend school. Worker compensation laws were passed. Laws were passed to require factories to take steps to ensure worker safety.

The Progressives wanted to correct the problems they saw in society. They wanted to level the playing field for the common person.

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What were the progressives trying to achieve?

The progressives were trying to create a society that would be run by the “native American” middle class and would uphold and enforce their values.

The progressives were suspicious of the rich.  They felt the rich abused poor workers.  They felt the rich abused the public through their monopolies.  They felt the rich abused the political process through bribing and otherwise controlling elected officials.

The progressives were suspicious of the poor.  They felt the poor had bad lifestyles.  They were especially unhappy with the fact that the poor tended to drink in bars.  They did not like the way that the poor used their votes to support urban political machines.

For these reasons, the progressives were trying to take power from the rich and poor and give it to the middle class.  The middle class, they felt, were the truly good people who would run the government well.

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