Progressive reformers had various goals at the state and local level. These reformers believed there were problems in society that needed fixing. For the most part, progressive reformers were middle class professionals including writers, teachers, and politicians.
The reformers at the state and local level were very concerned about the corruption in politics and how the average person was shut out of the political process. They believed average citizens should have the right to introduce legislation into government if their elected officials won’t do it for them. This is called the initiative.
They also believed the average citizen should have the right to vote on issues that effect them. This is known as the referendum. By having an advisory referendum, the elected officials will know how the voters feel about an issue. By having a binding referendum, elected officials will allow the voters to decide the issue.
Progressive reformers believed voters should have the ability to remove an elected official before the term is up if the elected official was not doing the job properly. This is known as the recall. This doesn’t mean that because somebody doesn’t like one vote an elected official makes or one stand the elected official takes on an issue that they should be removed. This concept is for repeated actions by an elected official that does not represent the people the elected official is supposed to represent.
Progressive reformers at the local level were concerned the city government was not responding well to the needs of the people. Thus they proposed new plans of city government such as the commission plan of government.
Progressive reformers shared concerns that national reformers had on subjects like child labor, big business, and consumer protection. They understood some of these changes needed to be made at the national level to be more effective.
Progressive reformers were active at all levels in the early 1900s.