The Progressive Movement stemmed from a a coalition of farmers and laborers in the 1870’s that industrialization, laissez-faire policies and the growing power of big business were taking the country down a potentially destructive path. To men of industry, these calls for reform were misguided since industrialization had given American an unprecedented level of wealth and generally high quality of life.
Progressives argued that while industrial advances were beneficial, there were serious social issues that had to be addressed. Some of their successes were breaking up trusts and monopolies such as the railroad and oil trusts. They also successes in political reforms, such as the institution of direct primaries in elections. Child labor laws were instituted for the first time along with reduced work hours and improved safety conditions in many factories and mines. Environmental protection was expanded and the first public lands were set aside as National Parks. The NAACP and other groups pushed for early Civil Rights for African-Americans. Women were finally granted suffrage after years of tireless lobbying. Public health laws about regarding food, water and drugs were put into place. These were just some of the successes that the Progressive Movement won.