Who were the "progressives" in terms of American History, from the early 1900's?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "Progressives" were politicians, citizens, organizers, and ordinary citizens who were part of a huge way of reform that occured during the end of the so-called Gilded Age of American history.

Progressives generally sought to reform or fix some failure they saw, predominatly social in nature. Although they themselves didn't usually identify with the label at the time, they have since been grouped because of the causes they championed.

Their rise to prominance is usually attributed to the rise of industrialits and tycoons that occured during the Gilded Age (1890-1910) as it was called. They sought to try and combat the "dark side" of this economic shift by bringing to light the social and environmental after effects of mass industrialization in incorperation. Some of the most famous include;

- John Muir: brought attention to threatened areas of wilderness and helped for the American National Park service.

- Upton Sinclair: author who brought attention to the horrible conditions in the meat packing industry with his book "The Jungle" Helped pass laws that monitored purity of food, water and drugs.

- Theodore Roosevelt: politician who was well known for his efforts to "bust trusts" or break up industrial monopolies. He eventually went on to the presidency.

- Uriah Stephans: labor leader who helped found The Knights of Labor, a powerful labor union that fought for wage increases and  beter working conditions.