Who were the Progressive reformers?

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In a historical sense, Progressive reformers were people who attempted, through a variety of means, to correct many of the social ills that accompanied industrial development and economic expansion around the beginning of the twentieth century. Progressives were a very diverse lot. They included national politicians such as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, state governors like John Peter Altgeld of Illinois and C.B. Aycock of North Carolina, educated social workers like Jane Addams, journalists like Ida Tarbell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and intellectuals like W.E.B. DuBois and John Dewey. These people embraced a number of causes, from the settlement house movement to labeling on food and drugs to the establishment of public education. Workplace safety measures were of particular interest to many progressives. Other progressives pushed for an end to corruption in local government and increased democracy in the form of voting rights for women and direct election of senators. On the other hand, some progressives, like Aycock and other southern politicians, also vigorously supported segregation laws, which they viewed as progressive reforms. Some others advocated for literacy tests as a means of disfranchising immigrants. So progressives believed in a wide variety of reform measures.

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