Though the Progressive Movement began in the early 1890s, it soared to a new level in 1901 with the new president, Theodore Roosevelt .
Theodore Roosevelt
Progressivism was based on middle class America. It changed the focus from the rich business owners to the “average Joe”. Progressivism was at its height throughout the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson’s first term. Because of the stability of the surrounding nations, the United States was able to focus its reform internally. World War I thwarted this in 1917, which turned the focus back on foreign affairs. The Progressive movement was successful die to the new regulatory laws that were set in place by Congress and various state legislatures.

Attitudes and Motives
Progressivism began with the movement from a largely agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse. The widening gap between the rich and the poor, the conflicts between labor and capital, and the political machines, all worried the middle-class. Racism, especially in the South, was continuing to grow and create a hostile, unsafe environment for African Americans. Women’s movements began to take shape calling for suffrage.
Why Progressivism?

Who Were They?
Groups such as Protestants, African Americans, and feminists were all active in the movement. It was evident that with this many people unhappy, there were societal problems that needed to be fixed.
Unlike the Populists of the 1890s, people participating in the Progressive movement were middle-class residents of U.S. cities. The majority of the middle-class was made up of doctors, lawyers, ministers, and storekeepers, along with other white-collar office workers. They were concerned with what might happen to American democracy from the poverty of the poor, the wealth of the rich, corrupt government, and loss of morals among the population.
Protestants: taught a code of social responsibility, which called for caring for the poor and insisting on honesty. The Social Gospel recorded their feelings about the poverty in cities.
Political candidates: Theodore Roosevelt (Republican), Robert La Follette (Republican), William Jennings Bryan (Democrat), and Woodrow Wilson (Democrat).

Philosophyexternal image charles-darwin-the-origin-of-species.jpg
The Progressives were committed to democratic values and believed in an honest government and just laws, two things America, at the time, lacked. Charles Darwin , in Origin of Species, talked about evolution. It challenged the way people thought and reasoned, and transcendentalism changed to pragmatism, which was advocated by William Jennings and John Dewey. They believed that people should view morals, ideals, and knowledge practically; they should experiment until they find something
that seems to work well with society. Pragmatism enabled them to challenge ideas that challenged reform. They rejected laissez-faire and the old idea of rugged individualism did not seem viable in a modern society dominated by impersonal corporations.

Scientific Management
The practical studies of Frederick W. Taylor also became very popular among the Progressives. Taylor discovered that by using a stopwatch to time the output of factory workers, he could organize people in the most efficient way. Progressives believed that government
could be made more efficient if placed in the hands of experts and scientific managers. They also objected to the corruption of political bosses partly because it was antidemocratic and partly because it was an inefficient way to run things.