Following a tumultuous struggle for the duration of the tragic period in United States history known as Reconstruction, the Progressive Era commenced. This was a period in which industry flourished, and the citizens of the middle class began becoming more involved in their government. The main goals of the Progressives, as they were called, were to improve the quality of life and the standard of living, to get people more involved in democracy, to change societal problems which were desperately needed, and for the government to correct social and economic reforms. To say that, "The Progressive movement resulted in a series of lasting reforms and influenced U.S. government for much of the 20th century- is an accurate statement. Some of the contributors to the Progressive movement included the middle class, the muckrakers, the philosophy of pragmatism, scientific management, and presidential leadership.
As a result of industrialization, there was an abundance of unemployment and labor unrest, a wasteful use of natural resources, and abuses of corporate power. In a relatively short time span, America transformed from a homogeneous, rural people made up of independent farmers to an industrialized, melting pot of many diverse ethnicities. The whole mentality of the Progressive Era, despite the diversity within the different groups, was the common interest of improving life in the industrial age. The Progressives wanted to build on the existing society. With the exclusion of this common goal, the Progressives couldn't agree on the ills of society, and therefore, were never completely united.
The contributions of the middle class to the Progressive movement were great. The Progressives were mostly made up of middle class citizens. "As the middle class expanded, so did adherents of the Progressive movement. The old, traditional middle class (doctors, lawyers, teachers) added a new element from rising industry.