The Progressive Era was a period in which Progressives sought to re-establish the marketplace amongst poor people. In effect they would be able to consume more and elevate the "strain" of their dependency on both the progressives and elitist. Though it was evident that their plight was mainly for their own benefit it made people more aware that they could have some kind of effect on the situation surrounding them. Many unions began to form fighting for the amelioration of their working conditions. .
The main thing that they were trying to establish was a basic economic freedom and stability for the lower class society. One of the major issues fought to be improved was the economic status of women in society. Single mothers, being looked down upon for going out and working, were forced to send their children to go and work. However, laws prohibiting child labor led to the first form of child support. Women continued to lead the majority of unions during the period.
Race was integrated into arguments made by some unions in the form of referring the system of wages that they were working under, to slavery. One union leader in particular, Mary ("Mother") Jones, said, " the black man knows what liberty is" (Foner, 142). Though not a comment of malice, it illustrates the incognizant manner in which white people refer to the black man's struggle. How is it, that if low class whites cannot fully enjoy the liberties of being an American citizen, that a black man who is supposedly (at this time) below whites of any class can take pleasure in any liberties.
What started out as being an aided evolution of economic condition ended up as a basic want for freedom associated with American citizenship and innate human rights. This era not only showed that the people could accomplish goals for themselves but it also created a more unified society in America. It portrayed capitalism as an entity that could manifest itself resulting in the majority being failures and poor and the minority being rich and successful, and that the only way to regulate it is for the majority to coalesce against it.