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The term refers to a broad school of social and political philosophy that supports social justice and the advancement of workers' rights. The term was first used in reference to a widely based reform movement in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following the Civil War, this period was marked by widespread industrialization, the rapid expansion of cities, the completion of a national rail system, and the multiplication of the factory system.

Rampant growth of cities and industry created problems. Markedly, a large portion of the nation's wealth came under the control of a small number of people. Simultaneously, an increasing number of people fell into poverty, and workers faced gruelingly long hours of work, hazardous conditions, and poor pay. Progressive ...

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