The Progressive Movement targeted urban problems at the beginning of the 20th century. A number of abuses carried out by corporate owners and political leaders prompted calls for reform and municipal, state and national levels of government. President Theodore Roosevelt spearheaded those reforms at the federal level.
Some of the major social reformers associated with the Progressive Movement included Jane Addams, Margaret Sanger, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. Addams was the creator of the settlement house movement and founded Hull House to provide social programs in Chicago. Sanger founded Planned Parenthood and was a lifelong advocate of family planning. DuBois founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and urged African-Americans to pursue a liberal arts education and gain the ability to insist on equal rights and treatment.
Press members friendly to the Progressive Movement were known as "muckrakers." They went after corruption wherever they found it in order to make the public aware of the issues. Thomas Nast's political cartoons were designed to expose Tammany Hall, the political machine that ran New York City. Eventually, Boss Tweed, the leader of Tammany Hall, died in prison after an embezzlement conviction. Frank Norris wrote such works as "The Octopus," a novel about the railroad monopoly in California.