The goals of the Progressive Movement were to try to and solve problems within the American society that had evolved during the industrial growth that happened in the latter part of the 19th century, including fighting for the rights of the lower classes. The country had become prosperous and strong businesses developed; however, there was a large disparity between the wealthy and the poor. The Progressive Movement wanted to bring equality to the nation.
Progressivism rejected the church as the driving force for change and also rejected the position of Social Darwinism that many of the rich and powerful embraced. There were many specific goals that the movement aimed for, including removing corruption and undue influence from the government, to include more people directly into the political process and to enforce the government to play a role in solving the many social issues while bringing fairness into economic matters.
The Progressive Movement happened during the second reform era. The first reform era occurred during the years before the Civil War erupted and involved reform for working conditions, the humanization of the mentally ill and prisoners and the abolishing of slavery. The second reform era lasted until the start of World War I and fought for the rights of women as well as those in rural areas who felt that they were of a declining importance compared to urbanized areas.