The reform movement mainly began in the first two decades of the 20th century through which Americans put great effort to deal with with many economic, cultural and social changes. Progressives held opposing views in their opinion of the country's problems and how to find solutions to these problems. However, all progressives agreed on the need for government involvement in pursuing effective reforms. They gave support to legislation which gave the state power to control monopolistic businesses which had dominated the US economy in the wake of corporate capitalism as well as legislation which would bring an end to the host of inequities which materialized from unprecedented and rapid social and economic changes.
Socially, change occurred affecting all American citizens by empowering and protecting all citizens. The progressives fueled reforms and change in the nation: such reforms at the federal levels included the creation of tax on income in accordance with the Sixteenth Amendment, the Seventeenth Amendment led to direct appointment of senators, the Eighteenth Amendment was removed, and women's suffrage was enacted and implemented after the Nineteenth Amendment was made. This law caused massive changes in social structures of communities and gave citizens the right to be heard, prior to this, many citizens suffered under the elite political class.
The progressive movement also caused massive changes in the US economy. Government regulation of trade and commerce became more prevalent to promote free enterprise and competition. Railroads became heavily regulated through the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act, as well as the enactment of the Sherman Act which prevented the occurrence of monopolies and cartels. The Food and Drug Administration was created in order to promote and protect public health and regulate products manufacture by pharmaceutical companies as well as consumer goods.
Economic changes that were brought about by the progressive movement were greatly enhanced by the resolution of disputes over antitrust and business tariffs. The creation of the Federal Reserve is a perfect example of the economic reforms caused by the progressive movement, not forgetting the multifaceted government-business partnership that resulted.
The progressives also facilitated the avid modernization of many states through their support in science and technology. They believed that many problems facing the society could be solved through investing in science and technology to solve social weaknesses. One distinct characteristic of progressivism was the constructive approach toward urban-manufacturing civilization, in order to advance the environment of every citizen.