The Progressive Era is responsible for: Minimum wage laws. Worker safety laws. Restrictions on child labor. The weekend. The income tax. Women being allowed to vote. Direct elections by private ballot and popular election of Senators, which reduced the power of corporate and political machines. Improvements to public education. Huge growth of labor unions, to protect workers from abuses by management. Attempts to break up corporate monopolies.
The Progressive Era lasted from about 1890-1920. It was a reactionary movement to the increased industrialization of American cities. Many Americans (mostly immigrants) took on factory/industrial jobs during this time. Simply put, business leaders exercised a lot of power at this time since the government practiced the idea of laissez fare (government should have no involvement in the economy). This helped many businesses become more prosperous. At the same time, while businesses flourished, labor was simplified, and the influx of immigrants made workers easily replaceable. Businesses were able to pay extremely low wages and offer little to no benefits to their workers. This resulted in EXTREMELY poor living conditions (there was poor sanitation service in cities and crowded housing), and low wages forced children to neglect education and take jobs to support their family. People were unable to pursue "the American dream" or wealth. Laws regulating wages and worker conditions worked to help give people the opportunity to access wealth.