The Progressive Era was the time roughly between the mid- to late 1800s and the early1920s, a time of great distinction for its reform movements and scientific endeavors to make life better. "The progressives", the people from which this era got his name, strove to make life in the U.S. better, as well as to make the rest of the world a safer place for democracy. Within the U.S., George Westinghouse invented the airbrake in 1869, Standard Oil Company was formed in 1870, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876 and Thomas Edison invented the electric light in 1879. This period was not only one featuring great scientific inventions, but also for societies that stood up for the underprivileged, like the North American Women's Suffrage Association, also known as NAWSA, founded in 1890 to ease the injustices of women by battling for their rights.
As more and more people adopted the cause of the Progressives, people began to realize that things could be changed by rallies and protests. The result was a number of strikes, mostly demanding workers' rights, sweeping across the U.S., which were sometimes peaceful, oftentimes not: In 1892 there was the Homestead Strike, a bloody miners' mob strike started because of displeasure at working conditions and disagreement over issues in Homestead, PA. The result was a battle that could have equaled any during the Civil War. Still, for the most part, rallies like this succeeded in obtaining part of, if not all their goals.
Yet this spirit of reform was too strong to be limited only to the U.S. It would also take a decided toll on foreign relations: In 1917, the U.S. allied with England and France, both democratic countries, in their war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. This spirit diminished, however, soon after the war, as many adapted an isolationist attitude concerning the rest of the world.