Reforming America
A Thematic Encyclopedia and Document Collection of the Progressive Era
by Jeffrey A. Johnson, Editor
March 2017, 824pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3720-3
$218, £168, 190€, A299
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3721-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

At the end of the 19th century, the United States faced great divides regarding wealth inequity, race relations, and corruption—not unlike today.

Presenting a detailed look at the individuals, themes, and moments that shaped this important Progressive Era in American history, this valuable reference spans 25 years of reform and provides multidisciplinary insights into the period.

During the Progressive Era, influential thinkers and activists made efforts to improve U.S. society through reforms, both legislative and social, on issues of the day such as working conditions of laborers, business monopolies, political corruption, and vast concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few. Many Progressives hoped for and tirelessly worked toward a day when all Americans could take full advantage of the economic and social opportunities promised by U.S. society.

This two-volume work traces the issues, events, and individuals of the Progressive Era from approximately 1893 to 1920. The entries and primary sources in this set are grouped thematically and cover a broad range of topics regarding reform and innovation across the period, with special attention paid to important topics of race, class, and gender reform and reformers. The volumes are helpfully organized under five categories: work and economic life; social and political life; cultural and religious life; science, literature, and the arts; and sports and popular culture.


  • Offers more than 200 entries on the most significant people, places, themes, and moments of the era in one collected two-volume work
  • Presents authoritative information by scholars and specialists in the period
  • Enables readers to gain a sense of the times through an understanding of the problems, viewpoints, and approaches that dominated the day
Jeffrey A. Johnson, PhD, is associate professor of history and director of American Studies at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he teaches courses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, labor history, and the American West. He is the author of They Are All Red Out Here: Socialist Politics in the Pacific Northwest, 1895–1925. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.


"Reforming America would be a fine addition to libraries that serve advanced high school students and college students."—Booklist, June 1, 2017

"This two-volume work includes well-researched, multiple-page, signed entries on a wide range of topics accessible to diverse audiences. Entries provide enough context to serve as an introduction for novices yet include enough depth and reference to other research to satisfy more sophisticated investigators; sources generally include both classic and up-to-date works. . . . It ends with a useful bibliographic essay, which offers interested readers many good choices and an excellent place from which to start on their research. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels."—Choice, October 1, 2017

"Overall, this title succeeds in surfacing new topics for student researchers and presents helpful avenues to further inquiry. . . . A useful tool for undergraduate students exploring American history at an introductory level."—Library Journal, June 15, 2017

"Reforming America is a workmanlike addition to the reference shelves and a handy source for students."—Reference Reviews, June 19, 2018
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