Political and economic reform came around 1900 with the national rise of the Progressive movement, dedicated to curbing abuses by governments and industry and to improving life for workers, immigrants, the poor, and other groups. Led in New Jersey by Mark Fagan, Everett Colby, and George L. Record, Progressives broke the power of the Democratic Party bosses, Robert Davis in Jersey City and James Smith, Jr., in Essex County, and paved the way for the election of Woodrow Wilson as governor in 1910.
Wilson, who had been president of Princeton University, embarked on a program of reform aimed at regulating the big corporations and eliminating abuses by the political machines.
In his two years as governor, Wilson secured laws to regulate political campaigns and utility rates, to provide compensation for injured workers, and to require factory inspections, in order to restrict the illegal employment of women and children. He brought about direct primaries and new forms of election in cities and towns to loosen the hold of political bosses in both parties. Wilson was also responsible for the antitrust laws known as the Seven Sisters Acts, which were passed shortly after he became president of the United States in 1913. "New Jersey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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