Favoring improvement, change, progress, or reform, especially in a political context; -- used of people. Contrasted with conservative.
Disposed toward adopting new methods in government or education, holding tolerant and liberal ideas, and generally favoring improvement in civic life; -- of towns and communities.
A political philosophy advocating moderate political change and social improvement by governmental action. Progressives believed that the government should ride herd on corporate interests such as railroads, insurance companies, and oil companies, and act as an advocate for ordinary people. The progressives did not want to change the basic American system of property rights and capitalism, but they did want to make the system more equitable.