Americans had always been preoccupied with reforming their society; with “making it over,” and between the 1890s and the end of the First World War, the reform spirit intensified. More and more people tried to address the problem of their time directly, to impose order on a confusing world, and, especially, to create a ()conflict-free society. Their efforts, inspired by a complicated mixture of calculated self-interest and unselfish benevolence, helped what can be called the Progressive era. The urge for reform had many sources. Industrialization had brought unprecedented productivity, awesome technology, and plenty of consumer goods. But it had also included labor struggle, waste of natural resources, and abuse of corporate power. Rapidly growing cities facilitated the accumulation and distribution of goods, services, and cultural amenities but also magnified problems of poverty, disease, crime, and political corruption. Massive inflows of immigrants and the rise of a new class of managers and professionals shook the foundations of old social classes. And the depression that crippled the nation in the 1890s made many leading citizens realize what working people had known for some time: the central promise of American life was not being kept; equality of opportunity—whether economic, political, or social—was a myth.

  Progressives tried to resolve these problems by organizing ideas and actions around three basic themes. First, they sought to end abuses of power. Second, progressives aimed to replace corrupt power with the power of reformed institutions such as schools, charities, medical clinics, and the family. Third progressives wanted to apply principles of science and efficiency on a nationwide scale to all economic, social, and political institutions, to minimize social and economic disorder and to establish cooperation, especially between business and government, that would end wasteful competition and labor conflict.

  Befitting their name, progressives had strong faith in the ability of humankind to create a better world. More than ever before, Americans looked to government as an agent of the people that could and should intervene in social and economic relations to protect the common good and substitute public interest for self-interest.

  41. The passage is primarily concerned with .

  A. the reasons for the Progressive Movement

  B. the problems that American society faced between the 1890s and the end of World war I

  C. the causes and contents of the Progressive reform

  D. the belief that Americans possessed in their society

  42. All of the following can be inferred from the passage about the American society before the 1890s except that .

  A. there was little equal opportunity for general Americans

  B. industry developed very rapidly

  C. thousands of people immigrated to the United States

  D. economic depression did great harm to its development

  43. The author believed that the remedy for the social problems is .

  A. to stop the use of power

  B. to establish more schools and medical clinics

  C. to depend on government to make reforms

  D. to minimize the conflict between the labor and capital

  44. It can be inferred from the passage that Progressives believed that .

  A. the rate of industrial development should be reduced

  B. rapid growth of cities resulted mainly from the massive immigration

  C. human beings are able to do anything well

  D. government tended to protect the businesses rather than the masses

  45. It can be concluded from the passage that the spirit of the progressive movement is the spirit.

  A. to end political corruption

  B. to minimize social and economic disorder

  C. to promote free competition

  D. to reform all the social evils and problems