Social and political reform marked the Progressive Era, the period from around the turn of the 20th century to World War I. Rising out of a growing awareness of the Gilded Age's abuses and the continuing growth of trusts, Progressivism permeated all levels of American life. The birth of the People's Party (Populists) in 1892 provided an alternative to the two standing political parties; in time, Populist tenets became part of both Democratic and Republican platforms. An extension of U.S. power overseas accompanied reform at home. America annexed Hawaii, acquired further territory following the Spanish-American War, and formally added the Panama Canal Zone. American forces moved frequently on a wider stage.
Congress both reacted to and assisted in the dual impulses of domestic reform and overseas expansion. Conservative forces in both the Democratic and Republican parties dampened some of the reformers' fervor. Nonetheless, the reform tide rolled on with the enactment of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906); the Sixteenth (income tax) and Seventeenth (direct election of U.S. senators) Amendments (1913); Federal Reserve Act (1913); Clayton Anti-trust Act (1914); Federal Trade Commission Act (1914); Child Labor Act (1916); Federal Farm Loan Act (1916); and the Eighteenth (Prohibition) Amendment (1919).