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THE PROGRESSIVES AT THE STATE LEVEL

It was at the state level that some of the most important political work of the progressives took place. Governors Robert La Follette from Wisconsin and Hiram Johnson from California introduced reforms in their states that would allow citizens to have a more direct role in the political process. These reforms included the following:

1.  The adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment. Finally adopted in 1913, it allowed voters, instead of the state legislatures, to directly elect United States senators.

2. The adoption of the initiative process. This initiative allowed a citizen to propose a new law. If he or she got enough signatures, the proposed law would appear on the next ballot.

3. The adoption of the referendum process. Referendum allowed citizens to vote or a law that is being considered for adoption.

4. The adoption of the recall process, which allowed the voters to remove an elected official from office before his or her term is up.

5. The adoption of the direct primary, which allowed party members to vote for prospective candidates instead of having them hand-chosen by the party boss.

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