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Progressive is a term often used by those on the political left in the United States to describe their beliefs. This term is preferred by many over the more traditional label in American politics, liberal, because of the frequent association of 'liberal' with the centrist politics of many Democratic Party politicians (such as Al Gore) in recent years. The term "progressive" is thus used to avoid confusion between centrist and genuinely left-wing views.

The term has its origin in American politics in the early part of the twentieth century. During this period, known as the Progressive Era, many reforms were enacted. Some third-party presidential candidates ran for office during this time under the Progressive Pary label, notably Robert LaFollette.