In the 1890s, once-heavily courted corporations had become, in the eyes of many, outside "money interests" or "beasts" that exploited the wealth of the sparsely settled area. Arizona's anticorporate reformers condemned the giant corporations for mistreating workers, farmers, ranchers, and small-business people and for corrupting the political system. During a thirty-year struggle, Arizona reformers called for changes to ward off corporate control of the political system, increase corporate taxation and regulation, and protect and promote the interests of working people.
Led by George W.P. Hunt and progressive Democrats, Arizona's brand of Progressivism was heavily influenced by organized labor, third parties, and Socialist activists. As highly powerful railroad and mining corporations retaliated, conflict took place on both political levels and industrial backgrounds, sometimes in violent form.
Politics, Labor and the War on Big Business places Arizona's experience in the larger historical discussion of reform activity of the period, considering issues involving the role of government in the economy and the possibility of reform, topics highly relevant to current debates.