Why did Progressives want government to "bust the trusts”?
The very nature of the 19th Century trusts worked heavily against both the consumer and the worker.
During the 19th Century certain large industries entered into negotiations where they would set out territories and prices which would minimize competition and maximize their profits. The railroads, textile mills, steel mills, oil companies and the new and highly profitable streetcar systems.
In 1890, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act put an end to most such practices. Even so, certain industries, textile chief among them, lobbied congress for protective tariffs in an effort to exclude foreign interests. The old trusts still existed in that form after 1890. Today we call the PACs but it amounts to the same thing.