Primary source 1
Business knows no pity, and cares for justice only when justice is seen to be better policy. If it had power to control the elements, it would grasp in its iron clutches the waters, sunshine and air and resell them by measure, and at exorbitant prices to the millions of famished men, women and children.—W.A. Duncan, in the Cherokee Advocate, 1892
Its pretty much saying that if the government had control of the big businesses, they would actually do something about it but they cant. It is significant because its right in the beginning of the progressive era. W.A. Duncan is a journalist and really knows what is going on. He should be classified as a muckraker. It fits the timeline because it affected everyone in the United States because the government cant regulate anything by the businesses.
Primary source 2
Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress and touches even the ermine of the bench. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty.— National platform of the Populist Party, 1892
This quote means that the big businesses are endangering the economy of the American people. It was said by the Populist Party which is actually controlled by farmers and they now see what the monopolies are doing to them. They cant afford the high price that the railroad companies are charging them to transport lumber or other goods that the people need. It also fits in the timeline we are learning about because the Progressive era just started in 1890. Farmers couldn't make a living without the government regulating railroad prices.