The Knights were led by Terence V. Powderly. Under his leadership, the Knights grew rapidly, peaking at 730,000 members in 1886. The Knights grew rapidly because of their open-membership policy, the continuing industrialization of the American economy, and the growth of urban population. The Knights welcomed unskilled and semiskilled workers, including women, immigrants, and African Americans. The Knights were idealists who believed they could eliminate conflict between labor and management. Their goal was to create a cooperative society in which laborers, not capitalists, owned the industries in which they worked.