The Journalistic Detectives of the Early 20th Century Views on several muckrakers throughout the 20th Century

The Journalistic Detectives of the Early 20th Century Views on several muckrakers throughout the 20th Century

Length: 1479 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Second Industrial Revolution brought about many changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While there was much prosperity, it was unequally distributed among the lower, middle, and upper classes. Although the inequality was apparent, the national government deliberately chose to take a laissez-faire stand, thus allowing big businesses to flourish but at the expense of the people. Free to do as they pleased, businesses engaged in unfair, immoral business practices not only on their competitors but also their employees and consumers. To combat this oppressive state, Americans, concerned with the welfare of the people, spoke out about these problems and encouraged reform, raising awareness through their writing. These people were known as "muckrakers," a term coined by President Theodore Roosevelt. They "raked" through the "muck" in order to expose society and corruption. Some even called these muckrakers, David, in reference to the Biblical story of David and Goliath, striking down the Goliaths (or corruptions) of society. Because society (then) revered muckrakers as great heroes, it was easy to ignore the muckraker's flaws. However, it is important to analyze the muckrakers from a more critical standpoint as well as a celebratory view in order to get a more accurate understanding of their consequential impact.
In the early 20th century, Ida Tarbell's attack on Standard Oil was seen as a great accomplishment, but the attack itself is questionable due to Tarbell's biases and accuracy. Ida M. Tarbell, "Lady Muckraker," was one of the greatest muckrakers of the early 20th century. Born in 1857, she lived her childhood in an oil boomtown. Her father, Franklin Tarbell, made his fortune off of oil. Tarbell knew and understoo...

... middle of paper ...

...of the Progressive Era.

Works Cited

Olien, Diana Davids, and Roger M. Olien. "Why Big Bad Oil?" Organization of American
Historians (OAH) Magazine of History 11, no 1(1996):22-27,

Randolph, Josephine D. " A Notable Pennsylvanian: Ida Minerva Tarbell, 1857-
1944," Pennsylvania History 66, no. 2(1999):215-241.

Reed, Lawrence W. "How a Food Safety Myth Became a Legend." Consumers'
Research Magazine, February 1995.

Regier, Cornelius C. The Era of the Muckrakers. The University of North Carolina Press,

Streitmatter, Rodger. Mightier than the Sword. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997.

Young, James Harvey. "Food and Drug Regulation under the USDA, 1906-1940),
Agricultural History Society 64, no. 2(1990):134-142.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »