The Progressive Era



The Progressive Era

What do Lincoln Steffens, Ida M. Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Alice Paul and Samuel Hopkins Adams all have in common? All five contributed to exposing the truth behind the progressive era’s corrupt politics and social injustice. They were an elite group known by society as muckrakers. Journalists who in the twentieth century dared to challenge the evils of business, life and government and unearth them to the middle class. Unafraid of these powers their articles appeared in many reform newspapers and magazines, especially McClure’s. Together and solo they attacked corporate abuses, city government, working conditions and many other heated issues. Each specializing and taking interest in his or her unaccompanied battle.

For instance, Ida M. Tarbell, a writer and editor of a handful of publications took it upon herself to tackle the Standard Oil Company. She described their methods of eliminating other competitive businesses as cutthroat. Publishing two volumes on her nemesis’ history in 1904, examining the corporation’s dominating trusts and intriguing strategies. Lincoln Steffens, also a writer, was responsible for the ingenious and very famous articles Shame of the Cities (1904), The Struggle for Self-Government (1906) and Upbuilders (1909). Steffens pieces were instantly successes and helped gain support for reform. Both journalist and author, Samuel Hopkins Adams, preached on the hidden secrets behind the scrupulous patent-medicine industry. Fearless, he also confronted President Warren G. Harding and the sins of his leadership, in his 1926 novel Revelry.

In the twentieth century it was rare for a common middle-class society member to stand up for what they believed. The people you have just read about were an influential few. Not only did they protest for themselves, but for all hardworking, trusting, right deserving Americans. They contributed to reforming a time of strict faiths and powerful commanders, never looking back.





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