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Transcript of Muckrakers Presentation
Cassandra Gonzalez The Muckrakers Roosevelt compared investigative journalists to the muckraker in John Bunyan’s book “Pilgrim’s Progress” "In Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'
you may recall the description of
the Man with the Muck Rake,
the man who could look no way but downward,with the muck rake in his hand;
who was offered a celestial crown for his muck rake,but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered,
but continued to rake to himself
the filth of the floor."
- Theodore Roosevelt 'Muckraker' is a term
first coined by
President Theodore Roosevelt in a speech delivered on
April 14, 1906. "In 'Pilgrim's Progress' the Man with the Muck Rake
is set forth as the example of him
whose vision is fixed on carnal instead of spiritual things.
Yet he also typifies the man who in this life
consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty,
and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness
only on that which is vile and debasing."
-Theodore Roosevelt In the late 1800s and early 1900s,
these investigative journalists, or "Muckrakers,"
shined light on the horrors of poverty, urban slums,
dangerous factory conditions, and child labor
as well as other social issues. Fires destroyed many buildings which were mainly made out of wood
Diseases ran rampant through poor neighborhoods with inadequate sanitation and sewage disposal
Industrial waste threatened waterways and drinking water
Air quality suffered from burning of stoves and furnaces
Poverty and crowding promoted violence; murder rates soared Alarmed by increase of political corruption, muckrakers argued that political parties were tools of special interests rather than means of majority rule. They criticized “urban bosses” such as John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil. Muckrakers: Who were they? Journalists; authors; critics
Emerged late 1800s, early 1900s
Thoroughly investigated societal, economic, and political issues Muckrakers probed every aspect of American life. Wrote about slums child labor unsanitary food conditions sweatshops banks
trusts What was their platform? On the fringe of journalism Sometimes accused of being socialist Believed strongly in exposing the corruption in wealthy business and government Worked to reform
society, economics, morals, and politics of the US--
goals that spawned from the Progressive Movement. The Progressive Movement Muckrakers were
"the voice of the Progressive Movement" Champions of the Progressive Movement looked to reform and improve society after the industrial growth spurt of the late 1800s Three goals of the
1. Advocate moral improvement
2. Support economic reform
3. Advance social welfare The muckrakers shed light on the horrors of poverty, urban slums, dangerous working conditions, and child labor, as well as many other societal issues. Alarmed by increase of political corruption, muckrakers argued that political parties were tools of special interests rather than means of majority rule. They criticized big business owners such as John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil. Standard Oil He's loaded Rockefeller Investigations Meat Scandal Muck Three goals of the Muckrakers:
1. Expose political corruption and
reform the U.S. political structure
2. Reform the U.S. economy
3. Improve the morals and behavior
of American society Helped reform politics Ida Tarbell
Reformed U.S.economic practices (also had great hats) Wrote shocking article for McClure's Magazine entitled "The History of the Standard Oil Company" about Rockefeller's oil giant Article shook many, because Rockefeller was generally held in high regard Tarbell outlined the "cut-throat business practices" that helped Rockefeller rise to power (In fact, Rockefeller had driven her father out of business. Revenge much?) Upton Sinclair Helped to reform economic practices Wrote "The Jungle," detailing workers in the Chicago meatpacking industry who sacrificed their limbs and lives
while working in horrendous conditions Uncovered the contents of the products sold to the public: – “Spoiled meat was covered with chemicals to hide the smell. Skin, hair, stomach, ears, and nose were ground up and packaged as head cheese. Rats climbed over warehouse meat, leaving piles of excrement behind.”
- "The Jungle" Nellie Bly Wrote under-cover exposé of Bellevue Mental Hospital David Graham Phillips (Also had great hats.) Wrote "Treason of the Senate," an exposé of corruption in the U.S. Senate This exposé led President Roosevelt to condemn the muckrakers (and label them) in the speech previously discussed President Roosevelt was initially very supportive of the muckrakers' work (until they attacked his administration...then he wasn't such a big fan.) In response to the muckrakers' work and the public's demand for reform,
Roosevelt's administration implemented many of the standard practices we take for granted today As a result of the muckraking and the Progressive Movement,the U.S. passed laws regulating:
(The reforms and laws were sometimes called "enlightened self-interest," meaning that the government and big businesses agreed to clean up their acts in order to stay afloat... It wasn't because they truly cared.) Before the muckrakers started their investigations, advertisements were not nearly as important as they are today The field of public relations didn't even exist. As muckrakers began to expose abuses in big business, it became necessary for companies to protect their names Modern Day Muckraking Despite early criticism, advocates of the muckrakers' style still exist ...Ew As a result of Sinclair's work,
Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act
and the Meat Inspection Act Some of these acts include:
The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906/1911)
The Meat Inspection Act (1906)
Federal Trade Act (1914)
Clayton Anti-trust Act (1914)
Published articles in McClure's Magazine exposing political corruption in local government Called out city officials who had been making deals with big businesses to stay in power Published entire collection of McClure's articles in a book entitled "The Shame of the Cities" Led to the investigation of state politicians The Rakers of the Muck: Big Red Whistle posts on Twitter and even has a muckraker iPhone app! Like modern journalists, the muckrakers
were fiercely loyal to the public and to the truth However, their standards allowed for intense investigations that included deception; these practices would rarely be used today. Many news stations and programs make it their goal to discover the truth, no matter how difficult. "60 Minutes," for example