muckraker


muckraker

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n
any of a group of US writers in the early 1900s who wrote criticizing aspects of US life, such as dishonest behaviour in business and government, companies making children work long hours, and unfair treatment of black people. President Theodore Roosevelt gave them the name ‘muckrakers’ in 1906, suggesting that they were only interested in finding bad things to write about. However, their work increased public knowledge and led to a lot of social changes. One example of a muckraker was Upton Sinclair, whose book The Jungle (1906) led to the US Pure Food and Drug Act.

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Any of a group of U.S. writers identified with pre-World War I reform and exposé literature.

The term, first used derisively, originated in an allusion Theodore Roosevelt made in 1906 to a passage in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress about a man with a muckrake who "could look no way but downward." Later it took on favourable connotations of social concern and exposure of corruption and injustice. The movement emerged from the yellow journalism of the 1890s and from popular magazines, such as a 1903 issue of McClure's Magazine with articles by Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946), and Ida Tarbell on municipal government, labour, and trusts. The best-known muckraking novel is Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906).

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      any of a group of American writers, identified with pre-World War I reform and exposé literature. The muckrakers provided detailed, accurate journalistic accounts (journalism) of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business in a rapidly industrializing United States. The name muckraker was pejorative when used by President Theodore Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Theodore) in his speech of April 14, 1906; he borrowed a passage from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, which referred to “the Man with the Muckrake . . . who could look no way but downward.” But “muckraker” also came to take on favourable connotations of social concern and courageous exposition.

      The muckrakers' work grew out of the yellow journalism of the 1890s, which whetted the public appetite for news arrestingly presented, and out of popular magazines, especially those established by S.S. McClure, Frank A. Munsey, and Peter F. Collier. The emergence of muckraking was heralded in the January 1903 issue of McClure's Magazine by articles on municipal government, labour, and trusts, written by Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and Ida M. Tarbell.

      The intense public interest aroused by articles critical of political corruption, industrial monopolies, and fraudulent business practices rallied journalists, novelists, and reformers of all sorts to sharpen their criticism of American society. Charles Edward Russell led the reform writers with exposés ranging from The Greatest Trust in the World (1905) to The Uprising of the Many (1907), the latter reporting methods being tried to extend democracy in other countries. Lincoln Steffens (Steffens, Lincoln) wrote on corrupt city and state politics in The Shame of the Cities (1904). Brand Whitlock, who wrote The Turn of the Balance (1907), a novel opposing capital punishment, was also a reform mayor of Toledo, Ohio. Thomas W. Lawson, a Boston financier, in “Frenzied Finance” (Everybody's, 1904–05), provided a major exposé of stock-market abuses and insurance fraud. Ida M. Tarbell's (Tarbell, Ida M.) History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) exposed the corrupt practices used to form a great industrial monopoly. Edwin Markham's (Markham, Edwin) Children in Bondage was a major attack on child labour. Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle (1906) and Samuel Hopkins Adams' Great American Fraud (1906), combined with the work of Harvey W. Wiley and Senator Albert J. Beveridge, brought about passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. David Graham Phillips' series “The Treason of the Senate” (Cosmopolitan, 1906), which inspired President Roosevelt's speech in 1906, was influential in leading to the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for popular senatorial elections. Muckraking as a movement largely disappeared between 1910 and 1912.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • muckraker — muck rak er, n. A person who habitually muckrakes. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Muckraker — es, en inglés, el nombre con el que se conoce al periodista o grupo semiorganizado de periodistas o escritores norteamericanos que, a comienzos del siglo XX, se dedicaron a denunciar públicamente la corrupción política, la explotación laboral y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • muckraker — (n.) c.1600, one who rakes muck, from MUCK (Cf. muck) (n.) + agent noun from RAKE (Cf. rake) (v.). Meaning one who inquires into and publishes scandal and allegations of corruption among political and business leaders, popularized 1906 in speech… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Muckraker — McClure s (cover, Jan, 1901) published many early muckraker articles. The term muckraker is closely associated with reform oriented journalists who wrote largely for popular magazines, continued a tradition of investigative journalism reporting,… …   Wikipedia

  • Muckraker — Als Muckraker (engl. für Mistkratzer, Schmutzaufwühler, Nestbeschmutzer) wurden am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts US amerikanische Journalisten und Schriftsteller bezeichnet, die als Väter des investigativen Journalismus gelten können. Ihr Wirken… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • muckraker — noun one who spreads real or alleged scandal about another (usually for political advantage) • Syn: ↑mudslinger • Derivationally related forms: ↑muckrake • Topics: ↑politics, ↑political science, ↑government …   Useful english dictionary

  • Muckraker — Un muckraker (de muck : fange /ordure / boue et to rake : fouiller) est un journaliste ou un écrivain qui enquête et publie des rapports véridiques soulevant des questions de société, généralement en rapport avec la criminalité et la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Muckraker — Muck|ra|ker [ mʌkreɪkə], der; s, [s] [engl. muckraker, zu: to muckrake = im Schmutz wühlen; Skandale aufdecken, aus: muck = Dreck u. to rake = wühlen, stöbern]: Journalist od. Schriftsteller (bes. in den USA zu Beginn des 20. Jh.s), der soziale,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Muckraker — Muck|ra|ker [ mʌkreikɐ] der; s, [s] <aus gleichbed. engl. amerik. muckraker zu to muckrake »Skandale aufdecken; im Dreck wühlen«> Journalist od. Schriftsteller (bes. in den USA zu Beginn des 20. Jh.s), der soziale, politische u. ökonomische …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • muckraker — noun see muckrake …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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