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McClure’s Magazine

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Muckrakers were investigative journalists who exposed corruption in business or government, or examined serious societal issues. Several of the most well-known muckrakers worked for McClure’s Magazine, where they wrote exposés on large companies, meat slaughtering houses, and city governments. These prominent and influential reporters included Ida M. Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, and Ray Stannard Baker.

Now suppose that you, too, are an investigative journalist. Instead of choosing a business or government, you have been asked to write a piece on one of the muckrakers. Before you can actually flesh out your article you will have to submit an outline for editorial approval. Which muckraker will you investigate? And how much information will you be able to provide?

1. Write a well-constructed outline on one muckraker using the information you collected during your website research. Keep the following points in mind as you write your outline: * Include important biographical information about the individual’s life. * Give specific examples of articles and books that were written by the individual. What businesses or government offices were targeted in the exposés? * What reforms or changes took place as a result of the individual’s writings? Answer:

Ida Tarbell was a woman far ahead of her time. Tarbell was an extraordinary woman whose work influenced the lives of others all over

I. Biographical information

A. First child of Franklin Sumner and Elizabeth McCullough Tarbell. B. Born November 5, 1857 in the log home of her maternal grandfather. C. Tarbell was born on the oil frontier of western Pennsylvania. D. Two of her brothers knew Abraham Lincoln.

E. Ida wanted a career so she decided she would never marry. F. The older she grew the more determined that she would be independent. G. She majored in biology at Allegheny College.

II. Articles and books written by Ida Tarbell

A. Biographical series on Napoleon.
1. She received a call from Samuel McClure, asking her to write a short life of Napoleon Bonaparte for McClures newly launched magazine.

B. Biographical series on Abraham Lincoln.
1. Her first actual assignment for McClure was to prepare a similar biography of Abraham Lincoln.
2. Robert Lincoln, the President’s only surviving son, gave her a daguerreotype of his father that had never been published.
3. The years she spent on The Life of Abraham Lincoln did more than provide her with a continuing interest. It made her realize how important and precious her country was and that it’s problems were her problems.

C. After years of research , Ida Tarbell produced a detailed analysis of the most perfect of all monopoles, standard oil.
1. It appeared in 19 installments in McClures magazine beginning November of 1902, published as a two volume book in 1904.
2. She had hoped that it would be received as a historical study. Instead she was labeled a “muckraker” by President Theodore Roosevelt. D. Tarbell founded the American Magazine.

III. Reforms and Changes

A. .During World War 1 she was appointed to the women’s committee of the council of National Defense by President Woodrow Wilson.

B. She authored biographies of several important businessmen.

C. She Played a leading role as the watchdogs and consciences of our political, economic, and social lives.

D. Through her achievements she not only helped to expand the role of the newspaper in modern society and stimulate the Progressive reform movement.

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