Muckrakers and Social Issues
ABC-CLIO Database: American History
Time Period: Gilded Age to World War I, 1870-1920
Topic: Reforming Government
Process: Collect and Organize Information
Inquiry Question: How did the muckrakers help Americans of the early 20th century understand the important social issues of the time?
Objectives: Students will learn about the rise and influence of muckraking journalism and examine the provided primary sources to describe how photography, political cartoons, and written articles informed the American audiences about important issues affecting society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
What students will discover in the sources: The reference article provides an overview of the muckraker movement, including a description of mass circulation magazines. The image, a photograph taken by Jacob Riis, depicts the living conditions of immigrants in New York City during the late 1800s. The political cartoon shows President Theodore Roosevelt literally "raking the muck" in the meat packing scandal of 1906. The cultural document is an excerpt from Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle, which exposed the conditions of workers in the meat packing industry. Examined together, these sources illustrate the different ways journalists of the time presented newsworthy issues to their audiences and the impacts these methods had on public opinion.
"Investigate: Muckrakers and Social Issues." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/InvestigateOverview/2232100?tab=1. Accessed 25 Jan. 2020.