Muckrakers were early twentieth-century reformers whose 1
mission was to look for and uncover political and business corruption.
The term muckraker, which referred to the "man with a muckrake"
in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, was first used in a pejorative
sense by Theodore Roosevelt, whose opinion of the muckrakers was
that they were biased and overreacting. The movement began about
1902 and died down by 1917. Despite its brief duration, however, it
had a significant impact on the political, commercial, and even literary
climate of the period. 2
Many popular magazines featured articles whose purpose was 3
to expose corruption. Some of these muckraking periodicals included
The Arena, Everybody's, The Independent, and McClure's. Lincoln
Steffens, managing editor of McClure's (and later associate editor of
American Magazine and Everybody's), was an important leader of