The Gilded Age- During the late 1800s, there was a stark contrast between the wealth of business owners who had profited from the Industrial Revolution, and the workers who labored under terrible conditions for little pay. It was also a time of corruption in politics. While the rich lived flashy lifestyles, the poor were suffering.
Gilded Age Presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley
Life in the Gilded Age...
Political Machines used illegal means to get "their" candidates elected. They stuffed ballot boxes with extra votes and bribed vote counters, aside from intimidating the poor to vote in return for food or work.
Many believed that the government should do something to eliminate corruption and diminish inequality.
The term “muckraker” actually came from President Teddy Roosevelt in a 1906 speech about journalism, when Roosevelt referred to a character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as “the Man with the Muck-Rake.”
Although Roosevelt agreed with most of the muckrakers' charges, he worried that they would use their writing to attack some of his policies. He elaborated on this when he said, “There are, in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man whether politician or businessman, every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful.”
Progressive Era Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), William Howard Taft (1909-1913), Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)