History Term Papers
History Term Papers
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History Term Papers Sample
Among the more diligent practitioners of unsensational muckraking, we can find no more representative figure than Ray Stannard Baker. After graduating from Michigan State College, Baker became a reporter on the old Chicago Record. In college he had been interested in economics, and as a journalist he sought to familiarize himself with the human and practical problems which economic theory so often overlooks. One of his early assignments was to go to Canton, Ohio, to interview Coxey, who was leading his famous army to Washington. Baker stayed with Coxey's Army, marching with it day by day until it had reached its goal. Interviewing each member, he learned how that strange horde had been assembled, and gradually he came to understand the minds and hearts of the poverty-stricken. He remembered the extravagant crowds that had gathered to enjoy the lavish spectacles of the World's Fair, and he contrasted with them the ragged cohorts straggling over the Alleghenies in the hope of forcing an indifferent government to come to their aid. On his return to Chicago, Baker was regularly sent out to report labor disturbances, and the great Pullman strike soon came to give him another lesson in practical economics. In Pullman he found men and women starving in the model homes erected by the company, and his accounts of the many tragedies he observed led to the establishment of a relief bureau. In the Debs trial he appeared as a witness.
Baker became more and more fascinated by the human side of great industrial problems, but at the same time he aspired to a literary career. Some of his stories appeared in McClure's, and it was not long before Mr. McClure telegraphed him, as he did so many young men whose work attracted his attention, to come to New York. Thus, in 1897, Baker associated himself with that lively group of men and women who were making McClure's the most talked-of magazine in America. He continued writing stories and did various special features, but in time he returned to his favorite field, the labor problem. No one could have been more sympathetic than he with working people, but any type of oppression was abhorrent to him. Although he had often spoken in defense of labor unions, he found it necessary in 1903, just at the time when the Tarbell and the Steffens articles were marking the inauguration of a muckraking policy, to attack the conduct of certain labor organizations.