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In October McClure’s Magazine published what many consider the first muckraking article, Lincoln Steffens’ “Tweed Days in St. Louis.” The “muckrakers” . The Shame of the Cities has 49 ratings and 8 reviews. Evan said: I started reading this a few years ago and found it distant and dry and fairly non-speci. The Shame of the Cities is a collection of articles written by Lincoln Stefferns for McClure’s Magazine. The articles were written to expose.

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Nor was any expected there. Democracy with us may be impossible and corruption inevitable, but these articles, if they have proved nothing else, have demonstrated beyond doubt that we can stand the truth; that there is pride in the character of American citizenship; and that this pride may be a power in the land”. If my observations have been true, the literal adoption of Mr. Corrupt and Contented”, published in July Oliver McClintock stfffens, a businessman who had spent years learning about the city’s corruption on his own.

When I returned to St. The Shame of the Cities by Lincoln Steffens. Louis, a German city. Isn’t our corrupt government, after all, representative? The spirit of graft and of lawlessness is the American spirit. From — he covered the Mexican Revolution and began to see revolution as preferable to reform.

Because if the honest voter cared no more for his party than the politician and the grafter, then the honest vote would govern, and that would be bad—for graft. My interest in the muckrakers, however, means that I will give it another go someday. The decisive election is not till the fall ofand the boodlers count much on the fickleness of public opinion. If it would not “go,” they would offer something else, and, if the demand were steady, they, being so commercial, would “deliver the goods.


The Shame of the Cities: Steffens on Urban Blight

But Steffens also claims that “the good citizen, the typical business man” is partly responsible for city corruption, as he is too absorbed in his own affairs to worry much about politics. The new acting mayor, Alderman D.

Steffens then received a request from the children of the late Jay Gould to investigate Pittsburgh, where, they claimed, they had evidence that the dominant political machines were conspiring to keep them out of the city’s railroad business.

Whatever hinders it, is wrong; it must be. Newspaper editor William Allen Whitefor example, declared that the book “has done for American cities what De Tocqueville did for the country over a hundred years ago”. The people Steffens then asks a good question: According to Steffens, before he left for Minneapolis, McClure told him that his next article would “point out that democracy is at fault [for urban corruption], that one man has to run a city just as one man has to run a business to make it a success.

Louis, the people of St. There had been one election, another was pending, and the boodlers, caught or to be caught, were in control. Consider the United States Senate, and believe me. No reform I ever studied has failed to bring out this phenomenon of virtuous cowardice, the baseness of the decent citizen”.

Caroline rated it really liked it Nov 05, Sagamore Press,9, 3, 1. Minneapolis has had boodling and council reform, and boodling is breaking out there again. But it has taken as long to develop bad government, and the politicians know what that is.


It’s great to read the old purple prose of the muckrakers, but halfway through this book the reader may pine for a little hard-nosed, modern reporting, mayhaps a fo dates, a little clarification on names; you know, the simple things.

The Shame of the Cities became very popular in England, and the editor of a London magazine offered Steffens a comfortable job if he felt like moving there. Victor rated it liked it May 09, Between these two local views no outsider could choose.

The Shame of the Cities

If my observations have been true, the literal adoption of Mr. In the introduction to The Shame of the Cities, Steffens writes: But, say, I may be te to help you, and I will if I can. Counterpoint,99; Justin Kaplan, Lincoln Steffens: Why, that would change all of us—not alone our neighbors, not alone the grafters, but you and me.

As a New Yorker himself, Steffens expresses concern that Tammany politicians would undertake superficial reforms to regain power; they would offer the appearance of good government, while remaining corrupt and self-serving.

Sagamore Press,, He sgame “Tweed Days in St. This wan hope is typically destroyed by citjes to the essays detailing the changes that have occurred since the essays were originally written.

This classification may seem pretentious enough; certainly it would if I should confess what claims I make for my profession. McClurethe magazine’s co-founder, sent him on an open-ended assignment to learn how to become an editor. Counterpoint, ,