A Factual Generation
The beautiful industrial idyls of half a century ago, the charming inculcation of thrift to the desperately poor, the stories of the astounding progress of the newsboy and the grocer's clerk (who inevitably marries the daughter of his employer), have given way to somber investigations of newsboys, messenger boys, grocers' clerks, et al., and to a very wide bookshelf on the influence of evil industrial conditions upon the virtues and vices of the industrial classes.
WALTER WEYL, The New Democracy.
There is only one sure basis of social reform and that is Truth -- a careful detailed knowledge of the essential facts of each social problem. Without this there is no logical starting place for reform and uplift.
W. E. BURGHARDT DU BOIS and AUGUSTUS GRANVILLE DILL, The Negro Artisan.
FACTS, facts piled up to the point of dry certitude, was what the American people then needed and wanted," wrote Ray Stannard Baker in explanation and justification of the muckraking movement.1 A muckraker himself, Baker was one of the most resolutely objective observers of American life in the early years of the twentieth century. His comment has a bearing not only on prewar journalism, but also on the general spirit of the Progressive era. It was a time when realism influenced, if it did not entirely dominate, many aspects of American culture. Religion, philosophy, the arts, politics, and philanthropy were all agitated by efforts to discover and disclose the tangible truths of actual life.
Perplexity and suspicion sharpened the public demand for facts. At the turn of the century a generation born and raised on farms or