Lincoln Steffens Was Considered a Reformer Specifically Because He

Lincoln Steffens Was Considered a Reformer Specifically Because He

American journalist

Lincoln Steffens

Steffens in 1895. Photo by Rockwood.


Joseph Lincoln Steffens

Apr half-dozen, 1866

San Francisco, California, United states

Died August 9, 1936 (aged 70)

Carmel-by-the-Bounding main, California, US

Resting place Cypress Backyard Memorial Park
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California
Occupation Muckraking announcer
  • New York Evening Postal service
    (until 1905)
  • McClure’s Magazine
    (until 1906)
  • The American Magazine
    (1906 onward)
Known for
  • Office of the muckraking trio at the turn of the century
  • Having his articles written into books.

Spouse(s) Josephine Bontecou (m. 1881–1911), Ella Winter (chiliad. 1924–1936)
Children Pete Steffens
Parent(southward) Joseph Steffens and Elizabeth Louisa Symes
Relatives Laura Steffens Suggett (sis)

Lincoln Austin Steffens
(Apr 6, 1866 – Baronial 9, 1936) was an American investigative announcer and i of the leading muckrakers of the Progressive Era in the early 20th century. He launched a serial of manufactures in
McClure’s, called “Tweed Days in St. Louis”,[1]
that would later on be published together in a book titled
The Shame of the Cities. He is remembered for investigating abuse in municipal authorities in American cities and for his leftist values.

Early on life


Steffens was born in San Francisco, California, the only son and eldest of four children of Elizabeth Louisa (Symes) Steffens and Joseph Steffens. He was raised largely in Sacramento, the state capital; the Steffens family mansion, a Victorian house on H Street bought from merchant Albert Gallatin in 1887, would become the California Governor’s Mansion in 1903.[2]

Steffens attended the Saint Matthew’due south Episcopal Day School, where he frequently clashed with the school’s founder and director, stern disciplinarian, Alfred Lee Brewer.[3]



Steffens began his journalism career at the
New York Commercial Advertiser
in the 1890s,[four]
before moving to the
New York Evening Mail service. He afterward became an editor of
McClure’due south
mag, where he became part of a celebrated muckraking trio with Ida Tarbell and Ray Stannard Baker.[5]
He specialized in investigating regime and political corruption, and 2 collections of his articles were published as
The Shame of the Cities
(1904) and
The Struggle for Self-Government
(1906). He also wrote
The Traitor Country
(1905), which criticized New Jersey for patronizing incorporation. In 1906, he left
McClure’s, along with Tarbell and Baker, to form
The American Magazine. In
The Shame of the Cities, Steffens sought to bring near political reform in urban America by appealing to the emotions of Americans. He tried to provoke outrage with examples of decadent governments throughout urban America.

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From 1914 to 1915 he covered the Mexican Revolution and began to run into revolution as preferable to reform. In March 1919, he accompanied William C. Bullitt, a depression-level Land Department official, on a three-calendar week visit to Soviet Russia and witnessed the “disruptive and difficult” procedure of a society in the procedure of revolutionary alter. He wrote that “Soviet Russian federation was a revolutionary authorities with an evolutionary program”, enduring “a temporary condition of evil, which is fabricated tolerable by hope and a plan.”[6]

After his return, he promoted his view of the Soviet Revolution and in the course of campaigning for U.S. food aid for Russia made his famous remark about the new Soviet society: “I accept seen the hereafter, and it works”, a phrase he ofttimes repeated with many variations.[7]
The title page of his wife Ella Winter’southward
Cherry Virtue: Human Relationships in the New Russia
(Victor Gollancz, 1933) carries this quote.

His enthusiasm for communism soured by the fourth dimension his memoirs appeared in 1931. The autobiography became a bestseller leading to a short render to prominence for the writer, but Steffens would not be able to capitalize on it every bit illness cut his lecture tour of America short past 1933. He was a fellow member of the California Writers Project, a New Deal program.

He married the 20-6-year-quondam socialist author Leonore (Ella) Sophie Winter in 1924 and moved to Italian republic, where their son Peter was born in San Remo. Ii years later on they relocated to the largest fine art colony on the Pacific Coast, Carmel-past-the-Sea, California. Ella and Lincoln before long became controversial figures in the leftist politics of the region.[eight]
When John O’Shea, one of the local artists and a friend of the couple, exhibited his written report of “Mr. Steffens’ soul”, an image which resembled a grotesque daemon, Lincoln took a certain cynical pride in the cartoon and enjoyed the publicity it generated.[9]

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In 1934, Steffens and Winters helped found the San Francisco Workers’ Schoolhouse (after the California Labor School); Steffens as well served there as an advisor.



A marker commemorating Steffens’ retirement home near the intersection of San Antonio and Ocean avenues in Carmel, California.

Steffens died of a middle condition[11]
on Baronial nine, 1936, in Carmel, California.[11]

In 2011 Kevin Baker of
The New York Times
lamented that “Lincoln Steffens isn’t much remembered today”.[12]



  • Pittsburgh is Hell with the Lid Off
    (1903) (Painting Jules Guerin/Lincoln Steffens)
  • The Shame of the Cities
    (1904), online at the Internet Archive
  • The Traitor State
  • The Struggle for Self-Government
    (1906), online at the Internet Archive
  • Upbuilders
    (1909), online at the Internet Archive
  • The least of these: a fact story
    (1910), online at the Internet Annal
  • Into United mexican states and –Out!
    (1916), online at the Internet Archive
  • Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens

In popular culture


Lincoln Steffens is mentioned in the Danny Devito movie
Jack the Bear

Lincoln Steffens is mentioned in the 1987 novel
The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe.[thirteen]

Characters on the American crime drama series
City on a Hill, which debuted in 2019, brand numerous references to Lincoln Steffens.[14]

Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens
is the favorite book of 1 of the members of The Group in Mary McCarthy’s 1963 novel of the same championship.[16]

Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens
is mentioned in the Joseph McElroy novel
Women and Men.



  1. ^

    Newman, John; Schmalbach, John (2015).
    United States History
    (2015 ed.). Amsco. p. 434. ISBN978-0-7891-8904-2.

  2. ^

    Steffens, Lincoln (1931).
    The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. ISBN9781597140164.

  3. ^

    “Matters Historical: Military-style academies on the march in 1800s”.
    East Bay Times. 2016-08-03. Retrieved
    On at least i occasion, after being caught drinking while encouraging younger cadets to engage in such “forbidden activities,” Steffens was locked into Brewer’southward guardhouse, where he existed in alone confinement on express rations for 22 days.

  4. ^

    “American Characters: Lincoln Steffens | AMERICAN HERITAGE”.
    world wide
    . Retrieved

  5. ^

    “On the Making of Same McClure’s Magazine”.
    McClure’s Magazine.
    (i). November 1904. Retrieved

  6. ^

    Hartshorn, 304-xi

  7. ^

    Hartshorn, 315

  8. ^

    Edwards, Robert W. (2012).
    Jennie V. Cannon: The Untold History of the Carmel and Berkeley Art Colonies, Vol. one. Oakland, Calif.: East Bay Heritage Project. pp. 231, 233, 524, 548, 554–556, 558, 627, 682–683. ISBN9781467545679.

    An online facsimile of the entire text of Vol. 1 is posted on the Traditional Fine Arts System website (“Jennie V. Cannon: The Untold History of the Carmel and Berkeley Art Colonies, vol. I, East Bay Heritage Project, Oakland, 2012; by Robert Due west. Edwards”. Archived from the original on 2016-04-29. Retrieved


  9. ^

    The Carmelite: 8 September 1932, p. 4; 20 October 1932, p.4.

  10. ^

    Oakland Tribune, xix February 1933, p. 2-A.
  11. ^



    “Lincoln Steffens, Starting time Muckraker Dies At lxx”.
    Associated Press. August 10, 1936. Retrieved

  12. ^

    Baker, Kevin (2011-05-13). “Lincoln Steffens: Muckraker’s Progress”.
    The New York Times.

  13. ^

    Wolfe, Tom (June 21, 2018).
    The Bonfire of the Vanities. Random House. ISBN9781473563926
    – via Google Books.

  14. ^

    “Review: Cop drama ‘City On A Hill’ finds Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’southward Boston is no beacon”.
    Los Angeles Times. 2019-06-fourteen. Retrieved

  15. ^

    “The Sneaky Greatness of Commencement’s City On A Hill”.
    . Retrieved

  16. ^

    McCarthy, Mary (1963).
    The Group. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 154. ISBN0-15-137281-0.

Further reading




  • Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens
    (NY: Harcourt, Brace, 1958)
  • The Letters of Lincoln Steffens,
    edited by Ella Wintertime and Granville Hicks, 2 vols. (1938)
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  • Christopher Lasch,
    The American Liberals and the Russian Revolution
    (NY: Columbia University Press, 1962)
  • Justin Kaplan,
    Lincoln Steffens: A Biography
    (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1974)
  • Stanley K. Schultz, “The Morality of Politics: The Muckrakers’ Vision of Democracy,”
    The Periodical of American History, vol. 52, no. 3. (December 1965), 527–547, in JSTOR
  • Peter Hartshorn,
    I Have Seen the Future: A Life of Lincoln Steffens
    (Counterpoint, 2011)
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin,
    The Great Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Historic period of Journalism
    (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
  • Stephanie Gorton,
    Citizen Reporters: Southward. Due south. McClure, Ida Tarbell, and the Magazine that Rewrote America.
    New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020.

External links


  • “Joseph Lincoln Steffens”.
    Journalist, Muckraker. Find a Grave. January ane, 2001.

  • Lincoln Steffens’ collected journalism at The Archive of American Journalism

Lincoln Steffens Was Considered a Reformer Specifically Because He