Tag Archives: democracy

Common Sense communication digital divide election history HTTP headers internet Javascript journalism literary theory marketplace of ideas mass media media ownership media richness muckraking professionalism public discourse

“The Treason of the Senate” and its place in journalism of the time

This paper was originally written for a journalism history course At OWU.

It is logical to assume David Graham Phillips’ “Treason of the Senate,” published in 1906 in Cosmopolitan, was subject to the same trends as the rest of journalism during that period.  This is a hollow statement, however, without examining what those trends are and how they are illustrated in the article.  It is not enough to merely label Phillips a muckraker and be done with it; for although muckraking was an important movement at the time it was not the only theme or method to writing.  It is my belief that “Treason of the Senate” is a good example of more than just muckraking.

I will break up my discussion into sections talking about the examples and influences of story and information journalism, muckraking in general, the national scope of the article and professionalism in “Treason.”  Though each represents a different way of looking at the article, my discussion will tend to interrelate them, just as they were often interrelated through history.

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Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the philosophy of revolution

This paper was originally written for a journalism history course At OWU.

The first thing that struck me when reading from Common Sense was the similarity of Thomas Paine’s work to another author, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  I don’t believe the similarity in style is simply due to the fact that these men wrote in nearly the same era.  It certainly has little to do with subject matter; Paine was goading a revolution, Rousseau was opining on philosophy.  But there is a similarity in the way they construct and maintain arguments, probably because their arguments were prompted by similar purposes.  Where Rousseau was challenging views long held by establishment philosophers, Paine was challenging established political beliefs.  Where Rousseau leaves the levels of abstraction we often find in philosophy and brings in real-life examples and histories, Paine elevates his arguments above just the coarseness of the British troops and questions the very philosophies that keep Britain in power in America.

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