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Just as the rich are still with us, so are the investigative reporters.I have been an investigative reporter for 45 years. On the surface, Tarbell seemed an unlikely figure to rock the world of the Robber Barons.Funerals in the aftermath of oil well explosions and fires occurred often around Hatch Hollow and the nearby city of Titusville.
One standout—not a huckster, but a young man with a business plan—was John D.
Rockefeller, 18 years older than Ida Tarbell, with a base in relatively nearby Cleveland.
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Over the last few years, the idea of “the one percent” has become a popular way to discuss the gap between the fantastically wealthy—the one percent of Americans who control more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth—and the rest of us. Back in 1900, they were known as the Robber Barons—people like Andrew Carnegie and Philip Armour, who were riding new industries and monopolies to ever greater fortunes. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, who virtually invented the model of a vertically integrated, globe-spanning corporation.
But the Robber Barons had a corrective: Ida Minerva Tarbell countered them by inventing the calling and the career that has become known as investigative journalism.
Her dogged research helped provide a foundation for anti-trust law, triggering the breakup of Standard Oil and sullying Rockefeller’s reputation forever.
In April 1911, Carrie began a world tour through Sweden, Europe, Africa, India, Sumatra, the Philippines, China, Korea and Japan, and many other countries founding suffrage organizations and examining women’s conditions throughout the world.
Carrie planted new ideas in the minds of citizens in many other nations across the globe.