In the introductory chapter, the Weinbergs state that dissent is an important part of American life. The selected dissenters are profiled because they were unique heroes with a willingness to suffer rather than to tolerate the status quo. Some Dissenting Voices is clearly a book intended for the adolescent reader. The point of view is clearly one of a middle ground—the authors neither omit information nor exaggerate it. The facts have been weighed, but the Weinbergs do not sit in judgment of these dissenters. The emphasis of the authors is on the environment in which these dissenters lived and how it influenced these heroes’ seemingly independent decisions.
While the Weinbergs present these dissenters as movers and shakers, they were clearly not anarchists. This approach depicts Steffens as a curious, persistent, and determined individual who inspired trust and confidence. Steffens is portrayed as the hero in his quest to find the cause of political corruption in the United States, even when he incurred the anger of President Theodore Roosevelt when Steffens exposed the corruption of a senator who was the friend of the president. Thirty years after his death, Steffens was honored for his muckraking by Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism fraternity.
Debs traveled across the United States in a campaign train called the Red Special, which was so named to emphasize his dislike of capitalism. His advocacy for railroad...
(The entire section is 599 words.)