Ida Tarbell and Ralph Nader had many things in common. They were both well known muckrakers, pioneers of their time, brilliant authors and teachers. At the same time they were different in the fact that Tarbell's work concentrated on the oil industry while Nader concentrated on a much broader area of public and environmental safety.
Ida Tarbell wrote a book about History of the Standard Oil Company which was published in 1904. The book centered on the struggle between small oil operators and a huge, outside corporation for control of the nation's oil resources. This book showed her to be an exceptional author and introduced the nation to muckraking. Tarbell believed that the government could enact protective legislation which would benefit the needy. Ida Tarbell was an important leader in American magazine journalism in a time when women were more or less entirely missing from the field. .
Ralph Nader's career in consumer advocating began when he took up the interest of automobile safety after learning of many fatalities from car crashes. As a result he published his first book Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) which dealt with faulty automobiles manufactured by General Motors. This case was settled outside of court. Nader made large corporations more liable for the products they produced. Nader has proven to be the nation's leading advocate for the public interest by his speeches, writing, and organizing groups against bureaucratic power. Nader devoted his life to the crusade for safer products and public well being. .
Tarbell in her period (late 19th early 20th century) accomplished much being a woman at a time when women had few rights, but her accomplishments are eclipsed by the accomplishments of Ralph Nader in his more liberal period (Mid 20th century - present). Both are well regarded and respected for their accomplishments for raising the quality of life.