Famous author of Susan Lenox and The Treason of the Senate (published in a series for Cosmpolitan Magazine); a muckraker novel, it publicized corruption in the Senate after doing research on government leaders. He accused both main parties, the Democrats and Republicans, of joining together to "advance the industrial and financial interests of the wealthy classes of the country".

Phillips found work as a reporter with the Cincinnati Times-Star. Later he worked for the New York Sun and the New York World. While with these newspapers Phillips developed a reputation as a fine investigative journalist.

Once accused of being a muckraker, Phillips returned to fiction, but only three years after this change, in 1911, he returned to muckraking and political corruption in The Conflict.

Phillips was murdered later that year by a man who believed that the novel, The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig, had libelously portrayed his family.

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