Feeling hungry? Wouldn't a good, juicy, scrumptious hot-dog covered with mustard, ketchup, and onions taste good right about now? Yes, I just bet your mouth is watering for that great taste and your stomach aches with longing for that meat!! Oh, by the way, here is a description of the meat packing industry you might want to read while you are eating:
"There was never the least bit attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white - it would be dosed with borax and glycerin, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had trampled and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread and meat would go into the hoppers together."
Still feeling hungry?! The above paragraph is just one sample excerpt from the book, The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair in 1906. He so vividly described conditions in the meat packing industry that people were incited to demand effective laws for protecting them against dirty and disease-ridden meat products.
Upton Sinclair is just one example of a muckraker". Muck can be described as dirt, mud, garbage, etc.; however, in this case the muck represents a societal problem. In the late 1800's - early 1900's (the Progressive Era) the idea of reform was "in the air". Therefore muckrakers wrote articles with the aim of getting people interested and excited about reform.
Do you think that the Progressive Era would have occurred if not for the muckrakers? Why or why not? If so, do you think it would have occurred at the same time or later?
Imagine you were living during this time and read this excerpt; how would you have responded? Would you have pushed for reform yourself, would you have let other people, or would you have taken a laissez-faire approach to these business practices? Explain your answer.
Imagine you were a muckraker during this time, what specific issue would you have wanted to address and why?
Be sure to discuss which area of GRAPES this relates to and why?