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Mr. Allee's World of History

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The Jungle Info Sheet


The Jungle Meat Packing Plant Information Sheet

GPS Standards:

SSUSH11 The student will describe the growth of big business and technological innovations after Reconstruction.

a. Explain the impact of the railroads on other industries, such as steel, and on the organization of big business.

b. Describe the impact of the railroads in the development of the West, including the transcontinental railroad, and the use of Chinese labor.

c. Identify John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company and the rise of trusts and monopolies.

d. Describe the inventions of Thomas Edison, including the electric light bulb, motion pictures, and the phonograph, and their impact on American life.

SSUSH12 The student will analyze important consequences of American industrial growth.

a. Describe Ellis Island, the change in immigrants’ origins to southern and eastern Europe, and the impact of this change on urban America.

b. Identify the American Federation of Labor and Samuel Gompers.

c. Describe the growth of the western population and its impact on Native Americans with  reference to Sitting Bull and Wounded Knee.

d. Describe the 1894 Pullman strike as an example of industrial unrest.

SSUSH13 The student will identify major efforts to reform American society and politics in the Progressive Era.

a. Explain Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and federal oversight of the meatpacking industry.

b. Identify Jane Addams and Hull House and describe the role of women in reform movements.

c. Describe the rise of Jim Crow, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the emergence of the NAACP.

d. Explain Ida Tarbell’s role as a muckraker.

e. Eescribe the significance of progressive reforms such as the initiative, the recall, and referendum direct election of senators; reform of labor laws; and efforts to improve living conditions for the poor in cities.

SSUSH14 The student will explain America’s evolving relationship with the world at the turn of the twentieth century.

a. Explain the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and anti-Asian immigration sentiment on the west coast.

Purpose: The purpose if this Program is to look at the working conditions in factories in the Late-1800s, specifically Meat Packing Plants. The Program will also examine the impact of the book The Jungle on the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the beginnings of government regulation of business.

Character Name: Lee Waski-Meat Plant Worker

Character Summary: Lee Waski is a Polish immigrant who finds work in the meatpacking plants of Chicago in the late-1800s. Poor pay, harsh working conditions and constant death make the job very difficult, but Waski is the trainer for new employees and has found that he enjoys the feeling of power that gives him. The beginning of the Program features a display of various processed meats and a discussion on the meat-packing industry in modern America. A comparison between the late 1800s and modern meat-packing is conducted. The influence the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair has on the government regulation of business will be a key element of the Program. This is the first time that the government gets directly involved in protecting individual Americans, but it will set the precedent for future government regulations. The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Food and Drug Administration are put into effect by President Theodore Roosevelt after he reads The Jungle.

Facts Pertaining to Character: Many immigrants were forced to take the dirtiest and most difficult jobs. As with other periods in American History, immigrants benefited from the fact that other Americans did not want to do these jobs. Lee Waski arrives in America in a time of great immigration and social unrest. With all the immigrants, any job was a good job. After several years, Lee Waski begins training newer employees for the Meat-Packing Plant. He’s a little absorbed by all the killing and the power it brings him, but he also plays jokes on the new workers to see if they have what it takes to work in the industry.

Facts pertaining to time period: Upton Sinclair is a muckraker. He uncovers problems in America and then writes about them in order to bring them to the attention of others. In the case of The Jungle, Sinclair influences Teddy Roosevelt. Stories of filth, dead rats, missing fingers and rotten meat being processed revolted the entire nation. Most Americans in the upper classes believe that businesses should be left alone by government, a policy of laizze faire, but Roosevelt will begin to change that with government regulation. A related topic is the breaking up of monopolies by Roosevelt. As the United States moves into the 20th Century, the role of the Government will begin to change. Be sure to connect this Program to the other Programs from this time period, as well as to the New Deal Program dealing with President Franklin Roosevelt.

Jungle and Sinclair Websites




Possible links to Graduation Test and End of the Course Test:
There are often questions on the role of government throughout United States History. In addition, Teddy Roosevelt also covers much information on the Progressives and related social reformers of the early 1900s, which often appear on standardized tests. Be sure to connect this Program to the Garrison Program from the 1830s, as well as other Programs mentioned above. If you have to interpret a question dealing with the role of the government, be sure to put the question into the appropriate time period. The role of the government has gone through many changes during the History of America.

Sample EOCT question from usatestprep.com related to this Program

"The coal is hard, and accidents to the hands, such as cut, broken, or crushed fingers, are common among the boys. Sometimes there is a worse accident: a terrified shriek is heard, and a boy is mangled and torn in the machinery, or disappears in the chute to be picked out later smothered and dead. Clouds of dust fill the breakers and are inhaled by the boys, laying the foundations for asthma and miners' consumption."

John Spargo, The Bitter Cry of the Children, 1906


This passage is describing a situation that was attacked by writers known as

A) Populists.

B) Muckrakers.

C) the Lost Generation.

D) the Beat Generation.

Excerpt from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1906)

"It seemed that he was working in the room where the men prepared the beef for canning, and the beef had lain in vats full of chemicals, and men with great forks speared it out and dumped it into trucks, to be taken to the cooking room. When they had speared out all they could reach, they emptied the vat on the floor, and then with shovels scraped up the balance and dumped it into the truck. This floor was filthy, yet they set Antanas with his mop slopping the "pickle" into a hole that connected with a sink, where it was caught and used over again forever; and if that were not enough, there was a trap in the pipe, where all the scraps of meat and odds and ends of refuse were caught, and every few days it was the old man's task to clean these out, and shovel their contents into one of the trucks with the rest of the meat!"


Many historians have argued that the conditions represented in the novel The Jungle were caused by

A) the country's strict belief in laissez-faire economics.

B) the belief that a vegetarian diet was a communist plot.

C) a lack of labor supply in major American industrial centers.

D) differing hygiene standards brought into the U.S. by immigrants.

The passage of the Meat Inspection Act in 1906 was most directly caused by

A) Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

B) Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

C) Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives.

D) Samuel Hopkins Adams' The Great American Fraud