Muckraking Journalism in US History 10

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Photo Courtesty of Carrie Peterson

Kaitlyn McGonigal, Author

Currently, in Mrs. Peterson’s United States History 10 classes, students are learning about the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era was a time of social activism and political reform across the United States. Progressives focused their attention on child labor, women suffrage, political corruption, poverty, corporate greed, etc.

Mrs. Peterson gave her students the task of becoming muckraking journalists. Writers that are considered “muckrakers” are ones who are very fascinated with exposing corruption. She gave them this opportunity to expose the terrible side of the meat packaging industry. The students created political cartoons to help visualize what they discovered.

Upton Sinclair published a book in 1906, titled The Jungle. This book was written to bring light to the unsafe and poor working conditions of laborers in the Chicago stockyards.  However, many Americans were outraged when reading about the disgusting ingredients which were included in their meat products.  The factories were filthy, and no matter what the meat was filled with, it would be sent out to the public to consume. Within six months of the book being published, two laws were passed to regulate the food and drug industries.

Below are some examples of students muckraking journalism: