It’s hard to imagine, especially for younger people (I’m old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty”), that the United States once was a country that cared about the fate of its poorest citizens and sought to create something substantial and powerful enough to help them transcend their circumstances.
This reading on Upton Sinclair and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet will go some distance toward helping students understand the nature and value of civic engagement to aid the most vulnerable citizens of our nation. If you’re interested in going further than this worksheet in an inquiry into Mr. Sinclair’s biography and activism, the fifth and final paragraph of the short reading in this post notes his near victory in the 1934 gubernatorial race in California. What it doesn’t mention is that Upton Sinclair’s candidacy in that race was part of his “End Poverty in California” (EPIC) campaign, which was an amplification of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. There is a lot to understand here–particularly why such movement continue to fail when there are so many more poor people than rich in this nation.
Now go vote!
If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.