A phrase I have heard throughout my life is, "no one wants to see how the hotdogs are made." If I were a betting man, I would think this is a play on The Jungle, a 1906 novel by the American writer Upton Sinclair. The novel portrays the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Most readers were more concerned with several sections revealing health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry during the early 20th century. A lack of manufacturing standards and lax food inspection meant that companies often made sausages from harmful, degraded, if not poisonous components. Lingering in the public imagination was the common German practice of integrating dogmeat into sausage recipes. Horsemeat was another widely whispered ingredient. Meatpackers added sawdust and fillers to their products, regularly debasing the links with formaldehyde and other toxic preservatives. This significantly contributed to a public outcry that led to reforms, including the Meat Inspection Act.
But here we are, over 100 years later, and many Americans still consume hotdogs. Myself included! Nothing tastes better after a night of soaking up booze than several coney dogs at 3 am. Why is that? It is an example of blissful ignorance. We don't want to know what goes into the hot dog because we like the taste. The same is valid for history. We enjoy our modern society, but few take a step back to see what products went into making it. The genocide. The government overreaches. The blood. The oppression. All mixed into our democratic freedoms like sawdust. When we study history, we see the steps that got us here, which can sometimes be tough to swallow.
2:51 California Police Tax
11:03 1860s Fashion
13:52 Ex Parte Merryman
20:21 The Homestead Act
28:52 Sioux Uprising
Washington Territory’s race-based, discriminatory Chinese Police Tax
Fashion In The 1860s
Lincoln and Taney’s great writ showdown
Dakota War of 1862
Ryan Lancaster wears many hats. Dive into his website to learn about history, sports, and more!