Awarness Of Conditions In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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The rapid industrialization and urbanization of the late 19th century brought prosperity and wealth to America and improved the living standards of almost all citizens. Refined machinery, fresh innovations, and the management revolution accelerated the production and quality of products while minimizing costs. Despite the developments and improvements that occurred during this era, they came at a price. Along with industrialization came the issues of overcrowded housing, unsanitary conditions, and corruption in large corporations, to name a few. Business leaders of such corporations often exploited workers and repressed competition in a suffocating and monopolistic manner. The lawmakers and businessmen who benefited from the new developments …show more content…

This awareness motivated the actions of reformers and civilians, which therefore fueled Progressivism. In The Jungle by Sinclair, he wrote, “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, (79). Sinclair also described the contamination of meat by factory workers, the rotting of meat, and the generally unsanitary conditions of a meatpacking plant (79). While The Jungle’s main purpose was to highlight and raise awareness of the terrible working conditions of employees, public outrage was mainly focused on passages like these. Sinclair said, "I aimed at the public's heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” in reference to the misunderstanding. Such passages disgusted civilians who demanded that similarly to the Standard Oil Company, meatpacking facilities needed more government regulation. By informing the public with facts people didn’t want to hear, Sinclair effectively shaped public opinion against meat packing plants and created concern for the sanitation of food and the process to make it. Meat sales went down drastically following the publishing of this novel. The uproar caught the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt who then ordered an investigation of the meat packing plants. After getting a report back, Roosevelt decided it was necessary to pass regulatory laws. In response to the national demand and Roosevelt’s request, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act in 1906. The effect of The Jungle on the public which resulted in legislative action displayed the impact that reformers could have on the government and politics (Henretta, et al. 580). The social reaction was a leading catalyst for tangible change, proving the necessity of

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