Letter To Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

1567 Words7 Pages
In February 1906, Upton Sinclair would write and publish his fictional novel The Jungle. This book, which was intended to focus on the exploited workers in the meat industry would depict the unsanitary conditions for a mere 10 pages. Missing the point of the novel, Americans were disgusted by the conditions of the packing plants, rather than outrage at the mistreatment of the workers at these plants (Kauffman). The Jungle spurred new legislation, but this legislation wasn’t the first that called for such standards. In 1641, the Massachusetts Colony had passed the Meat and Fish Inspection document which prohibited selling “diseased, corrupted, contagious or unwholesome provisions” (Massachusetts Act against Selling Unwholesome Provisions). The…show more content…
When the book gained enough public attention, Roosevelt felt pressured into doing something about it. In a letter to Upton Sinclair, he stated, "The specific evils you point out shall, if their existence be proved, and if I have power, be eradicated" (Kauffman). Therefore, the government set aside three million dollars for investigations. Due to a decline in meat sales, both domestically and abroad, large packing houses began to call for more government inspections as well, in hopes buyers would be reassured. In J. Ogden Armour’s article in Everybody’s Magazine, he both defended the government inspections and denounced them. He stated “Government inspection is another important feature of the packers' business. To the general public, the meat-eating public, it ought to appeal as one of the most important features of any and all business in the whole country” (J. Ogden Armour). By saying this, Armour is essentially claiming that what the government is doing is correct, that it is protecting and informing the people. However, he elaborates that, “Strangely enough, in view of its vital importance, this Government inspection has been the subject of almost endless misrepresentation—of ignorantly or maliciously false statements” (J. Ogden Armour). In other words, what the government is doing is good in theory, yet fails in practice. Perhaps what he was saying had some basis of truth. Because the federal government provided funding for the inspection of the meat packing houses in 1906, the results could have been skewed to show what the American people wanted it to show. Roosevelt also paid to send in investigators- Labor Commissioner Charles Neil and Assistant Secretary of Treasury James Reynolds visited the slaughterhouses in April. Their research also depicted horror stories similar to

More about Letter To Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

Open Document