Imagine a workforce without labor laws. Massive companies would still be in control of the major products, creating a nightmare for the American people. Workers would be drastically underpaid for their exhausting labor; children would still feel forced to work to help support their families. Now imagine a world without food safety laws. Meat packing companies could put ingredients in the product without labeling. They could even include toxic chemicals without any major government and legal repercussions. Not many people realize it, but these two simple laws are taken for granted. Barrack Obama displays this perfectly: “It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.” While the Union played a large part in securing labor laws and food safety requirements, there was one person who gave the much-needed monumental push for even more human rights. That person is author and human rights activist, Upton Sinclair. Without Upton Sinclair’s literature the United States would not have the same human rights as today.
Upton Sinclair lived in a problematic world as a child. He was born during the 1870s in New York, which was the time of the Long Depression. As referenced from its name, the Depression was long, but was not as economically catastrophic as the Great Depression (Long). The Depression had a horrendous impact on the Sinclair family. Poverty continuously plagued them, threatening to push them off the brink of starvation (Simkin). There was another pressing issue the family had to deal with: Sinclair’s father, Sinclair Sr., was an alcoholic (Simkin). Sinclair Sr. had trouble keeping a job, leaving his family improperly cared for. Upton Sinclair also faced issues with his mother. She was even controlling to the point of abuse (Upton). This created an unstable environment for young Sinclair. His parents eventually realized they could not keep their young child in such harsh conditions, and they sent him to live with his rich grandparents (Simkin).
Living with his grandparents enabled a steady environment for Sinclair. He was now able to enjoy the luxuries of life, such as reading and writing, without the constant threat starvation and improper care. Sinclair took an interest in literature and writing, and was rather talented at it: he was accepted into New York City College at age fourteen (Simkin). Everything looked up for adolescent Sinclair: his stories were getting published, his articles were getting recognized, and he was able to support himself by the young age seventeen with his writings. His first novel, Springtime and Harvest, was published in 1901 at the young age of twenty-three, while he had almost ten short stories published before that (Books). Needless to say, Sinclair was becoming a seasoned author.
Sinclair was the not the average author of the twentieth century....