Progessives And The Pure Food And Drug Act

1077 words - 5 pages

At the turn of the century America entered a new age that many historians call the Progressive Era. During this time period, the American Political system changed its view on how America should be brought about. It provided a purification of the American government through direct democracy. This era included many social and political reforms, which were brought about due to monopolies, and trust corporations.
One the key pieces of legislation that was a prime example of the progressive era, was the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. This law came about due to muckraking, and also because of public and political interests. Muckraking, such as Upton Sinclair’s piece, “The Jungle”, helped in the timing of the adoption of this legislature. This piece of legislature, allowed for the regulation of processed food items in United States food markets. The Pure Food and Drug Act was assigned to the Department of Agriculture under the Bureau of Chemistry (Law, 2004).
The main reason that this law was put into place was because there were no regulations regarding food health and safety. There were also market failures due to the lack of food regulations, because the public could not tell if a certain food product had been altered in any way. Also many food markets completely neglected the environment, due to no set standard for environmental protection.
This law also provided an economic boosts depending on how it was interpreted.
Many businesses used this new process to raise the price of their competitors. They did this by putting constraints on entry restrictions (Woods 1986). At the state level, other laws were put in place to support the Food and Drug Act mainly to help local and area producers who were and would be facing new national pressures.
There were many things that pushed this law into action. As mentioned beforehand, Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, when officially published, gave the public people and interesting point of view of how their food is being processed. This novel published along with other articles during this time period between 1905-1906, were called “muckraking” articles. These articles shifted the popular opinion in favor of a law being made to protect the regulation of food and prescription drug production.
There were other measures that formed this bill, but it was the muckraking that pushed for the timing of the bill. One measure was public interests. During this time period many people began to question the quality of their food and how it was being processed. Also locals would write about such instances, such as when Adams wrote about the quality of the machines that came in contact with the meat. This outraged many citizens causing many groups to bombard Congress with their concerns.
Also during this time, there were certain advances that labeled the food market during this time one of which is the development of cheaper food products. These cheaper products allowed for more competition between these cheaper...

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