Socialist Progressivism, Essay

1016 words - 4 pages

Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle" describes working conditions in turn of the century meat packing plants. Sinclair used workers rights as a platform to help persuade the socialist progessivist movement in the early 20th century. This paper is a look at particular techniques Sinclair used and productive it was.Industry in general has long been a mostly unregulated enterprise since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Until recently, the government has not regulated industries like meat packing companies because these very companies supported the government. Conditions in the meat packing industry were particularly horrendous at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1906 Upton Sinclair shed light on the topic of poor conditions in these factories in his book entitled, "The Jungle". Sinclair gave vivid descriptions of the lack of sanitation and poor working conditions of the meat packers. "The Jungle" helped to create new laws and legislation that regulated how food-processing plants were to be run, as well as helped to push the progressive movement further into societies sight.Sinclair used "The Jungle" to show the un-knowing public exactly what they were supporting when they went to the corner market to buy there meat. The average person did not know what went on at these plants or how their processed meat was made. Sinclair said that when these companies "...It would be doused with borax and glycerin, and dumped into the hoppers, and be made over again for home consumption." (Sinclair, 2) He also told of processing plants making large piles of meat and letting it stand, allowing rats to crawl around and relieve themselves on it. The owners seemed not to care that they were sending disease-ridden meat to the markets."The Jungle" not only described the horrible products being produced, but also the obscene working conditions of the butchers. "There were those that worked in the chilling rooms, and whose special disease was rheumatism; the time limit a man was able to work in the chilling rooms was said to be five years." Diseases constantly surrounded many workers and it was said that even the most powerful man could only last a few years before he was rendered useless. Sinclair revealed that cutters had hands that were indistinguishable due to so many lacerations and deformities. Some workers were said to fall into open vats of steam and water where they were never heard from again. Their bones would dissolve and their mass would be turned into lard that would proceed to market. The supervisors always turned a blind eye to worker safety and health violations because they were worried about making money, not the workers who could be found for a dime a dozen.Sinclair used "The Jungle" not only to shed light on corporate corruption and the horrendous working conditions of man, but also to start a type of revolution. He wanted his book to set into motion a change of events that would change the way the government and economy was run. He...

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