Upton Sinclair

Valerie Robles and Karis Hessert

Progressive Governmental Change

He gained public notoriety in 1906 with his novel ,The Jungle, which exposed the conditions of the U.S. meat-packing industry. His description of diseased, rotten, and contaminated meat shocked the public which caused an outcry by the people that led to the the passing of the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 as well as other new federal food safety laws.

Promoting Change

Roosevelt signed a law regulating foods and drugs on June 30, 1906, the same day he signed the Meat Inspection Act. The Pure Food and Drug Act regulated food additives and prohibited misleading labeling of food and drugs. This law led to the formation of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The two 1906 laws ended up increasing consumer confidence in the food and drugs they purchased, which benefitted these businesses. The laws also acted as a wedge to expand federal regulation of other industries, one of the strategies to control big business pursued by the progressives.

The Lithuanian Jungle - Upton Sinclair inspired Documentary


Sinclair wrote The Jungle to promote a socialist agenda. The whole point of this look at working conditions in Chicago's slums is to make you want to organize with other workers in support of the socialist cause. After Sinclair submitted an article to the socialist magazine Appeal to Reason on the failure of the Chicago stockyards strike of 1904, Appeal editor Fred Warren offered Sinclair a five hundred dollar advance to investigate the meatpacking industry. Sinclair spent seven weeks working undercover in Chicago's stockyards before writing The Jungle using material he had collected firsthand. The Jungle appeared in installments in Appeal before being published as a book in 1906.