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Upton Sinclair and “The Jungle”

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  1. Introduction
  2. The 'Mountain of gold'
  3. Imigration to America
    1. German immigrants in Chicago
    2. Migrating to find work
  4. Racial and ethnic issues
    1. Workers who were white and skilled
    2. Difficulties faced by immigrants and Sinclair's novel
    3. The only workers who were able to prosper
  5. Protection of workers from abuse by employers
  6. The lack of nutriton and a system of welfare
  7. The Food and Drug Act
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

?The Jungle,? by Upton Sinclair, was a revolutionary novel that changed American history, especially the history of the Chicago meatpacking industry. When the book was published in 1906, it aroused anger and disgust among the American public. The horrors of the meatpacking industry were exposed by Sinclair, and the government quickly began to take action and pass legislation. Americans and immigrants who lived in Chicago were all affected by the Beef Trust, which was a powerful organization that forced peasants to suffer through tormenting labor and produced enormous profits for the rich. Comparing the history of the meatpacking industry to the work by Sinclair, one would find that the representation given to us by Sinclair is a relatively accurate portrayal of life in Chicago during the early 20th century.

[...] Although it is possible that he may have exaggerated certain aspects of his book in order to demonstrate almost every possible miserable situation that an immigrant may encounter, it was a necessary action because it made the novel unforgettable and forced the public to react. Bibliography Aduddell, Robert M. & Louis P. Cain. Public Policy toward Greatest Trust in the World.? The Business History Review, Vol No.2. (Summer, 1981), pp. 217-242. Bushnell. Some Social Aspects of the Chicago Stock Yards. [...]


[...] For example, Sinclair tells us that certain ethnic groups, especially minorities such a African Americans, were treated with total hostility and stereotyped before they were even able to find a job. He describes an event in which a strike was broken by certain ethnic groups that were ?inferior? to the class of working men: these specimens of the new American hero contained an assortment of the criminals and thugs of the city, besides Negroes and the lowest foreigners?Greeks, Roumanians, Sicilians, and Slovaks.?[5] Obviously the treatment of these immigrants and minority groups, as well as others, was below that of American workers. [...]


[...] The reason strikes could easily be broken was the constant demand for employment. Workers were willing to work for the bare minimum because competition was fierce. Sinclair writes, new union was the result of this outburst, but the impromptu new union went to pieces in three days, owing to the rush of new labor.?[3] Because the demand for labor was so high, non-union workers were willing to work for almost any amount, destroying the agenda of the union and forcing many of the members to lose their jobs. [...]

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