Full Name Name of Professor Subject July 28, 2011 Meat Inspection: Theory and Reality The article Meat Inspection: Theory and Reality introduces young socialist novel writer, Upton Sinclair, who through his publications in the novel, The Jungle, helped (not the extend that people might think he did) in bringing about a new era in government legislation, that acted as the cause that helped shape the way privately owned producers of consumable goods would conduct themselves in the future…
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At this point it is important to note that Sinclair’s publication might have contributed in ensuring that the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 would eventually be created, but the problems begun almost a couple of decades before Sinclair even stepped foot in Chicago. The most important stimulus in creating this change or reform came from the European markets that imported meat from the United States. It was the Europeans that first identified the problem, and preceded to ban any imports from the United States, and since the European market was the industries’ first and foremost concern, and not the local market, it was the meat packers themselves that pushed for reforms. (Kolko) In 1906, a socialist novelist by the name of Upton Sinclair, published The Jungle that had a rippling effect on the American public. Sinclair was hoping that through his publication the American people would be awakened and informed on the deplorable conditions that the workers in the meat packing industry had to suffer. (Ibid) President Roosevelt at the time was suspicious of the socialist Sinclair, so as a result decided to take matters into his own hands, thus sending labor commissioner Charles P. Neil, and social worker Bronson Reynolds, both of which Kolko considers inexperienced and oblivious to anything regarding the meat packing industry, who he trusted, to do their own investigation and report back to him. Both men carried out the presidential order that was assigned to them, and to their surprise were revolted to discover the kind of inhuman conditions that existed there. They reported back to president Roosevelt, who in turn took the results yielded from his investigation to congress. On June 30, 1906, after much negotiation between the House of Representatives and the Senate, and lobbyists on behalf of the meat packing industry and congressmen who supported government regulations, Roosevelt signed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. (Ibid) The author, Gabriel Kolko, argues that Sinclair’s novel was written in an attempt to emphasize the poor and unsanitary conditions that existed then for workers in the meat packing industry, hoping that his findings would spark a socialist movement (even though Kolko doesn’t actually phrase it in that clear cut manner). Instead, people chose to concentrate on only a small part of the novel that had to do with the meat packing process itself and the poor standard of meat that was being sold in the market. Kolko makes sure that his readers understand this from the very beginning when he writes that although Sinclair does indeed have an impact on the meat industry and was partly responsible for the Meat Inspection Act of 1906, it was in reality the Europeans and their ban on American meat that should be credited the most. (Ibid) It is perhaps to the author’s credit, being a lefty liberal himself, that he gives kudos to Roosevelt for responding to Sinclair’s novel and following through with his own investigation through Neil and Reynolds, and for later taking their findings to congress. Roosevelt himself stated that he mistrusted Sinclair, calling him mistrusted, unbalanced and
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