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Progressive Era

            Industrialization spawned unprecedented growth in America's cities between 1870 and 1900. The cities grew at a rapid rate, and the speed of the growth seemed to surpass their means of administration. The consequence of this phenomenon proved to be poverty, corruption and finally, unrest. The Progressive movement was an attempt to remedy the evils and negligence that accumulated during the industrial period. The problems of social, political and economic conditions brought on by industrialization resulted in new major laws and amendments during the progressive movement. This paper will discuss an issue from each one of these general facets of society and examine how the problem was remedied. .
             A social change that occurred was a change in working conditions. Previously, the profit-seeking mentality of the industrial age was not contusive to a safe and clean working environment. Many believe muckraker Upton Sinclair started the entire progressive movement by writing about such conditions in "The Jungle", an extremely popular novel of the time. In "The Jungle," Sinclair vividly described the harsh life of working in the meat packing industry. Men were being cut by contaminated knives and forced to keep working, falling into meat grinders, or made to work at extremely fast paces to obtain a certain quota. The main character's father had to stand in a puddle of acid that ate away at his boots and the skin in his feet. Not only did these unsanitary conditions affect the workers but also the food. .
             As illustrated in the novel, citizens who thought they were eating high quality foods were eating anything but. Instead they were ingesting spoiled meats, rats, their droppings, and poisons set out to kill them; all of these were results of improper storage. Sinclair also implies in his book that inspectors did not do proper jobs of inspecting the meats that were going pass them in the first place.

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