The Progressive Era

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by Dantany
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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The Progressive Era

After the release of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, many reformers took action to make the food packaging industry more sanitary for the public. Shortly after the book was written, reformers made it a priority to get laws passed for better packaging conditions. On June 30th, 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. This law provided federal inspection of meat products and forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated food products and poisonous patent medicines, making the food packaging system safer. The FDA currently ensures quality meats that are inspected for our safety and makes our daily life more sanitary.

Growing cities cannot provide their people with the necessary services such as police, housing and fire protection. Just last week on March 25, the Triangle shirtwaist factory caught fire, killing 146 women because of neglected safety features. Not only was there no fire protection but the workers were locked in the factory to prevent them from exiting the factory during work hours. The working class continually suffers from hazardous conditions. After long hours at factories, workers return home to tenements- small, dirty, with too many people in one room- that spread disease like wildfire. Roosevelt has put in place the Square Deal program to regulate these evergrowing and self-interested businesses and to protect the workers and consumers of our cities. Yet as the cities continue to urbanize, these problems continue to grow and are not being resolved.

Rapid growth of cities is leading to increasing problems with space and resources. Immigration and urbanization are radically changing the face of cities. The rapid growth has brought skyscrapers, pollution, slums known as tenements and sanitation and health problems. And with this has come corruption. Progressives activists throughout the cities of the United States are fighting to make government more efficient and democratic and are spreading Social Gospel, a belief that society must take responsibility for the less fortunate. Progressive presidents are helping to put these desires into action. This gives up hope that maybe we can give some infrastructure to our cities and improve life for the majority of the inhabitants in them.

Just a few years ago in 1906, Upton Sinclair wrote a documentary that sent the food industry into an uproar. In his grueling novel, Sinclair described the incredibly unsanitary circumstances of food production in major city factories. In his book, he explained the horrific conditions of the packaging industry, stating that meat would be grinded along with poisoned rats that were found in the meat containers and workers had no place to wash their hands, so they would wash them in the water used for meat preparation. Upton Sinclair's novel was an eye opener for many reformers, and soon there would be a new set of laws for the guidelines of healthy food packaging.

The Progressive Era

April 1st, 1911

Growing Cities, Growing Problems

FDA to the Rescue

The Jungle

More Work, More Problems


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