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A French philosopher once said that the greatest tyranny of democracy occurred when the minority ruled the majority Rideout 1 This was true of American society in the early 1900s when monopolistic capitalists basically enslaved the common man Upton Sinclairs The Jungle exposes the appalling conditions under which the working class lived Sinclair depicts the horrors of this capitalistic society and idealizes Socialism through his use of metaphors sensory imagery and Naturalism The time period between 1850 to 1900 saw a significant change of emphasis from agriculture to industry in the US economy This change resulted in a huge concentration of financial power in the hands of a few people During this time the number of factory workers increased ten times Large businesses grew prosperous but their increasing wealth failed to benefit the workers whose wages dropped even though prices steadily rose Faced with unsafe unsanitary and unstable working conditions factory workers lacked both economic and emotional security Moss and Wilson 174 They would find powerful allies in the American press who investigated the mistreatment of workers and sought to expose the corruption of industrial capitalism These journalists were known as muckrakers They focused their early attention on the meat-packaging and patent medicines industries and used their influence to get the Pure Food and Drug Bill entered in the Senate in 1902 even though it remained untouched by Congress until 1905 Moss and Wilson 176 In 1904 the Socialist weekly The Appeal to Reason commissioned Sinclair to investigate and document living and working conditions in Chicagos stockyards Sinclair spent seven weeks in the autumn of 1904 researching his novel in the Packingtown district of Chicago where the stockyard workers had just lost a strike for improved wages Although an outsider Sinclair interviewed workers lawyers doctors saloon keepers -- anyone who knew anything about the corruption and working conditions in the packing houses To better collect his evidence he often penetrated the meat-packing plants disguised
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