The Progressive Era Of The United States

1558 WordsApr 5, 20167 Pages
The United States is a country that has been built on political, economical and social reform. One revolutionary era in particular that has played a major role in the establishment of new laws and acts which are used today is the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era was an age of political reform during the late 1800’s to early 1920’s, which also contained a lot of social advocacy for workers’ rights. Before the social reforms began in this era, there were numerous instances where poor and immigrant individuals were abused by corrupt political systems. In order to expose the corruption, many journalists who became known as “muckrakers” began writing for popular magazines during the Progressive Era. One journalist who ultimately shed the…show more content…
Sinclair uses the characterization of Jurgis, the main character in the novel, to demonstrate the harmful effects which capitalism can have on an individual in the working world. Jurgis who starts off in the novel as a strong able bodied man finds himself along with his family, victims to a ruthless political machine that runs Packingtown, the district where they reside in. These political machines are political organizations which commit acts of corruption and debauchery. After settling down in Chicago for work the family quickly enter the meatpacking industry to make money to support themselves. However, they soon realize that all the big businesses care about is using workers for cheap and unreasonable labor then throwing them aside once their health begins to deteriorate. Jurgis and his family experience their first misfortune when they believe that they purchase a house but are in reality only renting it then go on to be kicked out after their lack of economic funds despite already putting down so much money on it. The family goes on to face many perils such as extreme poverty, starvation and even death in Sinclair’s novelization. In a sense these occurrences are very similar if not actual depictions of the social theory, Social Darwinism. This theory basically states that only the strong will survive while the weak, which are the
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