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Welcome to our series that brings you original content from individuals in the news. We’re calling it “Verbatim” because these posts will let the authors speak for themselves. 

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Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20th, 1878. Over the course of his long career, he wrote over 100 books, becoming especially known for the novel The Jungle, which exposed labor and sanitary conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry. The uproar that followed the publication of this book led to the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. That same year, Sinclair wrote an article for The North American Review called “Markets and Misery.” It begins:

The disinterested lover of his country who looks round him at the present day finds many things which seem to him disturbing. We are a proverbially optimistic people, and are accustomed to do a good deal of trusting to the Lord in our emergencies; yet there can hardly be an intelligent man to-day who is not conscious of deep disquietude in his soul. We have witnessed the concentration of the industrial powers of the country in the hands of a few men, who have apparently gotten beyond all control of government and law. We have witnessed stroke afterstroke of “high finance,” which we have perceived to differ little from open robbery, and which we have yet been powerless to prevent.

The rest of his fascinating article can be downloaded and read here.


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The North American Review, Vol. 182, No. 593 (Apr., 1906), pp. 591-603
University of Northern Iowa