Progressives believed there were many problems in our society. They set out to correct many of these problems by bringing attention to them and then getting laws passed and policies created to deal with these issues.
Progressives believed they had a moral obligation to make sure businesses were doing the right things. When they realized how unsafe the conditions were in the meat industry, they knew they had to act. When they discovered that some businesses were selling falsely labeled food and drugs, the progressives knew this had to stop. They believed they had a moral obligation correct these wrongs.
Progressives also knew a lot was at stake if they didn’t take action. People’s lives were at stake. People were getting sick and dying from eating tainted meat. People were paying more money for what they believed was higher quality foods and safe medicines when, in reality, that wasn’t always the case. Progressives believed it was wrong for businesses to knowingly do dishonest things and profit from doing these things. They knew people’s lives were being endangered.
Many businesses supported the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. In many ways, they had no choice. When people read Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, the people demanded that changes be made. The same was true when the people discovered that businesses were selling falsely labeling food and medicine. The public outcry for change was so strong it would have been unwise for businesses to ignore that outcry. Additionally, businesses that were following the rules had no reason to fear regulation. They realized their industry would be in better shape if people had confidence in the food they were buying and in the medicines they were using. Regulation would add credibility to their industry. Only those businesses that were doing dishonest things had reason to fear regulation. Finally, President Roosevelt supported regulating these industries because he felt they were endangering the public’s safety with their actions in order to make more money. President Roosevelt was a strong political force and opposing him wasn’t a wise move politically.