The son of parents from two different socio-economic levels, Upton Sinclair learned about the disparity of the rich and the poor; he also learned of issues related to alcoholism from his liquor salesman father, who drank excessively and, consequently, cast a shadow upon his family life. Because his family moved around and because he lived with wealthy grandparents for part of his life, Sinclair learned much about various aspects of society.Then, when he went to college, Sinclair majored in law, but having read copiously all his life and supported his education with writing, his true love was writing. But, his concern was with social justice.
At the age of twenty-six, Sinclair became a true muckraker as he disguised himself in Chicago where he worked undercover in meatpacking plants. His expose of the terrible exploitation of workers and the unsanitary conditions in the plants led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the galvanization of efforts to end inhumane labor conditions.
Later, in 1914, Sinclair used his muckraker methods again as he traveled to Colorado where he investigated a violent strike by coal miners against their oppressive conditions. After this investigation, he wrote the novel, King Cole. Another powerful expose, entitled Oil, led to the weakening of the powerful monopoly of J.D. Rockefeller. Indeed, Upton Sinclair's pen was "mightier than the sword."
In the final chapter of The Jungle, Sinclair envisions Socialism becoming the governing power:
We shall have the sham reformers self-stultified and self-convicted, we shall have the radical Demoncracy left without a lie with which to cover its nakedness!And then will begin the rush that will never be checked,...the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicago to our standard!