Upton Sinclair quotes

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Upton Sinclair

Birthdate: 20. September 1878
Date of death: 25. November 1968
Other names: Upton Beall Sinclair

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. was an American writer who wrote nearly 100 books and other works in several genres. Sinclair's work was well known and popular in the first half of the 20th century, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943.

In 1906, Sinclair acquired particular fame for his classic muck-raking novel The Jungle, which exposed labor and sanitary conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muck-raking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the "free press" in the United States. Four years after publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence". He is also well remembered for the line: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." He used this line in speeches and the book about his campaign for governor as a way to explain why the editors and publishers of the major newspapers in California would not treat seriously his proposals for old age pensions and other progressive reforms.Many of his novels can be read as historical works. Writing during the Progressive Era, Sinclair describes the world of industrialized America from both the working man's and the industrialist's points of view. Novels such as King Coal , The Coal War , Oil! , and The Flivver King describe the working conditions of the coal, oil, and auto industries at the time.

The Flivver King describes the rise of Henry Ford, his "wage reform" and his company's Sociological Department, to his decline into antisemitism as publisher of The Dearborn Independent. King Coal confronts John D. Rockefeller Jr., and his role in the 1913 Ludlow Massacre in the coal fields of Colorado.

Sinclair was an outspoken socialist and ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a nominee from the Socialist Party. He was also the Democratic Party candidate for Governor of California during the Great Depression, running under the banner of the End Poverty in California campaign, but was defeated in the 1934 elections. Wikipedia

Works

The Brass Check
The Brass Check
Upton Sinclair
The Jungle
The Jungle
Upton Sinclair
Dragon's Teeth
Dragon's Teeth
Upton Sinclair

„Men of unlimited means live lives of unbridled lust, and then, in their old age, they are helpless victims of their own impulses.“

—  Upton Sinclair

https://books.google.com/books?id=CbfTjcDmA6gC&pg=RA1-PA26&lpg=RA1-PA26&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false The Book of Life (1921)

„It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!“

—  Upton Sinclair

Source: I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), ; repr. University of California Press, 1994, p. 109.
Context: I used to say to our audiences: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

„What life means to me is to put the content of Shelley into the form of Zola.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Cosmopolitan (October 1906)
Context: What life means to me is to put the content of Shelley into the form of Zola. The proletarian writer is a writer with a purpose; he thinks no more of "art for art's sake" than a man on a sinking ship thinks of painting a beautiful picture in the cabin; he thinks of getting ashore — and then there will be time enough for art.

„But I have a conscience and a religious faith, and I know that our liberties were not won without suffering, and may be lost again through our cowardice. I intend to do my duty to my country.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter to the Louis D. Oaks, Los Angeles Chief of Police (17 May 1923)
Context: I intend to do what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and in the meantime I am not frightened by your menaces. I am not a giant physically; I shrink from pain and filth and vermin and foul air, like any other man of refinement; also, I freely admit, when I see a line of a hundred policeman with drawn revolvers flung across a street to keep anyone from coming onto private property to hear my feeble voice, I am somewhat disturbed in my nerves. But I have a conscience and a religious faith, and I know that our liberties were not won without suffering, and may be lost again through our cowardice. I intend to do my duty to my country.

„I am a person who has never used violence himself. My present opinion is that people who have obtained the ballot should use it and solve their problems in that way.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Interview with Rene Fulop-Miller (24 March 1923)
Context: I am a person who has never used violence himself. My present opinion is that people who have obtained the ballot should use it and solve their problems in that way. In the case of peoples who have not obtained the ballot, and who cannot control their states, I again find in my own mind a division of opinion, which is not logical, but purely a rough practical judgment. My own forefathers got their political freedom by violence; that is to say, they overthrew the British crown and made themselves a free Republic. Also by violence they put an end to the enslavement of the black race on this continent.

„I know you are brave and unselfish people, making sacrifices for a great principle but I cannot join you.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter to the "Anti-Enlistment League" organized by Jessie Wallace Hughan (20 September 1915)
Context: I know you are brave and unselfish people, making sacrifices for a great principle but I cannot join you. I believe in the present effort which the allies are making to suppress German militarism. I would approve of America going to their assistance. I would enlist to that end, if ever there be a situation where I believe I could do more with my hands than I could with my pen.

„I'm going to stop squandering money for things I don't want. I'm going to stop accepting invitations, and meeting people I don't like and don't want to know.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Metropolis (1908)
Context: I'm going to stop squandering money for things I don't want. I'm going to stop accepting invitations, and meeting people I don't like and don't want to know. I've tried your game — I've tried it hard, and I don't like it; and I'm going to get out before it's too late. I'm going to find some decent and simple place to live in; and I'm going down town to find out if there isn't some way in New York for a man to earn an honest living!

„I intend to do what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and in the meantime I am not frightened by your menaces.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter to the Louis D. Oaks, Los Angeles Chief of Police (17 May 1923)
Context: I intend to do what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and in the meantime I am not frightened by your menaces. I am not a giant physically; I shrink from pain and filth and vermin and foul air, like any other man of refinement; also, I freely admit, when I see a line of a hundred policeman with drawn revolvers flung across a street to keep anyone from coming onto private property to hear my feeble voice, I am somewhat disturbed in my nerves. But I have a conscience and a religious faith, and I know that our liberties were not won without suffering, and may be lost again through our cowardice. I intend to do my duty to my country.

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„The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion.“

—  Upton Sinclair, book The Profits of Religion

Book Seven : The Church of the Social Revolution, "Christ and Caesar"
The Profits of Religion (1918)
Context: In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had "all things in common, except women;" they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil.
But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion.

„It was the measure of a whole society — their ideals and their standards! It was the way they spent their time, repeating nasty scandals about each other; living in an atmosphere of suspicion and cynicism, with endless whispering and leering, and gossip of low intrigue.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Metropolis (1908)
Context: A new burst of rage swept over him — What did it matter whether it was true or not — whether anything was true or not? What did it matter if anybody had done all the hideous and loathsome things that everybody else said they had done? It was what everybody was saying! It was what everybody believed — what everybody was interested in! It was the measure of a whole society — their ideals and their standards! It was the way they spent their time, repeating nasty scandals about each other; living in an atmosphere of suspicion and cynicism, with endless whispering and leering, and gossip of low intrigue.

„I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter to Norman Thomas (25 September 1951) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsocialismP.htm
Context: The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to "End Poverty in California" I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.

„Over the vast plain I wander, observing a thousand strange and incredible and terrifying manifestations of the Bootstrap-lifting impulse.“

—  Upton Sinclair, book The Profits of Religion

The Profits of Religion (1918)
Context: Over the vast plain I wander, observing a thousand strange and incredible and terrifying manifestations of the Bootstrap-lifting impulse. There is, I discover, a regular propaganda on foot; a long time ago — no man can recall how far back — the Wholesale Pickpockets made the discovery of the ease with which a man's pockets could be rifled while he was preoccupied with spiritual exercises, and they began offering prizes for the best essays in support of the practice. Now their propaganda is everywhere triumphant, and year by year we see an increase in the rewards and emoluments of the prophets and priests of the cult. The ground is covered with stately temples of various designs, all of which I am told are consecrated to Bootstrap-lifting.

Introductory, "Bootstrap-lifting"

„American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whenever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsocialismP.htm to John Reed (22 October 1918)
Context: American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whenever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it. The same thing is not true of Germany, and until it was made true in Germany, there could be no free political democracy anywhere else in the world — to say nothing of any free social democracy. My revolutionary friends who will not recognize this fact seem to me like a bunch of musicians sitting down to play a symphony concert in a forest where there is a man-eating tiger loose. For my part, much as I enjoy symphony concerts, I want to put my fiddle away in its case and get a rifle and go out and settle with the tiger.

„Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace.“

—  Upton Sinclair, book The Profits of Religion

Book Seven : The Church of the Social Revolution, "Christ and Caesar"
The Profits of Religion (1918)
Context: In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had "all things in common, except women;" they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil.
But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion.

„I say if Germany be allowed to win this war — then we in America shall have to drop every other activity and devote the next twenty or thirty years to preparing for a last-ditch defence of the democratic principle.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter of resignation from the Socialist Party (September 1917) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsocialismP.htm
Context: I have lived in Germany and know its language and literature, and the spirit and ideals of its rulers. Having given many years to a study of American capitalism, I am not blind to the defects of my own country; but, in spite of these defects, I assert that the difference between the ruling class of Germany and that of America is the difference between the seventeenth century and the twentieth.
No question can be settled by force, my pacifist friends all say. And this in a country in which a civil war was fought and the question of slavery and secession settled! I can speak with especial certainty of this question, because all my ancestors were Southerners and fought on the rebel side; I myself am living testimony to the fact that force can and does settle questions — when it is used with intelligence.
In the same way I say if Germany be allowed to win this war — then we in America shall have to drop every other activity and devote the next twenty or thirty years to preparing for a last-ditch defence of the democratic principle.

„He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church.“

—  Upton Sinclair, book The Profits of Religion

Book Seven : The Church of the Social Revolution, "Christ and Caesar"
The Profits of Religion (1918)
Context: In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had "all things in common, except women;" they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil.
But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion.

„The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label.“

—  Upton Sinclair

Letter to Norman Thomas (25 September 1951) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsocialismP.htm
Context: The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to "End Poverty in California" I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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