Upton Sinclair Quotes

Quotes From Upton Sinclair on His Work and Politics

American novelist Upton Beall Sinclair (1878 - 1968)

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Born in 1878, Upton Sinclair is a renowned American author. A prolific writer and a Pulitzer-prize winner, Sinclair's work was rooted in and driven by his strong political convictions in socialism. This is evident in the novel that he is most famous for, The Jungle, which inspired the Meat Inspection Act. The book, based on his experiences with Chicago's meatpacking industry, is highly critical of capitalism. Here are 10 left-leaning quotes from Upton Sinclair on his work and his political views. After reading these, you'll understand why Sinclair was seen as an inspirational but also provocative figure and why President Theodore Roosevelt, who was president at the time The Jungle was published, found the writer a nuisance. 

Relationship With Money

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

"The private control of credit is the modern form of slavery."

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder."

"I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
- Regarding The Jungle

"The rich people not only had all the money, they had all the chance to get more; they had all the knowledge and the power, and so the poor man was down, and he had to stay down."
The Jungle

Man's Flaws

"Man is an evasive beast, given to cultivating strange notions about himself. He is humiliated by his simian ancestry, and tries to deny his animal nature, to persuade himself that he is not limited by its weaknesses nor concerned in its fate. And this impulse may be harmless, when it is genuine. But what are we to say when we see the formulas of heroic self-deception made use of by unheroic self-indulgence?"
Profits of Religion

"It is foolish to be convinced without evidence, but it is equally foolish to refuse to be convinced by real evidence."


"You don't have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn't like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I've been trying to change it ever since."

Societal Cynicism 

"Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters."

"The great corporation which employed you lied to you, and lied to the whole country—from top to bottom it was nothing but one gigantic lie."
- The Jungle 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lombardi, Esther. "Upton Sinclair Quotes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/upton-sinclair-quotes-741426. Lombardi, Esther. (2020, August 28). Upton Sinclair Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/upton-sinclair-quotes-741426 Lombardi, Esther. "Upton Sinclair Quotes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/upton-sinclair-quotes-741426 (accessed March 26, 2023).