"Crushed" was inspired by the classic The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.
Just some quotes from the book:
"So from to bottom the place is simply a seething cauldron of jealousies and hatreds; there is no loyalty or decency anywhere about it, there is no place in it where a man counted for anything against a dollar." Chapter 5, pg. 70
"He has no wit to trace back the social crime to its far sources-he could not say that it is the thing men have called "the system" that is crushing him to the earth; that it is the packers, his masters, who has their brutal will to him from the seat of justice."
Chapter 16, pg. 191
"Jurgis could see all the truth now-could see himself through the whole long course of events, the victim of ravenous vultures that had torn into his vitals and devoured him; of fiends that had racked and tortured him, mocking him, meantime, jeering in his face." Chapter 18, pg. 212
"Ah what agony is that, what despair, when the tomb of memory is rent open and the ghosts of his old life comes forth to scourge him!" Chapter 22, pg. 264
"All of these agencies of corruption were banded together, and leagued in blood brotherhood with the politician and the police; more often than not they were one and the same person,--the police captain would own the brothel he pretended to raid, and the politician would open his headquarters in his saloon." Chapter 25, pg. 303
"There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where things are behind bars, and the man is outside." Chapter 27, pg. 337
"In a society dominated by the fact of commercial competition, money is necessarily the test of prowess, and wastefulness the sole criterion of power." Chapter 31, pg. 403