Chapter 25 - America Moves to the City, 1865-1900 I. The Urban Frontier
A. Cities grew up and out, with famed architects perfecting skyscrapers.
1. The city grew from a small compact one that people could walk through to get around to a huge metropolis that required commuting by electric trolleys.
2. Electricity, indoor plumbing, and telephones made city life more alluring.
B. Department stores like Macy’s and Marshall Field’s provided urban working-class jobs and also attracted urban middle-class shoppers.
1. The move to city produced lots of trash. While farmers always reused everything or fed “trash” to animals, city dwellers, with their mail-order stores (Sears-which made things cheap and easy to buy) could simply throw away the things that they didn’t like anymore.
C. In cities, criminals flourished, and impure water, uncollected garbage, unwashed bodies, and droppings made cities smelly and unsanitary.
1. “Dumbbell tenements” were the worst since they were dark, cramped, and had little sanitation or ventilation.
2. The wealthy of the city-dwellers fled to suburbs to escape.
II. The New Immigration
A. “Old Immigration”- Until the 1880s, most of the immigrants had come from the British Isles and western Europe (Germany and Scandinavia) and were quite literate and accustomed to some type of representative government.
B. New Immigrants: Immigrants from southern and eastern Europe who formed a recognizable wave of immigration from the 1880s until 1924, in contrast to the immigrants from Western Europe who has come before them. These new immigrants congregated the ethnic urban neighborhoods, where they worried many native-born Americans, some of whom responded with nativist anti-immigrant campaigns and other of whom introduced urban reforms to help immigrants assimilate.
III. Southern Europe Uprooted
A. Many Europeans came to America because there was no room in Europe, and there wasn’t much employment, since industrialization had eliminated many jobs.
1. America was also often praised to Europeans, as people boasted of eating everyday and having freedom and much opportunity.
2. Profit-seeking Americans also exaggerated the benefits of America to Europeans, so that they could get cheap labor and more money.
B. However, many immigrants to America stayed for a short period of time and then returned to Europe, and even those that remained (including persecuted Jews, who propagated in New York) tried very hard to retain their own culture and customs.
1. However, the children of the immigrants sometimes rejected this Old World culture and plunged completely into American life.
IV. Reactions to the New Immigration
A. The federal government did little to help immigrants assimilate into American society, so immigrants were often controlled by powerful “bosses” who provided jobs and shelter in return for political support at the polls.
B. Gradually, the nation’s conscience awoke to the trouble of the slums, and Walter Rauschenbusch and Washington Gladden began preaching the “Social Gospel,” insisting that churches tackle the burning social issues of the day.
C. Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889 to teach children and adults the skills and knowledge that they would need to survive and succeed in America.
1. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, but her pacifism was looked down upon by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
D. Settlement houses: Mostly run by middle-class native-born women, settlement houses in immigrant neighborhoods provided housing, food, education, childcare, cultural activities, an social economic connections for new arrivals to the US. Many women, both native-born and immigrant, developed life-long passions for social activism in the settlement houses, Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago and Lillian Wald’s Henry Street Settlement in New York City were two of the most prominent.
1. Settlement houses became centers for women’s activism