Chapter 4 - Urban America

Define each term and then write a sentence using the term in the context of this chapter
Jim Crow Laws
Settlement House
Political/Party Boss
Political Machine
Social Darwinism
Poll Tax
Europeans Flood into America: 25 million immigrate to US between1865-1914. More than
½ came from southern Europe (italy, greece, austria-hungary, romania, and serbia)
PUSH/PULL of immigration
PUSH – something so bad it pushed you away from your homelands
* no freedoms, oppression by government/king
* no work, can’t support your family
* starvation – drought, bad crops, famine
PULL – something to good it pulled to you the United States
* opportunities – to have a better life than you were born to
* freedom – vote, religion, speech, from fear
* land ownership – symbol of wealth, power, freedom
Most immigration were unskilled, unable to speak English. They needed housing, food and
jobs. Some found out quickly, life in America wasn’t going to be easy
Atlantic Voyage
• Traveled by boat in STEERAGE – below deck, little sanitation or ventilation, packed in
• “There is neither breathing space below nor deck room above, and the 900 steerage
passengers are packed like cattle. The stenches became unbearable. The food, which is
miserable, is dealt out of hug kettles into the dinner pails provided by the steamship company.
“ from On the Trail of the Immigrant, 1906
Ellis Island
• Most passed thru Ellis Island in New York Harbor (12 million in 60 years)
• A doctor would examine each for disease
• Each would be registers (often their names would be “americanized”
Diverse Cities
• Big Cities made up of many difference ethnicities
• Ethnic groupings like “Little Italy” or the Jewish “Lower East Side”
• They spoke the same language, followed the same cultural practices, went to the same
• These immigrants will change the face of America’s cities and workforce
Immigrants from China will flood the West Coast (poverty, unemployment, famine)
Angel Island will be in San Francisco – like Ellis Island
• Wait for approval could last for months, detained while they waited
Chinese – faced racism much worse than on east coast
• Laborers, servants, skilled tradespeople, merchants
• Many opened own businesses to serve people refused by other businesses
Japanese – came for economic opportunities they could not find in Japan
• As Japan industrialized, many put out of work
Wave of immigration led to feeling s of NATIVISM in some
Nativists opposed immigration for many reasons
• Backlash against Catholics (would become stronger than Protestants)
• Would vote for Catholic officials, often discriminated at work
• Labor Unions believed immigrants would undermine American workers ($$, break strikes)
Restrictions on Asian Immigrants
• Anti-Chinese bias sometimes led to racially motivated violence
• California’s government, then the US government will move to block immigration
• 1882 – Chinese Exclusion Act – barred immigration from China for 10 years
• CA – “all chinese, japanese, and korean children must attend racially segregated schools
• President T. Roosevelt proposed a limit on Japanese immigration in exchange for stopping the
segregation in schools. “Gentlemen’s Agreement” made – not formal but agreed to
Americans migrate to the CITIES
(NYC from 800,000 in 1860 to 3.5 million in 1900)
* Many were immigrants coming to America for a better life
* But many were rural people coming to the cities (jobs, electricity, plumbing , entertainment)
* Steel enabled developers to build up (maximizing the profit they could make) SKYSCRAPERS
* In Florida, swamps were drained to create more land to develop
* Early public transportation systems were built (rail car pulled by horse, trolley cars, subways)
* Congestion caused some cities to build elevated rails
Separation by Class – poor, middle and upper classes lived in different parts of the city
* Early 1800’s, rich built their mansions in heart of city, late 1800’s built out of town
(better transportation – “Streetcar Suburbs)
* Growing middle class moved away from the city center to escape crime/pollution
* Upper classes had maids & servants, freeing up the women to join “Women’s Clubs” that
focused on education and social things, will evolve into charitable and reform groups
Most people lived in the poorer parts of town – packed into small, dingy spaces
dark crowded apartments in which more than one family was packed
(borders, extended family, multigenerational families)
* most families relied on all members of the family earning a little to contribute
* women and children worked outside home to help family survive (low wages)
CITY LIVING: posed risk of crime, violence fire disease and pollution
* rapid growth made these problems even worse
* minor and major crime skyrocketed in packed-in environment
* epidemics spread due to poor sanitation and tight quarters
cities began collecting taxes and spending on program to provide some
relief like police protecting, indoor plumbing, clean water
* where there is public money, the possibility of corruption grows
* POLITICAL MACHINE: informal political group designed to gain power and control over
public money
- would trade jobs, votes, housing, food and protection for political support
PARTY BOSSES: Men who ran the political machines, often keeping some of the
money for themselves
- would find jobs, housing, food for “their people”
- GRAFT: gaining money or power illegally
- accepted bribes to give jobs to contractors at inflated prices
- gave jobs/contracts to unqualified friends
- “Boss Tweed” one of the more notorious party bosses
Political Machines controlled all/most of the city services
Opponents pointed out corruption and increased costs
Proponents said they provided needed services and helped immigrant assimilate
GILDED AGE: A time of marvels, but also a time of corruption, poverty, crime and great disparities
AGE OF INDIVIDUALISM – No matter where you started in life, you could rise up and get as far as
your talents and hard work would take you (Horatio Alger – “Rags to Riches” stories)
SOCIAL DARWINISM – applying Charles Darwin’s theory to society (Herbert Spencer)
* Those who adapt, thrive and move up/on
* Those who don’t, whither away and die (Natural Selection)
* Industrial leaders used this concept to justify their support for laissez-faire government and
their business practices
* Darwinism and the Church: Evolutionary theory clashed with the Church’s view of creation.
Some more radical thinkers believed evolution was God’s way of creating the world
Carnegie had his own version of “Social Darwinism” - The Gospel of Wealth
* People should strive to gain wealth, however possible
* Wealthy people should use PHILANTHROPY to help the less fortunate help themselves
* Building schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, etc gave the poor a more solid foundation
to chase the American dream
UNDERLINE any key points or ideas
CIRCLE any ideas, words that are not clear to you
ARROW many key people
1. Identify basic images
1. Look at the words
1. Using your understanding of the
timeframe in which this cartoon is set,
Society’s problems caused many to rethink how to address them
INDIVIDUALISM, Social Darwinism seemed to clash with compassion
** Challenging Social Darwinism – In an article “Progress and Proverty”, journalist Henry George
argued that the rise of “wealth producing power” should have brought an end to poverty
* Laissez-faire government and Social Darwinist theory was making it worse
Lester Frank Ward - Reform Darwinism – People had succeeded in the universe because of their
ability to cooperate. Gov’t COULD regulate economy, promote education and cure poverty
Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy book – futuristic look at business and government
cooperation creating a Utopian world of no poverty or strife (socialism)
Naturalism in Literature – Naturalism theory was that some people failed in life because of the
circumstances of their lives. Poverty could crush people and cause them to make poor
choices. Nature’s power over civilization
Social Reform Movement: worked to improve conditions in cities according to biblical
ideals of charity and justice. This movement inspired many churches to build gyms,
provide social services and child care and, in general, help the poor
Salvation Army & the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA):
combined faith and an interest in reform
SA – offered aid and religious counseling to the poor
YMCA – helped industrial workers and urban poor by offering bible studies,
citizenship training and group activities. It also provided low cost living
for young men
Settlement House Movement:
established centers in poor immigrant
neighborhoods. They offered everything from medical care to English classes to
kindergartens to recreational programs. HULL HOUSE in CHICAGO
As US become more industrialized, the need for trained/educated workers increased
The number of public schools (no tuition) went from 7.5 M in 1870 to 15.5 M in 1900
Public schools were a crucial link to success for immigrant children. They learned English and
American history - “Americanization”
Public Schools also taught order and discipline –
* separated into grade levels
* drilled on punctuality, neatness and efficiencies (job skills)
* vocational skills taught in high schools (specific trade/work skills)
City children had greater access to public education
African American children faced inequalities (segregation, denial of service)
Realism – A new movement in literature and art. Artists/Authors wanted to portray the world
Thomas Eakins – Artist – painted athletes, surgeons, scientists in action
William Dean Howell – “The Rise of Silas Lapham” described the life a of man in Boston trying to
get ahead
Mark Twain – “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” showed slavery and southern culture
Popular Culture – The standard of living improved enough that people had time/money for
entertainment and recreation
Saloons – become community social centers
Amusement Parks – Coney Island in NY
Professional Sports – Baseball, Boxing - - will spread to college sports
Recreational Sports – tennis, golf, croquet, basketball (an indoor sport)
Vaudeville – skits, animal acts, singers, comedians, acrobats, dancers – short routines
Honky -tonks – music echoed pace of life - RAGTIME
Politics in Washington DC – “Spoils of Office”
Spoils System – when a person was elected, it was EXPECTED of him to give jobs to his
buddies/supporters (that paid well) in exchange for their loyalty & help
* often meant corrupt, inefficient governments & unqualified employees
* each newly elected official fired most workers and replaced them with his own
Civil Service Reforms – President Chester Arthur assassinated by man who felt he did not
get the job he deserved/was promised. Reforms demanded
** Congress passed the Pendleton Act in 1883
+ government jobs were categorized by skills needed
+ applicants would be tested on skills needed
+ top scorers would be offered the jobs
+ originally, only about 10% of government jobs were “civil service” jobs
+ today most government jobs are ‘civil service” jobs
Election of 1884 – the next president, Grover Cleveland tried to please all (some spoils jobs, some reform)
angering most
* Economics would become issue of the time
* Big Powerful Businesses had created unfair advantages for themselves and the Supreme
Court had ruled ONLY the federal government could regulate INTERSTATE commerce
* Public pressure force Congress to act, passing the INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT in 1887. This
act regulated Railroad fees and other interstate commerce issues
* TARIFFS (taxes on imported items) another issue – raised prices & often retaliated against
Republicans Gain Power – Big Business backed the Republicans because the Democrats had passed laws
that cut into their profits, interfered in their business (wanted high tariffs)
* Republican candidate, William H. Harrison, won in one of the closest elections in history
* Some tax cuts and tariff raising were passed, intended to protect American made goods
backfired, causing a steep rise in prices of all goods
* SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT 1890 – designed to curb the power of Big Business by making
monopolies/trusts illegal - when inforced, worked well
POPULISM: a movement to increase farmers’ political power. Economic swings (prices rising and
falling) and overproduction caused the markets to be unstable. Add railroad costs and overseas
competition and the farmer had it tough
Money Supply – Increasing the money supply caused inflation (decline in value of the money)
causing prices to soar. US gov’t stopped printing “greenbacks”, minting silver stopping inflation
but causing deflation (increase in value of money) and a drop in prices
• Price swings hurt farmers badly, went further and further into debt
The Grange Takes Action – cooperative of farmers to work to raise prices, get lower costs. Did
not work very well, but farmers saw benefits of working together.
The Farmers’ Alliance – the step after the Grange, will use coops to purchase products, market
goods. The FA runs into problems when groups won’t work with them (ie-RR) and they try but fail
to impact the prices of goods at home/overseas
1. Describe the problems of urban living in the late 1800’s and explain their causes.
2. “Society does not own any man a living… The fact that a man is here is no demand upon
other people that they shall keep him alive and sustain him. He has got to fight the battle with
nature as every other man has; and if he fights it with the same energy and enterprise and
skill and industry as any other man, I cannot imagine his failing – that is, misfortune apart.”
William Graham Sumner, testimony before the US
House of Representatives, 1879
** Describe the theory of Social Darwinism as it is reflected in the statement above.
** How is Sumner’s Social Darwinism paralleled by the economic doctrine of laissez-faire?
3. Describe several reasons why Europeans immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800’s
While the Grange and FA were good starts, they never gain political power to enact change
Distrustful of both political parties, they create their own, THE POPULIST PARTY to push for reforms
* Unlimited Silver Coinage – would drive prices back up
* Federal Ownership of Railroads – would control costs of shipping on railroads
* Graduated Income Tax – would tax the wealthy to fund government projects
This platform was designed to help the farmers and appeal to organized labor
* 8 hour work day
* Immigrant restrictions
Populist Party issue had little appeal to urban voters (larger group)
Will not win many elections, but got issues out there
1896 Election - took political risk to wait until after Rep. and Dem. Conventions and it failed. The
Populist Party ended up having to endorse Dem. Candidate William Jennings Bryan (who lost) .
After that, the Populist Party declined. They were successful in getting issues out in the open.
Some were adopted by Dems/Rep eventually
RECONSTRUCTION IN THE SOUTH: North/gov’t came into South and forced them to give rights to the
recently freed African Americans. The South found other ways to block them from achieving
power/equality – SHARECROPPING
After Reconstruction:
* Many (6,000+) AA will flee to the West, where they were judged more on their work ethic than
their skin color (EXODUSTERS)
* Election of 1876 – ended the Reconstruction Era (north/gov’t pulled out of the South)
* TAKING AWAY THE RIGHT TO VOTE – 15th Amendment had extended the right to vote to
African American men, but it did not stop states from finding other ways to block the vote
POLL TAX – pay to vote – AA were in deep poverty, could not afford to pay to vote
LITERACY TESTS – most freed slaves unable to read (had been illegal to teach slaves to read)
* LEGALIZING SEGREGATION – used the power of the government to segregate
^^^ Jim Crow Laws – laws that treated whites and blacks differently
^^^ Plessey v. Ferguson (1896) – Separate but Equal will be the standard for the next 60 years
Read p. 136-137
Explain HOW each person reacted to the segregation and violence of the
(take notes on your guided note sheet)
* Ida B. Wells
* Mary Church Terrell
* Booker T. Washington
* W.E.B. DuBois
USE YOUR BOOKS (P. 136-137)
The African American communities responded to violence and discrimination many ways
- after hundreds of African American people were lynched, Ida Wells crusades against lynching
- She wrote a book depicting lynching and the violence faced in the South
- Congress rejected an anti-lynching law, but the exposure caused a drop in lynchings/violence
- worked with suffragist movement, helped found the NAACP
- led a boycott against a department store that refused to allow AA to shop in their store
CALLS FROM COMPROMINSE – Booker T. Washington called on AA to focus on economic goals rather
than political ones.
- called AA’s to postpone their push for equal rights until they were ready to use them
W.E.B. DuBOIS REJECTS COMPROMISE – believed they had to push for equal rights or they would never
receive them – especially the right to VOTE

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