Chapter 25

America Moves to the City



From 1870-1900, the population of American cities had tripled.


The Urban Frontier

By 1890, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia all had populations greater than 1 million.

Louis Sullivan contributed to the development of the skyscraper.  City limits were extended outward by electric trolleys.  People were attracted to cities by amenities like electricity, indoor plumbing, and telephones.

Trash became a large problem in cities due to throwaway bottles, boxes, bags, and cans.


The New Immigration

The New Immigrants of the 1880s came from southern and eastern Europe.  They came from countries with little history of democratic government, where people had grown accustomed to harsh living conditions.

Some Americans feared that the New Immigrants would not assimilate into American culture. They began asking if the nation had become a melting pot or a dumping ground.

Immigrants left their native countries because Europe had no room for them.  The population of Europe nearly doubled in the century after 1800 due to abundant supplies of fish and grain from America and the widespread cultivation of Europe.

"America fever" caught on in Europe as the United States was portrayed as a land of great opportunities.

Persecutions of minorities in Europe sent many immigrants to the United States.  Many immigrants never intended to stay in America forever; a large number returned home with money.  Those immigrants who stayed in the United States struggled to preserve their traditional culture.


Parties and Social Reformers Reach Out

The federal government did little to help immigrants assimilate into American society. 

Community "bosses" took care of immigrants by providing jobs, housing, schools, parks, and hospitals. In return, immigrants voted for these bosses.

Americans gradually became aware of the troubles of cities.  Walter Rauschenbusch and Washington Gladden were Protestant clergymen who sought to apply the lessons of Christianity to the slums and factories.

Settlement House: a house located in a poor, urban area where middle-class people would live and take care of the local community by providing services like healthcare and daycare; became centers of women's activism and of social reform.

Jane Addams established Hull House, the most prominent American settlement house.  Addams condemned war and poverty.  Hull House offered instruction in English, counselling to help immigrants deal with American big-city life, childcare services for working mothers, and cultural activities for neighborhood residents. 

Lillian Wald established Henry Street Settlement in New York in 1893.

Florence Kelley was a lifelong supporter for the welfare of women, children, blacks, and consumers. 

Addams, Wald, and Kelley paved the way for future women to enter the profession of social work. 


Narrowing the Welcome Mat

Antiforeignism, or nativism, arose in the 1880s. Nativists worried that the original Anglo-Saxon population would soon be outnumbered and outvoted, and they blamed immigrants for societal problems.

An antiforeigner organization was the American Protective Association (APA).  It was created in 1887 and it urged to vote against Roman Catholic candidates for office.

In 1882, Congress passed the first restrictive law against immigrants.  It forced criminals and convicts back to their home countries.  In 1885, Congress banned the importation of foreign workers under contract; they were usually contracted for substandard wages. Literacy tests began in 1917.

In 1882, Congress barred the Chinese from immigrating to the United States (Chinese Exclusion Act).


Churches Confront the Urban Challenge

Protestant churches suffered from people moving to the cities.

Dwight Lyman Moody, a Protestant evangelist, preached about kindness and forgiveness.  He contributed to adapting the old-time religion to the facts of city life.  The Moody Bible Institute was founded in Chicago in 1889 to carry out his work.

Roman Catholic and Jewish faiths were gaining enormous strength from the New Immigration.

By 1890, there were over 150 religious denominations in the United States.

The Church of Christ, Scientist was founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy, who preached that the true practice of Christianity heals sickness.

Darwin Disrupts the Churches

Published in 1859 by Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species stated that humans had slowly evolved from lower forms of life.

The theory of evolution cast serious doubt on the idea of religion.  Conservatives stood by their beliefs of God and religion, while Modernists flatly refused to accept the Bible in its entirety.


The Lust for Learning

During this time period, public education and the idea of tax-supported elementary schools and high schools gained support.

Teacher-training schools, called "normal schools", experienced great expansion after the Civil War.

The New Immigration in the 1880s and 1890s brought new strength to the private Catholic parochial schools, which were becoming a major part of the nation's educational structure.

Public schools excluded millions of adults. 

Crowded cities generally provided better educational facilities than the old one-room rural schoolhouses.


Booker T. Washington and Education for Black People

The South lagged far behind other regions in public education. African-Americans suffered the most.

The leading champion of black education was ex-slave Booker T. Washington.  He taught in 1881 at the black normal and industrial school at Tuskegee, Alabama.  His self-help approach to solving the nation's racial problems was labeled "accommodationist" because it did not directly challenge white supremacy.  Washington avoided the issue of social equality, focusing on economic equality.

George Washington Carver taught and researched at Tuskegee Institute in 1896.  He became an internationally famous agricultural chemist.

Black leaders, including Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, attacked Booker T. Washington because Washington condemned the black race to manual labor and perpetual inferiority.  Du Bois helped to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910.


The Hallowed Halls of Ivy

Female and black colleges arose after the Civil War.

The Morrill Act of 1862 granted public lands to the states to support education. Land-grant colleges formed out of these grants.

The Hatch Act of 1887 extended the Morrill Act and provided federal funds for the establishment of agricultural experiment stations in connection with the land-grant colleges.

Millionaires and tycoons donated generously to the educational system.

Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, had the nation's first high-grade graduate school.

Public health increased due to scientific advancements.

William James made a large impact in psychology through his numerous writings.


The Appeal of the Press

The Library of Congress was founded in 1897.  Printing of newspapers was increased by the invention of the Linotype in 1885.

Joseph Pulitzer was a leader in the techniques of news sensationalism (yellow journalism).

William Randolph Hearst built up a chain of newspapers, starting with the San Francisco Examiner in 1887.

The Associated Press, founded in the 1840s, was gaining strength and wealth.


Apostles of Reform

One of the most influential magazines was the New York Nation.  Started in 1865 by Edwin L. Godkin, it pushed for civil-service reform, honesty in government, and a moderate tariff.

Henry George wrote the book Progress and Poverty in 1879, which addressed the association of progress with poverty.  He proposed a 100 percent tax on profits due to increased land value.

Edward Bellamy wrote the socialistic novel, Looking Backward. The book portrayed a time in the future when big businesses are nationalized to serve the public interest.


The New Morality

Victoria Woodhull wrote the periodical, Woodhull and Clafin's Weekly in 1872, which proclaimed her belief in free love.

Anthony Comstock helped pass the Comstock Law, which censored "immoral" material from the public.


Families and Women in the City

Starting in the late 1800s, divorce rates increased and family sizes decreased.

Women became more independent in the urban environment.  Feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman called upon women to abandon their dependent status and contribute to the larger life of the community through productive involvement in the economy.

In 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage Association was founded. 

The re-born suffrage movement and other women's organization excluded black women.

Ida B. Wells helped launch the black women's club movement, which led to the establishment of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896.


Prohibiting Alcohol and Promoting Reform

Liquor consumption increased during the late 1800s.

The National Prohibition Party was created in 1869.  The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was created in 1874.

The Anti-Saloon League convinced states to band the sale of alcohol. In 1919, the 18th  Amendment banned alcohol in America.


Postwar Fiction, Lowbrow and High

As literacy increased, book reading also increased.  "Dime novels" were short books about the wilds of the West.

General Lewis Wallace wrote the novel, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, to combat Darwinism.

Horatio Alger was a Puritan New Englander who wrote more than 100 volumes of juvenile fiction involving New York newsboys in 1866.

Authors started to write about realism, naturalism, and regionalism.

Realism: authors wrote about coarse human comedy and drama of the world

William Dean Howells was the editor-in-chief of the Boston-based Atlantic Monthly. He wrote about ordinary people and contemporary social themes. He was the "father of American realism."

Mark Twain was a journalist, humorist, satirist, and opponent of social injustice.

Henry James wrote about the confrontation of innocent Americans with Europeans. His novels frequently included women as the central characters. He was a master of psychological realism.

Naturalism: writers applied detached scientific objectivity to the study of human beings

Stephen Crane wrote about the unpleasant side of life in urban, industrial America.

Jack London was a famous nature writer who wrote about a possible fascistic revolution in The Iron Heel.

Theodore Dreiser wrote with disregard for prevailing moral standards.

Regionalism: authors wrote about local ways of life before industrialization

In 1899, feminist Kate Chopin wrote about adultery, suicide, and women's ambitions in The Awakening.

Bret Harte was an author of the West, writing of California gold-rush stories.

Black writer Paul Laurence Dunbar embraced the use of black dialect and folklore to discuss southern black culture. 


Artistic Triumphs

Music and portrait painting increased in popularity. 

The phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison, enabled the reproduction of music by mechanical means.


The Business of Amusement

The circus emerged in the 1880s.  Baseball was also emerging as the national pastime, and a professional league was created in the 1870s.

Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith.


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