THE URBAN FRONTIER Urbanization increased dramatically in the decades following the Civil War. The urban population tripled from 1870 to 1900. By 1900, 4 out of 10 Americans were city dwellers.
How did the city-ward drift affect both the Europe and the U.S.?
New York City’s Lower East Side, 1900: Population densities in early 20 th century American cities were among the highest in the world. Mulberry St. was at the heart of New York’s “Little Italy.”
The growth of American metropolises was spectacular. By 1900 New York was the second largest city in the world and Chicago had become America’s most important inland city. Cities grew up and out – what was the architectural development that allowed for the tremendous growth? What innovations allowed for this new type of architecture?
Americans were also becoming commuters, carted daily between home and job on the mass transit lines that radiated out from central cities to surrounding areas. Electric trolleys propelled city limits explosively outward. The compact and communal “walking city” gave way to the immense and impersonal megalopolis, carved into different districts for business, industry, and residential neighborhoods.
The “transportation revolution” that coincided with the “urban revolution” included the construction of great bridges connecting areas formerly separated by physical geography.
Cavernous department stores such as Macy’s and Marshall Fields, attracted urban middle-class shoppers and provided urban working-class jobs, many of them for women. These bustling businesses heralded a dawning era of consumerism and accentuated widening class divisions.
Why couldn’t rural America compete with the growing American cities? Identify & describe the new components of life-style ushered-in by the “urban revolution.” What emerged as one of the greatest issues of the urban age?
Identify & describe the new components of the life-style ushered-in by the “urban revolution.” What emerged as one of the greatest issues of the urban age?
Describe the plight of the person living in a slum tenement.
The jagged skyline of growing American cities could not fully conceal the problems of fast growth. Identify the major problems associated with urban growth?
For many, what was the worst aspect of urban living?
THE NEW IMMIGRATION In each decade from 1850 through 1870, more than 2 million migrants had stepped onto America’s shores. By the 1880’s more than 5 million arrived.
How were the cities monuments of contradiction? What did the most successful of the urban dwellers ultimately do?
Immigration patterns distinctively changed over the decades – explain the pattern of change.
Certain groups, such as the Italians, had little experience with democracy and many were illiterate and impoverished. They clustered together in “ethnic quarters” that grew larger than many of the largest cities of the same nationality in the Old World. Some Americans who had arrived earlier were asking whether the nation was a melting pot, a stew kettle, or a dumping ground.
SOUTHERN EUROPE UPROOTED Why were so many Europeans migrating to America? For Europeans, what was the key component of “American fever”? Ironically, many of the immigrants never intended to become Americans in any case – why? Even those who stayed in America struggled heroically to preserve their traditional culture. The children of the immigrants grew up speaking fluent English and adopting the “new” American culture. They proved important links for their parents in this “new” world. But frictions often developed as the children began rejecting Old Country customs and manners.
REACTIONS to the NEW IMMIGRATION Explain how America’s govt. system was ill prepared for the flood of immigrants. Which individuals, ironically, did more to help the immigrants? What was their motivation?
One middle-class woman who was deeply dedicated to uplifting the urban masses was Jane Addams . Provide a profile. Explain her crusade and her best-known accomplishment. Was she universally applauded for her efforts?
NARROWING the WELCOME MAT The first wave of “nativism” occurred in the 1840’s and 1850’s with the arrival of the Irish and German immigrants. A second wave “nativism” occurred in the 1880’s. Why did the immigrants of the 1880’s alarm the “nativists?”
Anti-foreign organizations, reminiscent of the “Know-Nothings” of antebellum days, were now revived in a different guise. Identify these anti-foreign organizations and describe their efforts. Why was organized labor quick to support the “nativist” cause?
Congress finally nailed up partial bars against the inpouring immigrants. Provide examples of legislation. In 1886 the Statue of Liberty arose in New York harbor, a gift from France. To many nativists, the noble words on the base of the statue described only too accurately the “scum” washed up by the New Immigrant tides. Was this nativism justified? Was it hypocritical? How are we indebted to these immigrants?
CHURCHES CONFRONT the URBAN CHALLENGE The swelling size & changing character of the urban population posed sharp challenges to American churches. The mounting emphasis was on materialism. Money was the accepted measure of achievement, and the new gospel of wealth proclaimed that God caused the righteous to prosper. A new generation of urban revivalists emerged (Lyman Moody) – preached a gospel of kindness and forgiveness. An important new faith was the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science), founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. She preached that the true practice of Christianity heals sickness. Urbanites also participated in a new kind of religious-affiliated organization, the YMCA and the YWCA.
DARWIN DISRUPTS the CHURCHES Old-time religion received many blows from modern trends, including a booming sale of books that offered alternatives to traditional religious orthodoxy. The most unsettling was Charles Darwin’s, On the Origin of Species (1859). Who was Charles Darwin? And describe his controversial theory. The furious battle over Darwinism created rifts in the churches and colleges of the post-Civil War era. There was a backlash against “Modernists.” But Darwinism did much to loosen religious moorings and to promote unbelief.
THE LUST for LEARNING Public education continued its upward climb. Americans were accepting the truism that a free govt. can’t function successfully if the people are illiterate and ignorant. Spectacular was the spread of high schools – secondary education was gaining support as a birthright of every citizen. Crowded cities, despite their cancers, generally provided better educational facilities than the old one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON and EDUCATION for BLACK PEOPLE War-torn and impoverished, the South lagged far behind other regions in public education, and African-Americans suffered most severely. A staggering 44% of nonwhites were illiterate in 1900. The foremost champion of black education was an ex-slave, Booker T. Washington .
Washington headed the Tuskegee Institute. Explain his approach to improving the plight of black Americans. Why did this approach produce criticism amongst other black leaders? The most famous faculty member was George Washington Carver . What was his claim to fame?
Other black leaders, notably, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois , assailed Booker T. Washington as an “Uncle Tom” who was condemning their race to manual labor and perpetual inferiority.
Du Bois demanded complete equality for blacks, social as well as economic, and helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. Rejecting Washington’s gradualism and separatism, he demanded that the “talented tenth” of the black community be given full and immediate access to the mainstream of American life. Many of Du Bois’s differences with Washington reflected the contrasting life experiences of southern and northern blacks.
THE HALLOWED HALLS of IVY Colleges and universities also increased dramatically after the Civil War. A college education increasingly seemed indispensable to achieve the golden apple of success. Women, too, were enjoying gains in higher education. The truly phenomenal growth of higher education owed much to the Morrill Act (1862). Describe this law. Private philanthropy also richly supplemented federal grants to higher education. Who were many of these philanthropists? Justin Morrill
THE MARCH of the MIND Cut-and-dried, the old classical theologian-based curriculum in the colleges was on the way out, as the new industrialization brought insistent demands for “practical” courses and specialized training in the sciences. Winds of “dangerous doctrines” threatened freedom of teaching in the colleges. Disagreeable incidents involved the dismissal of professors who taught evolution or expressed hostility to high tariffs. Medical schools and medical science after the Civil War were prospering and the new gains were reflected in improved public health. Pragmatism as an emerging philosophy that competed with religious doctrine was emerging.
THE APPEAL of the PRESS Americans were becoming more literate and enjoying more leisure time to read both books and magazines. Sensationalism, at the same time, was beginning to debase the public taste. Critics now complained in vain of these “presstitutes.” Two new journalistic tycoons emerged. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst .
APOSTLES of REFORM Henry George addressed “the great enigma of our time” – “the association of progress with poverty.”
THE NEW MORALITY Victoria Woodhull shook the pillars of conventional morality when she publicly proclaimed her belief in free love in 1871. The antics of the Woodhull sisters and Anthony Comstock exposed the battle going on in the late 19 th century over sexual attitudes and the place of women.
Economic freedom encouraged sexual freedom, and the “new morality” began to be reflected in soaring divorce rates, the spreading practice of birth control, and increasingly frank discussion of sexual topics.
FAMILIES and WOMEN in the CITY Explain how the urban environment was hard on families. How did urban life also dictate changes in work habits and even in family size?
Fiery feminists continued to insist on the ballot. They had been demanding the vote since before the Civil War, but many high-minded female reformers had temporarily shelved the cause of women to battle for the rights of blacks. Carrie Catt stressed the desirability of giving women the vote if they were to continue to discharge their traditional duties as homemakers and mothers in the growing cities.
PROHIBITION of ALCOHOL and SOCIAL PROGRESS Alarming gains by Demon Rum spurred the temperance reformers to redoubled zeal. Especially obnoxious to them was the shutter-doored corner saloon. Liquor consumption had increased during the nerve-racking days of the Civil War, and immigrants accustomed to alcohol in the Old Country were hostile to restraints. The National Prohibition party (1869) polled a sprinkling of votes in ensuing presidential elections. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organized in 1874.
Banners of other social crusaders were aloft. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was created in 1866. The American Red Cross was launched in 1881, with the dynamic and diminutive Clara Barton at the helm.
THE BUSINESS of AMUSEMENT Fun and frolic were not neglected by the workaday American. Varied diversions beckoned.
A gladiatorial trend toward spectator sports, rather than participative sports, was exemplified by baseball, football, and boxing.
Three crazes swept the country in the closing decades of the 19 th century, croquet, basketball, and bicycling. The low-framed “safety” bicycle came to replace the high-seated model. By 1893 a million bicycles were in use.