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18 The Age of the City 1

The Urbanization of America

Urbanization is the migration from countryside to the city
The Lure of the City
Without immigration, the natural increase of urban areas would be very low
Attracted ppl from countryside bc it offered conveniences, entertainments, and cultural
experiences unavailable in rural communities
Cities gave women the opportunity to act in ways that would violate propriety in smaller
Allowed a LGBTQ+ cultures to grow without as much hostility
New forms of transportation made migration easier
Railroads made it simple, quick, and inexpensive
Steam-powered ocean liners created a v/ competitive shipping industry, allowing
foreigners to travel cheaper & faster than previously
Main groups migrating to cities included
Young, rural woman who had limited economic opportunities & were living in harsh
S Black ppl went to escape the poverty, debt, violence, and oppression faced in the S
Took jobs of cooks, janitors, domestic servants, etc.
Bl women > Bl men in cities
New immigrants from abroad
10 million between 1860-1890 & 18 million more 3 decades after
Came from Canada, Mexico, Latin America, China, & Japan. But the main amount
came from S & E Europe: Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Slovaks, Russian Jews, Armenians,
Most educated and prosperous, namely Germans & Scandinavians BUT lacked
capital to buy land/necessary education to establish themselves so they had to go
into industrial work
The Ethnic City
By 1890, pop of major urban areas had a lot of foreign-born immigrants & children
87% Chicago, 80% New York City, 84% Milwaukee and Detroit
In the USA, no immigrating national group dominated
Most were rural ppl & adjusting to city life was
To ease pain, national groups formed close-knit ethnic communities (Italian, Polish,
Jewish, Slavic, Chinese, French, Canadian, Mexican, & other neighborhoods)
Some ethnic neighborhoods had ppl who migrated to America from the same
province/town/village. In their neighborhoods, they could find newspapers and theaters in
their native languages, stores selling fav native foods, churches, etc.
Kept close ties w/ native countries
Some ethnic gropus advanced economically more rapidly than others
By huddling together in ethnic neighborhoods, immigrant groups would reinforce
cultural values of previous societies
Whatever they valued predominated how they acted, their family ties, etc which
affected progress
Many neighborhoods desired for assimilation
Many new arrivals to the USA were influenced by Americanization, the romantic visions of
the new world, and would hold this idea of what an American is true to them
Many 1st wave immigrants worked hard to shed their culture to be more American
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 2

2nd generation immigrants were more likely to break from old ways to assimilate
completely, this brought contempt vs grandparents who wanted to preserve old culture
The role between men & women was challenged as they assimilated
Many immigrant women, despite their heritage, worked outside of the home and
developed friendships, interests, and attachments separate from the family
Brought lots of tension
Not always a choice. Native-born Americans encouraged it on purpose & subconsciously as
Schools were taught in English & employers insisted workers speak in English
Most stores sold mainly American products
Church leaders promoted assimilation
Immigrants clinginess to their native culture provoked fear & resentment in the American
population. Lots of ppl were acting out of personal fears & prejudices bc it corrupted the
world as they knew it
Other native laborers were often incensed by willingness of immigrants to accept lower
jobs & take jobs of the strikers
In 1887, Henry Bowers founded the American Protective Association, a group committed to
stopping immigrants
By 1894 had 500k members and chapters in the NE & Mid W
In 1894, 5 Harvard alumni founded the Immigration Restriction League which dedicated
itself to screening immigrants w/ literacy tests and other standards to separate the wanted
vs unwanted
Avoided crude conspiracy theories and xenophobia, which the American Protective
Association adopted
Educated middle-class ppl supported it more
In 1882, Congress responded to a strong anti-Asian sentiment by restricting Chinese
immigration. They also denied entry to undesirables (convicts, paupers, mentally
incompetent) & placed a 50 cent tax on each person admitted
Later legislation in 1890s enlarged the list of those barred from immigration and upped
the tax
Congress passed a literacy requirement for immigrants in 1897 but President Grover
Cleveland vetoed it
Restrictions had little success bc lots of native born Americans welcomed and exerted
strong political pressure vs restrictionists
Immigration was helping create a rapidly growing economy

The Urban Landscape

Rapid growth of cities produced misgovernment, poverty, congestion, filth, epidemics, and
great fires
The Creation of Public Space
In the mid-19th century, reformers, planners, architects, etc began to redo the vision of the
Result was the self-conscious creation of public spaces and public services
Parks were seen as a refuge in the city
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux teamed up in the late 1850s to design New
Yorks Central Park.
Meant to look completely natural, an area of refuge in the busy city
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 3

Libraries, art galleries, natural history museums, theaters, concert halls, and opera houses
began being built.
New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art was widely known, but definitely not the only
art museum out there. There were also some in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and
Washington DC
Wealthy ppl were the main ones funding the city renovations. This was a way to create
social distinction while also helping the city out entirely.
1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, a worlds fair constructed to honor the 400 th
anniversary of Columbuss first voyage to America.
Clearing the old neighborhoods to create new and beautiful places became known as
the city beautiful movement, led by Daniel Burnham, architect of the Great White City
Movement aimed to impose a similar order and symmetry on the disordered life of
cities around the country
In the late 1850s, a large area of marshy tidal land was eventually filled in to create the
Back Bay neighborhood.
Took 40+ years to complete
Washington, DC took a similar approach when being created
Housing the Well-To-Do
Lots of rich ppl lived in mansions at the heart of the city within a fashionable district like
Fifth Avenue in NYC, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill in Boston, etc.
A suburb is an outlying district of a city, most commonly residential
Chicago in the 1870s had nearly 100 residential suburbs connected w/ city by railroad
w/ the joys of pure air, peacefulness, quietude, and natural scenery
Boston developed some of the earliest streetcar suburbs like Dorchester, Brookline,
New Yorkers settled in new suburbs on N fringes of Manhattan & commuted down w/
trolley or riverboat
Suburban communities meant to appeal to nostalgia for the countryside w/ lawns,
trees, etc
Housing Workers and the Poor
Most ppl couldnt move to suburbs/buy a house in city so they rented places. Landlords
made them pay as much as possible for small living spaces
Landlords reluctant to invest much in immigrant housing
In cities of the S (Charleston, New Orleans, Richmond, etc), poor bl ppl lived in slave
Everywhere was crowded (Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, etc)
Tenement o/g meant to a multiple-family rental building, but soon was only used to
describe slum dwellings
First tenements (NYC 1850) were seen as a big improvement for housing the poor
Soon became miserable abodes w/o windows or plumbing or heading.
New York state law in 1870 required a window in every bedroom
Very crowded almost always
A Danish immigrant & New York newspaper reporter and photographer, Jacob Riis, shocked
lots of Americans w/ his descriptions and pictures of tenement life in How the Other Half
Lives (1890)
Reformers wanted the gov to raze slum dwellings w/o building new or better housing to
replace them
Urban Transportation
Downtown streets too narrow for heavy traffic that engulfed them
More streets became paved but it did not keep up w/ the masses
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 4

Streetcars drawn on tracks by horses were introduced in some cities before the civil war,
but this wasnt fast enough so lots of communities developed a new mass transit
Mass Transit
In 1870 New York opened elevated railway
New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc experimented w/ cable cards
Richmond, VA introduced the first electric trolley lines in 1888 and by 1895 they were
operating in 850+ towns/cities
Boston, 1897, first American subway opened
1880s Brooklyn Bridge in New York build, designed by John A. Roebling
The Skyscraper
Cities growing upward & outward. By the 1850s, there were successful experiments w/
machine powered passenger elevators
1870s new methods of construction using cast iron and steel beams made building tall
buildings easier
The Equitable Building in New York (1870) rose 7.5 floors above the street
Few years later, buildings 10-12 stories appeared in New York, Chicago, etc
Tall buildings w/ ridiculous height begins being called a skyscraper in the 1890s

Strains of Urban Life

Fire and Disease
Many buildings in the downtown areas of major cities were constructed of wood
Chicago & Boston suffered great fires in 1871
Baltimore and San Francisco had big earthquakes which triggered a major fire in 1906
Fires encouraged construction of fireproof buildings and the development of professional
fire departments
Forced cities to rebuild at a time when new technology & architectural innovations were
Environmental Degradation
Improper disposal of human/industrial waste happened a lot in large cities
Created lots of water pollution in rivers/lakes & compromised citys drinking water
Occurred often in poor neighborhoods w/o indoor plumbing bc outdoor bathrooms
leaked into the groundwater
Presence of domestic animals (horses, cows, pigs, etc) contributed as well
Air pollution from factories & stoves & furnaces in offices, homes, etc was constant &
Respiratory infection & related diseases occurred much more bc of this
By 1910 most cities had sewage disposal systems
Physician & investigator for the United States Bureau of Labor, Alice Hamilton, first
identified pollution in a workplace
Dangerous substances like lead, chemical waste, and ceramic dust created widespread
1912 the fed gov created the Public Health Service which was charged w/ preventing
diseases like tuberculosis, anemia, and CO 2 poisoning
Attempted to create common health standards for all factories but had limited
Established the protection of public health as a responsibility of fed gov
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (1970) gave gov authority to require
employers to create safe and healthy workplaces
Urban Poverty
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 5

The sheer number of ppl ensured that many wouldnt be able to earn enough money for a
decent subsistence
Public & private philanthropic organizations offered limited relief bc they didnt want to
breed dependency of the poor. Most wanted to restrict aid to the deserving poor which
made big investigations happen
The Salvation Army, 1879, concentrated more on the religions revivalism than the relief of
the homeless and hungry
Middle class ppl grew scared over rising number of poor children in cities who were left
scrounging for food, aka street arabs
Called for more attention than any other group altho it didnt help the big picture much
Crime and Violence
Most crime was relatively minor (i.e. pickpockets, con artists, etc) but there were msome
more dangerous
American murder rate rose 25 to 100 ppl per every 1 million ppl by the end of the 19 th
The South had lynching and homicide at an all-time high
Native-Born Americans liked to believe crime was result of the immigrants bc THEY
had gangs, etc
Native-Born Americans just as likely to commit crimes
Early 19th century, police forces were private and informal but @ end of century,
professional public police departments were necessary
Also spawned corruption and brutality bc their personal biases got in the way of their
Urban national guard groups built imposing armories on outskirts of affluent
neighborhoods and stored large supplies of weapons for uprisings
The Machine and the Boss
Political machine source of assistance for immigrants learning the American urban life
Urban Machine owed exitence to power vacuum that the chaotic growth of cities
created & also the potential voting power of large immigrant communities
Urban Bosses were of foreign birth/parentage. Ex: Irish who had previous political
Bosses win votes for their organization. He does work to win over other immigrants
who arent assimilated yet
Machines were vehicles for making money
Politician might discover in advance wh.ere a new road/streetcar line was gonna be
built, buy an interest in land near it, and get money when the city had to buy the land
from him whenever construction happened
Kickbacks from contractors in exchange for contracts to build streets, public
buildings, etc
William M. Tweed, boss of NYCs Tammany Hall in the 1860s and 1870s excesses
landed him in jail in 1872
Corrupt machines were blights on the cities & obstacles to progress for middle-class
citizens however they also helped expand the role of gov & create stability in the
politican and social climate
Power of immigrant voters, the link between political organizations and wealthy ppl,
structureal weakness of city governments all helped make boss rule possible
*Graft is*

The Rise of Mass Consumption

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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 6

Middle-Class begins exerting a lot of power over the whole of American Life
Patterns of Income and Consumptions
Income raised for everyone
White collar employee is anyone who is in the upper middle-class. People who are
clerks, accountants, middle managers, etc
Pay wage rose roughly 1/3 between 1890-1910 despite stronger increases for
doctors, etc
Blue collar employee is anyone in the working-class who are lowerclass and do things
like steelwork, etc
Pay wage rose 1/3 1890-1910 despite strikes
Female employees, African Americans, Mexican Workforces, etc saw very small
Development of affordable products made consumer goods available to a broad market
Americans began buying clothing instead of making it themselves/having someone else
do it
People become concerned with personal style
Americans began purchasing canned foods bc it made cooking easier
Gail Borden invented condensed milk in the 1850s
Refrigerated railroad cars made it possible for perishables to travel long distances w/o
Artificially frozen ice made it easier for more houses to have iceboxes
Life expectancy rose 6 years in the first 2 decades of the 20 th century
Chain Stores and Mail-Order Houses
Chain Stores are a series of stores owned by the same company selling the same
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) became one in the 1850s and
expanded rapidly after the Civil War
F.W. Woolworth opened his first Five and Ten Cent Store in Utica, New York in 1879
and went on to build a national chain of dry goods stores
Mail Order Houses are retail firms that conduct business by receiving orders and shipping
its merchandise through the mail and that supplies customers with their junk
Montgomery Ward in 1872 distributed a catalog of consumer goods in association w/
the farmers organization
By the 1880s he was offering thousands of items at low prices to farmers
throughout the Midwest and beyond
*Communities sometimes resisted them because*
Department Stores
Helped transform buying habits and turn shopping into a glamorous activity
Marshall Field in Chicago created one of the 1 st American Department Stores & then
followed Macys in New York, etc
Brought together under one roof an enormous array of products
Sought to create an atmosphere of wonder & excitement
Elaborately decorated w/ luxury and elegance
Took advantage of economies of scale to sell merchandise at lower prices than many
individual shops
Women as Consumers
The changing of Womens clothing styles encouraged buying stuff more
Easier cooking made it easier to buy more food
Consumer economy produced new job opportunities for women as salesclerks and
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 7

Spawned the creation of The National Consumers League in the 1890s, under
leadership of Florence Kelley
Attempted to mobilize the power of women as consumers to force retailers to
improve wages & working conditons for women workers
Identifying as consumers allowed women to take an active part in public life bc they
contributed to it

Leisure in the Consumer Society

Redefining Leisure
In early eras, few Americans had leisure time bc they thought it was lame & it was scorned
W/ rapid expansion of the economy and increasing # of hours workers had away from
work, it became possible for leisure time to become normal
Industrial workers adopted the slogan Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and
eight hours for what we will
Economist Simon Patten was one of the 1st intellectuals to articulate the new view of
The Theory of Prosperity (1902) and The New Basis of Civilization (1910) challenged
the centuries-old assumption that normal civilization was a scarcity of goods
Entertainment usually means going out where there would be entertainment & other
The amusement park at Coney Island was big bc there were shows and rides but also
exciting crowds
New Yorkers gathered in Central Park to see other people and to be seen
Moviegoers like the movies but also the energy of the audience
Saloons and sporting events tended to male preserves
Shopping and tea rooms and luncheonettes were for females
Theatres, pubs, etc were specific to ethnic community
When classes/ethnicities met in places like parks, lots of controversy ensued over what is
appropriate behavior
Spectator Sports
Baseball picked up popularity
Rounders, derived from cricket, was popular in Britain and variations spread to America
in the 1830s
Abner Doubleday invented baseball, but Alexander Cartwright defined many of the
rules for the game today
The first salaried team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, formed in 1869
1876 a national league was formed
1903 first modern World Series was played
Football was 2nd most popular
1st intercollegiate football game happened between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869
Very similar to rugby but in the 1870s the game became standardized & took on new
Spread to Midwestern state universities which were destined to replace Eastern schools
as best school for football
Exhibit taints of professionalism. Some schools used ringers who were athletes that
werent students
Amos Alonzo Stagg, athletic director for the University of Chicago led in forming the
Western Conference in 1869
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 8

NCAA formed in 1910 revises the rules and required equipment in football so it was
safer & more honest
Basketball invented in 1891 at Springfield, MA by Dr. James A Naismith
Boxing became popular in the 1880s
John L. Sullivan became heavy-weight champion of the world in 1882
Gambling a problem. Black Sox Scandal when Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World
Series and resulted w/ banning of some of the games most notable figures from the sport
for life
Golf and Tennis were popular for women, along with Bicycling and croquetin the 1890s and
track, crew, and swimming
Music and Theatre
Italian theatres drew on the traditions of Italian opera
Yiddish theatre built on the experiences of American Jews
Urban theatres introduced musical comedy
George M. Cohan became the 1st great creator of musical comedies in the early 20 th
century and wrote Yankee Doodle Dandy Over There Youre a Grand Old Flag
Vaudeville, a form of theatre adapted from French models, was the most popular urban
entertainment in the 1st decades of the 20th century
Had musicians, comedians, magicians, jugglers, etc
The Movies
Thomas Edison and others created the technology of motion picture in the 1880s
Short Films became available to individual viewers through peep shows in pool halls,
arcades, amusement parks, etc. eventually large projectors made it possible to see it on
big screens
By 1900 Americans were coming in large numbers to the movies
D.W. Griffith created silent films like The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916)
Working-Class Literature
Leisure was important to working-class individuals bc it was a new part of their lives & it
stood in sharp contrast to the tough environments they dealt w/
Leisure time spent mostly on the streets, walking alone, in groups, watching entertainers,
meeting friends, talking and socializing
The neighborhood saloon mattered for working-class men bc they could encounter a
regular circle of friends
Often ethnically specific
Political centers and saloonkeeprs were important figures in urban political machines bc
they had regular contact w/ many men in the neighborhood
Boxing was a popular sport among working-class men bc altho they couldnt afford the big
pubic matches, they went to matches in small rings and even in saloons
The Fourth of July
In a time where people worked all the time, The 4 th of July was one of the few full days of
leisure they had
Highlights in many ethnic, working-class communities
Worcester, MA the Ancient Order of Hibernians sponsored big picnics for the Irish
working class
Irish Temperance organizations competed, offering more sober & respectable
Picnics, games, parades, etc helped celebrate the day
Citys affluent middle class stayed away (?)
Mass Communications

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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 9

1870-1910 the circulation of daily newspapers increased rapidly (from under 3 mil to over
24 mil)
National press services (made use of telegraph to supply news & features to papers)
contributed as a result to the standardization of the product
William Randolph Hearsts newspaper chain was one of the most important out there.
By 1914 it controlled 9 newspapers and 2 magazines
Hearst & rival Joseph Pulitzer popularized yellow journalism, a deliberately sensual
and lurid style of reporting presented in bold graphics to reach a mass audience
In the 1880s, new magazines appeared that were designed for a mass audience
Edward W. Bok took over Ladies Home Journal in 1899 and increased its circulation to
over 700k

High Culture in the Age of the City

Big changes in high culture, the ideas and activities between intellectuals and elites
Distinction between highbrow and lowbrow culture was new to the industrial era & helped
divide intellectual life from popular amusement of the urban masses
The Literature of Urban America
BIG effort to recreate urban social reality
Stephen Crane, best known for The Red Badge of Courage (1895), also wrote Maggie: A
Girl of the Streets (1893) which painted a grim portrait of urban poverty & the slum life
Theodore Dreiser encouraged writers to abandon genteel traditions & turn to social
dislocations in novels such as Sister Carrie and in other novels including An American
Tragedy (1925)
Frank Norris published The Octopus (1901) which accounted the struggle between
oppressed wheat farmers & powerful railroad interests of Cali
Upton Sinclair published The Jungle (1906) to reveal the depravity of capitalism and
expose the abuses of the American meatpacking industry
Kate Chopin explored the oppressive features in traditional marriage w/ her novel The
Awakening (1899), a novel about a young wife/mother who abandons her family in
search of personal fulfillment
William Dean Howells wrote The Rise of Silas Lapham (1884) which described the
shallowness and corruption in the search for wealth
Other critics responded to the new civilization by withdrawing aspects from it in their
Henry Adams published The Education of Henry Adams (1906), an autobiography
Henry James wrote a series of chillingly realistic novels: The American (1877), Portrait
of a Lady (1881), The Ambassadors (1903), etc
Reading clubs became a thing among every kind of person
Art in the Age of the City
Early 1900s, American artists begin turning away from traditional academic style of
Ashcan School produced work startling in its naturalism & stark in its portrayal of the
social realities of the era
Modernists rejected the grip of the past and embraced new subjects & new forms
The Impact of Darwinism
Charles Darwin proposed natural selection which argued that the human species had
evolved from earlier forms of life
Met widespread resistance bc of the devotion to the biblical belief of Creationism,
which is the belief that God created everything
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Ch. 18 The Age of the City 10

Education helped people begin to accept it & evolution began to be taught in schools
Helped create a new Protestant fundamentalism, rejecting evolution, which would make
its presence felt politically in the 1920s
The Social Darwinism of William Graham Sumner and others was used to justify someones
position in society in relation to their economic standing
Pragmatism states that no idea/institution was valid unless it acquired knowledge that
would help them deal w/ the realities of their society
William James was a BIG contributor on this although Charles S. Pierce and John
Dewey were important too
Encouraged Anthropology, the study of humankind, to grow
Fascination w/ examining other cultures, like the culture of the natives, grew
Toward Universal Schooling
Society was becoming dependent on special skills, so education had a high demand
By 1900, the number jumped to 6000 (from 100) public high schools in the USA
Compulsory school attendance laws in effect (1900), forcing students to go to
Education was used to assimilate native culture
In the 1870s, reformers got natives together to go to Hampton Institute.
1879, Richard Henry Pratt organized the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in PA
Separated Indians from their tribes, gave them white names, and essentially
erased their native heritage
Education for Women
Most public high schools accepted women but higher education was scarce
@ the end of the Civil War, only 3 colleges were co-ed
Mount Holyoke was the seminary for women in 1836 & a full-fledged college in the
Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Wells, and Goucher were female institutions
The emergence of womens colleges also hinted at the emergence of a unique womens
Colleges still promoted typical roles of wives and mothers, but also added in personal
careers and aspirations to the mix

*______________* = ask in class