Chapter 15 – Life at the Turn of the 20 th Century. Section Notes. Video. Life at the Turn of the 20 th Century. New Immigrants Urban Life Politics in the Gilded Age Segregation and Discrimination. Maps. Ethnic Neighborhoods in Chicago, 1880–1910. History Close-up.
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Chapter 15 – Life at the Turn of the 20th Century
Life at the Turn of the 20th Century
Politics in the Gilded Age
Segregation and Discrimination
Ethnic Neighborhoods in Chicago, 1880–1910
Political Cartoon: Old and New Immigration
Political Cartoon: Boss Tweed
The Populist Movement
Mexican American Worker
Old and New Immigrants
Visual Summary: Life at the Turn of the 20th Century
The old immigrants
10 million immigrants 1800 and 1900
Northern and Western Europe
Most were Protestant Christians with similar cultures to the original settlers
Reasons: have a voice in government, escape political turmoil, religious freedom, or fleeing poverty and starvation
Most came for economic opportunity or open farm land
Chinese immigrants lured by gold rush and railroads jobs
The new immigrants
1880 to 1910 new wave brought 18 million
Most from Southern and Eastern Europe
Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews. Arabs, Armenians, and French Canadians came as well.
Smaller #’s from East Asia. Severe immigration laws reduced Chinese immigration, but 90,000 of Chinese descent in the U.S. by 1900. Japanese immigrants arrived by way of Hawaii
American population had changed 1910 ≈ 1 in 12 Americans were foreign-born
Desire for a better life
New life?? Willing to work hard in America, prosperity was possible.
The journey to America
Decision to come involved entire family
Usually the father went first and sent for the rest later
Port city by train, wagon, or foot to wait for a departing ship
Pass an inspection to board & prove they had some $
Opened 1892, immigration station, 112 million immigrants passed through…must pass inspection before entering
West Coast immigrants processed in San Francisco
Many Chinese immigrants were detained awaiting a ruling…Poverty and discrimination awaited many newcomers
Many immigrants lived in poor housing slums near the factories (tenements)
NE & MW immigrants settled near others from their homeland Cities = patchwork of ethnic clusters
Churches and synagogues to practice their faith
Benevolent societies = aid organizations to help new immigrants obtain jobs, health care, and education
Building urban communities
Some native-born Americans saw immigrants as threats to society.
Nativists felt they brought crime and poverty, kept wages low for everyone…so, stop immigration
Threat to society
Chinese workers were tolerated during good times, but worsening economy led to active opposition them
Not allowed state jobs & local govt’s could ban them from communities
The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) banned Chinese immigration for 10 years
Chinese in the U.S. weren’t allowed citizenship
Law renewed in 1892, Chinese immigration banned in 1902.
Nativists also resented the Japanese…students in SF were segregated
Theodore Roosevelt negotiated a Gentlemen’s Agreement with Japan.
No unskilled workers from Japan, and in return Japanese children could attend schools with other children.
Nativists opposed immigration from S & E Europe
Claimed they were poor, illiterate, and non-Protestant and could not blend society
They called for a literacy test to see if test takers could read English Literacy Test Act was passed in 1917, over President Wilson’s veto
Americanization Newcomers taught American ways to help assimilation…learned English literacy skills, U.S. history and govt.
Late 1880s, they ran out of room and started to build up.
Tall buildings and transportation
Steel frames and Elisha Otis’s safety elevator made taller buildings possible
Mass transit people moved away
Frederick Law Olmsted designed city parks to provide residents with countryside…ex: New York’s Central Park
Wealthy inherited fortunes made from industry and business
Newly rich displayed their wealth big city houses and country estates
High-society women instructional books on proper behavior
Ideal woman homemaker; organized and decorated her home; entertained visitors and supervised her staff; offered moral and social guidance to her family
Some women worked on social reform
The middle class
Urban middle class grew as jobs for accountants, clerks, managers, and salespeople increased
Educated workers like teachers, engineers, lawyers, and doctors were needed.
The rise of professionalism required standardized skills and qualifications
Married women managed a home & some participated in reform work
The working class
Many in poverty, with a growing population keeping wages low
Housing shortages = crowded and unsanitary conditions (tenements)
Housekeeping was difficult; no indoor plumbing
Clothes were boiled on the stove and hung on lines to dry.
Many women also worked low-paying jobs
Founded in 1884. Volunteers taught skills so people could use to lift themselves from poverty
Jane Addams founded Hull House (Chicago) one of the first settlement houses in the U.S.
Movement gave women the opportunity to lead, organize, and work for others
Social Gospel was idea that religious faith should be expressed through good works and that churches had a moral duty to help solve society’s problems
Social Darwinists disagreed; they felt people were poor because of their own deficiencies
Political Machine informal group of politicians controlling the local government who often resorted to corrupt methods for dealing with urban problems
Immigrants—loyal support for political machines
Corruption—illegal tactics to maintain control, buying voter support and election fraud
The Tweed Ring—notorious NYC political machine headed by William Marcy Tweed (Tammany Hall)
Thomas Nast—political cartoonist who attacked the corruption in Harper’s Weekly
Grant’s presidency marred by scandals Crédit Mobilier cost taxpayers $23 million
The Whiskey Ring
Reformers end the spoils system – Merit System
Pres. Hayes prohibited government employees from managing political parties or campaigns
Hayes and reform
President James A. Garfield was assassinated four months after taking office
Pres. Chester A. Arthur signed the Pendleton Act
Civil service reform
Crop prices ↓ and farmers had to repay loans
High RR fees
Everyone made money but the farmer
Local groups formed to aid farmers
The National Grange
First major farmers’ organization
Pushed for political reform and targeted railroad rates
Munn v. Illinois gave state legislatures the right to regulate businesses that involved the public interest
Wabash v. Illinois—federal government could regulate railroad traffic
Farmers’ Alliance helped w/ buying equipment or marketing farm products; wanted reform & regulation
In the South, the Colored Farmers’ Alliance formed the Alliance advocated hard work and sacrifice as keys to gaining equality
Expand money supply = help by inflating prices
Money tied to the gold standard, and farmers wanted it backed by silver as well.
Candidates supported by the Alliance won more than 40 seats in Congress and four governorships
The Alliance formed a national political party The Peoples’ Party was born in 1892.
Coalition of farmers, labor leaders, and reformers became known as the Populist Party.
Party Platform—Supported the National Grange and Alliance, wanted income tax, bank regulation, govt. ownership of RR and telegraph companies, and free coinage of silver.
1892 election—Speaking for the common people against the ruling elite, the Populists took several state offices and won seats in Congress.
The Panic of 1893
Depression investors pulled out of the stock market, businesses collapsed
Silver ↓ in value, people rushed to exchange paper money for gold.
Cleveland called for Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. The country stayed on the gold standard.
The election of 1896
William McKinley, Republican nominee, and the Democratic, William Jennings Bryan
Bryan hailed free coinage of silver as key to prosperity
The Populists supported Bryan
McKinley won and the Populist Party faded, but idea of reform remained
Restricting the vote
Democrats had regained control over their state legislatures, passed poll tax and literacy requirements to prevent African Americans from voting
Most African Americans were too poor to afford the poll tax, and many had been denied the education needed to pass the literacy test
Some poor or illiterate white men could not meet the requirements, but grandfather clause allowed them to vote
Jim Crow laws passed in the South
African Americans filed lawsuits, wanting equal treatment under the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
1883, the Court ruled the Act unconstitutional, “the 14th Amendment applied only to state governments”
“Congress had no power over private individuals or businesses”
Louisiana state law required railroads to provide “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races.”
Homer Plessy sat in a whites-only train compartment to test the law and was arrested. He appealed based on the 14th Amendment.
Plessy v. Ferguson(1896), the court upheld the practice of segregation
Ruled “separate but equal” facilities did not violate the 14th Amendment.
Plessy case allowed legalized segregation for ≈ 60 years
Strict rules of behavior governed social and business interactions
African Americans were supposed to “know their place” and defer to whites
If an African American failed to speak respectfully or acted with too much pride or defiance, the consequences could be serious.
Worst consequence was lynching the murder of an individual usually by hanging, without a legal trial.
1882-1892, ≈ 900 lost their lives to lynch mobs. Lynchings declined after 1892, but continued into the early 1900s.
Two approaches for improving lives of African Americans.
Booker T. Washington African Americans should accept segregation for the moment. Farming and vocational skills were key to prosperity, and he founded the Tuskegee Institute to teach skills for self-sufficiency.
W.E.B. Du Bois, a Harvard-trained professor speak against prejudice and strive for full rights immediately
African Americans should be uplifted through the “talented tenth,” their best educated leaders. Du Bois launched the Niagara Movement to protest discrimination in 1905. He helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1909)
Encountered hostility from white Americans, often struggled w/ English & took jobs for low pay.
Debt peonage tied to jobs until they could pay off debts to their employer
Chinese and Japanese Americans lived in segregated neighborhoods and attend separate schools.
Several states also forbade marriage with whites.
Native Americans government efforts to stamp out their traditional ways of life
Children sent away to be “Americanized.”
Reservations little chance for econ. improvement
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