Themes. The United States moved from the country to the city in the post-Civil War decades. Mushrooming urban development was exciting but it also created severe social problems, including overcrowding and slums. Main Ideas.
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The United States moved from the country to the city in the post-Civil War decades. Mushrooming urban development was exciting but it also created severe social problems, including overcrowding and slums.
From 1870 to 1900, the American population doubled, but the population in the cities tripled!
Electricity, indoor plumbing, telephones, and departments stores made the city more alluring.
As these city’s grew, the electric trolley system was adopted in metropolises as a commuting vessel.
Explosive urban growth created some disturbing changes
Cities became unsanitary due to impure water circulating through the city, garbage and waste disposed of improperly, and unwashed bodies were packed closely together by overcrowding.
The worst place to be in a city were the slums where the ventilation was poor
The large cities fostered many criminals
The wealthy of the city-dwellers fled to new suburbs.
Walter Rauschenbusch and Washington Gladden preached a “social gospel” insisting that churches tackle burning social issues of the day.
Jane Addams – deeply dedicated to uplifting urban masses - founded Hull House to teach children and adults skills they would need to survive and succeed in America.
Settlement houses became centers for women’s activism and reform. Florence Kelley – fought for protection of women workers and against child labor.
New cities gave women (mostly single women) opportunities to earn money and support themselves better.
After the 1880s the cities were flooded with new immigrants from Europe. Their various culture customs and non-Protestant religions stirred the nativist sentiment once again.
Until the 1880s, most immigrants came from the British Isles and western Europe (Germany and Scandinavia).
By early 1900s southeastern Europeans accounted for over 60% of U.S. immigrants
Many Europeans came to America because there was no room in Europe nor much employment
Also, exaggerated advertisements on the benefits and opportunities of America lured them
The majority of immigrants remained for a few years and then returned to their home countries.
Immigrants were often controlled by powerful “bosses” who provided jobs and shelter in return for political support at the polls.
“Native” Americans blamed immigrants for the corruption of the urban government.
Anti-foreign organizations like the American Protective Association arose against new immigrants.
In 1882, Congress passed the first restrictive law against immigration banning paupers, criminals, and convicts from coming to the U.S.
Since churches mostly failed to take stands against urban suffering, people began to question the mission of the churches.
A new generation of urban revivalists proclaimed the gospel of kindness and forgiveness
They adapted the old-time religion to city life.
Roman Catholic and Jewish faiths were also gaining much by the new immigration.
In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species which: set forth the new doctrine of evolution
This questioning of the Bible’s validity attracted the fury of fundamentalists
The issue of evolution caused a division in churches.
Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll was a famous evolutionist who denounced creationism.
Creation of more public schools and the provision of free textbooks funded by taxpayers began a new trend in late 1800s.
Americans believed that formal education was the solution to poverty and a necessity for political integrity.
Colleges and universities sprouted after the Civil War and colleges for women, such as Vassar, were gaining ground.
The Morrill Act of 1862 provided a generous grant of the public lands to the states for support of education and was extended by the Hatch Act of 1887, which provided federal funds for the establishment of agricultural experiment stations in connection with the land-grant colleges.
While many Americans were disturbed by the new urban problems, cities also offered opportunities to women and expanded cultural horizons.
Booker T. Washington headed a black normal and industrial school in Tuskegee, Alabama – he believed in Blacks helping themselves first before gaining more rights.
W.E.B. DuBois – demanded completed equality for Blacks and wanted action NOW! He founded the NAACP in 1910.