The great city
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The Great City. Chapter 18. The Urbanization of America. Migration from the Countryside to U rban Centers dominated American life This was the case all over the world as it became more industrialized. The Lure of the City. Urban population increased by 7 times from 1863-1913

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The Great City

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The great city

The Great City

Chapter 18

The urbanization of america

The Urbanization of America

  • Migration from the Countryside to Urban Centers dominated American life

  • This was the case all over the world as it became more industrialized

The lure of the city

The Lure of the City

  • Urban population increased by 7 times from 1863-1913

  • 1920—most American’s lived in urban areas

    • What is an urban area?—2,500 people or more

Urban families

Urban Families

  • Experienced

    • High infant mortality rates

    • Declining fertility

    • High death rate from disease

    • Harsh living conditions


      Why did people live in cities?

Causes of urban growth

Causes of Urban Growth

  • Immigration—people from other countries coming to the U.S. and urban centers

  • National Migration—Americans moving to urban centers

    • Opportunities for African Americans

    • Opportunities for Woman

    • More readily available work

    • Excitement of living in a city

National migrations

National Migrations

  • Geographic Mobility—people had the ability to move quickly, safely and cheaply

  • Rural Farm life was limited for woman so they moved to cities

    • How was rural life limited for women?

  • Southern Blacks moved to cities…

    • Because of bigotry and racist segregation and violence in the south

    • There were jobs up north—Although factory jobs were rare (most African Americans worked as servants in cities: cooks, janitors, general labor, etc.)



  • 1860-1920—28 Million immigrants came to the U.S.

  • Most from Europe (West Coast had Asian and Mexican Immigrants)

    • 1880—Italians, Greeks, Russian Jews, and Slavs

  • Early Immigrants were educated and had modest wealth

    • That changed…why?

The ethnic city

The Ethnic City

1890—87% of Chicago were foreign born, 80% of New York, 84% of Milwaukee and Detroit

New York had more Irish than Dublin and more Germans than Hamburg

Cities were extremely racially and culturally diverse

This was both strength and weakness of cities



  • Assimilation—the act of becoming a part of something

  • Most immigrants were young 15-45

  • Wanted to be “True Americans”—Americanization

    • Encouraged by native born Americans

    • Supported by churches and public education

  • Changing Gender Roles

    • America allowed immigrant woman more freedom

    • Arranged marriages were not popular in the U.S.

    • It was acceptable for women work outside the home

    • More acceptable for women to be on their own.



  • The counter attack to assimilation/Americanization

  • Nativism—native born American prejudice against foreigners

  • Immigrants were blamed for the “ills of society”

    • Why? Was this prejudice blind or was it based on who was coming to the U.S.?

  • Laws tried to curb immigration but failed

  • Immigration fueled economic growth as a read and cheap source of labor

American protective association

American Protective Association

  • Founded by Henry Bowers in 1887

  • Stood against Catholic Immigrants

  • Had over 500,000 members

Immigration restriction league

Immigration Restriction League

  • Another national organization that stood for strict restriction on immigration

  • Believed immigrants should be “screened” through literacy tests separating the “desirables” from the “undesirables”

The urban landscape

The Urban Landscape

Cities stood in contrast: the poor were VERY poor, the rich were VERY rich

Small middle class

Cities struggled with how to keep the poor and wealthy separated

The creation of public spaces

The Creation of Public Spaces

  • 1850’s—cities started to be “planned”

  • Urban Parks

    • Antidote to urban crowding and congestion

    • Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux—architects of New York’s Central Park

    • Believed in “Natural Spaces”

Central park

Central Park

Central park1

Central Park

Central park2

Central Park

Public buildings

Public Buildings

  • City Planners, architects, wealthy people, and government officials started advocating public buildings

    • Libraries, museums, galleries, concert halls, theaters, hospitals, etc.

    • Wealthy citizens became philanthropic patrons who donated money for public buildings

      • This came with the immortality of having one’s name and recognition assigned to a building: Carnegie Hall

Housing the rich

Housing the Rich

  • Housing was an issue in Cities—the rich wanted to be away from the poor, the poor couldn’t afford to life far from where they worked, etc.

  • Growth of Suburbs—modeled after “countryside”

    • Why? How do the suburbs look like the countryside?

  • The rich owned houses and buildings, the poor had to rent

Housing the poor

Housing the Poor

  • The Poor could not afford to own so they rented

  • High demand for scarce space gave a lot of power to landowners

  • Manhattan Population Density in 1894

    • 143 people per acre of land average (304 sqft per person)

    • 700 people per acre in the slums (64 sqft per person)



  • Multi-family dwellings—usually apartment buildings

  • Located in the slums

  • At first tenements were a great improvement for poor people instead of literal shacks

  • Many were windowless rooms

    • Little to no plumbing

    • Privies (toilets) in the basement

  • Jacob Riis

    • Author and photographer who documents tenement living

    • Wrote “How the Other Half Lives”

    • Sensationalized writing that exploited the plight of the poor.

Tenement apartment

Tenement Apartment

Tenement apartment1

Tenement Apartment

Riis s most famous photo

Riis’s Most Famous Photo

City block

City Block

Urban transportation

Urban Transportation

  • Paved streets opened congestion and allow for quicker, safer travel within cities

  • Paved Roads

    • Most were paved with wooden blocks—where we get the term “block” from, meaning a section of a city

    • Later brick, stone and asphalt

Urban transportation1

Urban Transportation

  • Street Cars

    • Horse drawn cars that ran on tracks were the first public forms of mass transportation

    • Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia

Urban transportation2

Urban Transportation

  • New York City

  • 1887

  • First Elevated Railway

  • Steam powered

Urban transportation3

Urban Transportation

  • 1887

  • Boston

  • First American Subway (not the disgusting sandwich shop…shame on you for eating that…YUCK!)

Urban transportation4

Urban Transportation

  • 1880’s

  • New York

  • Brooklyn Bridge

  • Opened the Island of Manhattan to the other burrows of New York

  • Engineering Marvel

The skyscraper

The Skyscraper

  • Cast iron, steel beams, and elevators allowed for taller buildings (over 5 floors)

  • 1890’s skyscrapers started to be built (10 or more floors)

  • Why is this important for cities?

Strains of urban life

Strains of Urban Life

  • Urban Life was hard and dangerous due to

    • Crime

    • Fire

    • Disease

    • Poverty

    • pollution

Human waste problems

Human Waste Problems

  • Early Efforts at urban sewage disposal frequently

    • Used open ditches to remove waste

    • Helped the spread of disease

    • Polluted the cities fresh water supply

    • Failed to provide clean conditions

The urban political machines

The Urban Political Machines

  • Urban Political Machines helped newly arrived immigrants adjust to American life

  • In return these “Bosses” (elected officials) could count on support from voting immigrants

  • Political bosses were the primary source of welfare for the urban poor.

  • Goals of the Political Machines

    • Make money for political bosses (officials)

    • Provide services to immigrants

    • Create city jobs for machine supporters

    • Find jobs for the unemployed

The rise of mass consumption

The Rise of Mass Consumption

  • Mass Consumption—the production and sale of inexpensive everyday items that came about at the end of the 1800’s

    • Growth of middle class gave rise to mass consumption

      • Middle class people could afford to buy lots of things in quantity

      • The most popular mass consumption items were the making and marketing of ready-made clothes

      • Middle class women were most effected by mass consumption—why?

Patterns of income and consumption

Patterns of Income and Consumption

  • Society changed, as did the market place, with the growth of the middle class and their growing income

  • This lead to

    • The emergence of Department Stores

    • The making of large amounts of affordable products

    • The creation of marketing and advertisement

    • The rise of chain stores

Department stores

Department Stores

Giant “have everything” destination stores

Offered a wide range of diverse products—bras and guns

Created a shopping atmosphere of excitement

Made shopping an activity and glamorous

Large quantities of goods lowered prices

Popular culture in the late 1800 s

Popular Culture in the late 1800’s

  • Popular forms of entertainment

    • Vaudeville

    • Musical comedy

    • Movies—silent movies

    • Professional baseball

    • Theatre

  • Movies became the first truly universal mass-entertainment medium which reached all over the country and all levels of society

    • Why?

Yellow journalism

Yellow Journalism

A popular style of journalism that was popular in the early 1900’s that used a sensational, lurid style of reporting.

Art in the early 1900 s

Art in the early 1900’s

Authors like Stephen Crane and Theodore Dreiser wrote very popular novels about the mistreatment of the poor in urban industrial society.

Artists began painting realistic scenes of ordinary life

Education in the early 1900 s

Education in the Early 1900’s

  • Industrialization created a need for specialized skills and scientific knowledge, the educational system answered these needs through

    • Growth of women’s colleges

    • Rise in free public education

    • An increase in the number of colleges and universities

    • Growth of universities in western states

Women in the early 1900 s

Women in the early 1900’s

  • Graduates of Women’s colleges formed the first “intellectual” women’s group who…

    • Worked together for reform (divorce laws, suffrage, etc.)

    • Frequently married much later in life

    • Were career based instead of family based

    • Became faculty in women’s colleges

    • Started by philanthropic institutions

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