Immigration and Urbanization American expansion, technological development, and industrial growth bring throngs of immigrants. To what Effect? American populations shift from rural to urban living. For what reasons?
Population Boom • US population triples: 1850-1900 (from 23mill. to 76 mill.) 16mill. of this growth is due to immigration. • Motives for Emigrating: *Push Factors: poverty, overcrowding, joblessness, religious persecution (Russian Jews) etc… *Pull Factors: US’s reputation of political and religious freedom, economic opportunity, jobs, cheap “steerage” tickets
“Old” Immigrants and “New” Immigrants • “Old” Immigrants: those who came in the 1880s; mostly from western Europe. English-speaking, well educated, Protestant, skilled workers… fit right in. • “New” Immigrants: Beginning in the 1890s to 1914 (WWI), there was a marked change in national origins of immigrants: southern or eastern Europe. Greeks, Croats, Slavs, Poles, and Russians. Poor, illiterate peasants unaccustomed to democratic traditions. Mostly Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, or Jewish. Most would congregate in poor urban slums with other members of their origin. Up to 25% were “birds of passage” contracted to work, save wages, and return home .
Restricting Immigration • 1886 (same year Statue of Liberty is put in place) Congress passes a number of exclusionary laws aimed at certain groups of immigrants, such as: Chinese Exclusion Act, “Undesirables” restriction (criminals or mentally incompetent), Prohibition of contract labor (protect American jobs), entry taxes and medical exams. • These efforts were supported by: labor unions, “nativist” society called American Protective Association (anti catholic), Social Darwinists
Immigrant Labor • In the first decade of the 20th century, 70% of the workforce in 15 of the 19 leading US industries were immigrants… concentrated in the areas of the most backbreaking labor… mining, tunneling, construction, steel, slaughterhouses, textiles (New England), agriculture -Women and Children offer cheap source of labor -Extremely dangerous/ hazardous work. Lax safety -Chronic fatigue and inadequate nourishment (increased risk) -60 hour workweek (average)… 72-89 for steel workers -Low wages means multiple members of families must work
Urbanization • Urbanization and Industrialization develop simultaneously. Cities provided both a central supply of labor (mostly immigrant) for factories as well as a market for factory-made goods. • The shift from rural to urban living became more obvious as the decades passed. By 1900 40% of Americans lived in urban areas; by 1940 it was over half. • The appeal of urban living attracted both native and immigrant. The draw of new economic opportunities. Many young African Americans especially made the shift to northern factory towns and cities.
Changes in the Nature of Cities • Major changes in the size/scale of cities as well as their internal structure and design -Streetcars: urban transport made the growth of cities possible. Streetcar cities made it possible for people to live distances away from work = expansion of cities. -Skyscrapers: due to limited space and rising land values. Steel skeletons , the Otis elevator, and central steam heating systems made these structures possible. -Ethnic Neighborhoods: Manufacturing and business districts were abandoned and left for the working poor. The buildings were subdivided into often windowless, cramped apartments which were rented out at inflated prices to immigrant workers. These neighborhoods in big cities like NY segregated out by ethnic group where language and culture were preserved often with their own newspapers and schools.
The Suburbs • Opposite of European cities, wealthier American city dwellers chose to move out of city business districts in favor of the outlaying areas for the following reasons: -Abundant low-cost land available -Inexpensive rail transportation -Low-cost housing construction -Ethnic and racial prejudices -American fondness for natural surroundings and privacy 1860s Frederick Law Olmsted (architect) designed the first suburban concept community
Slow Development of Public Works • The size of cities grew very quickly; quicker than city planners and residents could prepare or predict potential problems. Some problems included: -build-up of waste -pollution -disease -crime These and other problems grew until the public demand for government services were met. Many of the standard services as Police, Water Treatment, Fire Departments, Disease Control, etc… were created or implemented during this age.
Boss and Machine Politics • As monopolies in business consolidated power, there was a parallel shift in urban politics. Political parties in major cities came under the control of tightly organized groups of politicians, known as “political machines.” • Tammany Hall: became NY’s famous machine. It started out as a social organization to coordinate the needs of immigrants, businesses, and the underprivileged in return for the people’s votes on election day. Party “Bosses” (most famous: Boss Tweed) led the machines and held great control over social, ethnic , and economic groups. They often used their power to help the common worker and immigrant, but often stole millions from the taxpayers in the form of graft and fraud.
Reform! • Cities began to gain the reputation of being “dens of vice” (places of “dirty” habits)… drinking, prostitution, gambling, drugs, etc… • Furthermore, cities also gained a reputation of being places of misery: disease, crime, starvation, filth, ignorance, etc… • Because of this reputation, many upper-middle and wealthy class citizens (mostly women) began crusades to solve these social problems…
Organizations to Help the Needy • Charity Organization Society (COS) • Scientific approach to charity, kept detailed files on those who received aid. Wanted immigrant families to adopt American middle-class standards of child-raising. • Social Gospel Movement • Religious approach to solving social problems. Focused on improving living conditions and fairer wages for workers. • The Settlement Movement • Social improvement organization led mostly by upper-class women who wanted to help. Created “settlement houses” in poor neighborhoods where the poor could go for a meal, a place to sleep, skills training, education and more. Jane Addams, Hull House
Backlash to Rising Immigration • Nativism • Prohibition • Purity Crusaders