Chapter 7:The Transformation of the American Society October 9, 2013
The Lure of America! • With the problems of Europe – lack of good food supplies, few jobs, poverty, persecution and a dominate ruling class – Many people left for America. • The groups of people that came to America can be separated, relatively easily, into two groups: • Old Immigrants – Roughly 10 million Protestant peoples from the Northwestern portion of Europe (G.B., Ireland, etc.) that came between 1800 and 1880 • New Immigrants – Between 1891 and 1910 roughly 12 million immigrants came form the Southern portions of Eastern Europe. • By the 1900s nearly 60% of the population in the largest 12 cities in America were new immigrants from Europe
The Journey to America! • Many Europeans learned of America either from the Railroad or from Shipping/transport companies. • These companies often painted a false picture of what America really offered and what one might expect when they arrived. • Many of these people paid extremely low fares to get to America, but in turn received the worst quarters called steerage
Arriving in America! • Most of the new arrivals to America came through either Ellis Island in New York Harbor or through Angel Island in San Francisco Harbor. • Through Ellis Island came the majority of the Europeans • Through Angel Island came the relatively small portions of Asian immigrants. • Once these ships arrived the people on board needed to meet the following requirements: • Pass a physical – no diseases or mental disorders • They also had to prove that they were not a criminal, what skills they possessed for work, and who their relatives were. • If you could not meet the above requirements you were then deported – very few ever were deported though.
A New Life in America! • For many of the people that came to America the cities and locations they settled were a much needed improvement from their homes. • However, as new comers immigrants were usually forced to settle in the poorest and worst neighborhoods with very poor housing conditions. • This gave rise to the settlement of Immigrant communities that were broken down by nationality and these people usually spoke the same language, practiced the same religion and had similar traditions. • Religious institutions also served an important role for new immigrants by providing resources for adapting to life in America and new “benevolent societies” developed that also supported immigrants. • These practices also led to a rapid assimilation to American practices and usually by the second generation of children the majority of families had become truly “American” • Immigrant workers were extremely taken advantage of.
The Nativist Response • As has been the tradition of Americans, our forefathers were fearful of what immigrants brought with them to America. • Many felt that these new immigrants were too different to fit in to American society or brought with them crime, poverty, and violence – unjustly of course. • Many Nativists disagreed with immigration because of economic reasons and immigrants willingness to do unskilled, cheap jobs. • The Chinese were thought to be extremely low in American society and groups like the Workingmen’s Party of California attempted to block Chinese immigrants from working in the west. This eventually led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. • Other groups attempted to bar entrance to the U.S. like the Immigration Restriction League that wanted to impose a literacy test before someone could immigrate
The Changing City • As more and more people came to America the populations of the biggest cities exploded. • Between 1865 and 1900 the population of people living in the cities went from roughly 20% to 40%. • To help people find places to live architects began to build the new vertical city that was shaped by the development of the modern skyscraper. • Steel was the reason people were able to build these new buildings higher and higher. • This allowed for more workers to be concentrated in the business districts of cities and revolutionized cities. • These cities were aided by new inventions/improvements like the mass transits (trolleys, subways, electric commuter trains) and the new Otis Elevator.
Mass Transit Changes the World • Prior to the advent of pieces of mass transit the average city was relatively small and accessible by foot. • As the modern industrial city began to spread out it required a new way of getting from A to B. • As a result, cities began to cover nearly 20 square miles as opposed to the previous average of three square miles. • This expansion of transportation lead to the development of the suburbs. • Mass transportation now allowed for people to be able to live further from the city center and business areas. • This also allowed for more residents to move out of the city and flat rate fares allowed for poorer people to leave the city as well
The Nouveau Riche • During this period a new idea of the nouveau riche began to develop as people began to make money off of new industries. • For many of these new rich, they began to find any means necessary to show how rich they were and used the value of the dollar to prove the wealth and success. • Social Scientist Thorstein Veblen labeled this behavior conspicuous wealth – where these new rich would spend thousands of dollars to live and be entertained. • This is where we get places like the Hamptons, New York’s 5th Avenue, and immaculate homes, art, etc.
Middle Class Life • With the growth of new industries, too came the growth of the middle class in America. • New jobs were added to the standard teachers, doctors, etc., such as accountants, clerks, engineers, managers, etc. • This new age brought about a new need for professional workers that were highly trained in their fields and new schools began to offer such service. • This new period of industrialization also offered a huge amount of opportunity for women to leave traditional gender positions and seek employment. • Inventions lightened the load that had previously been on women and offered them more flexibility to work.
Poor Living Conditions for the Poor • As industrialization occurred, so too did the growth of urban locations – as discussed earlier. • With an abundance of laborers/immigrants coming to the city to fill unskilled labor jobs, the price of wages was kept extremely low. • Because of this the poor stayed poor and lived in dilapidated tenement buildings with hundreds of other people. • With the over crowding of people also came raw sewage and piles of garbage that created loads of sickness and death for the poor living in the cities.
The Drive for Reform • During this period very few government programs were in place to help the poor. • To combat this reformers, like Jane Addams, started and ran settlement houses for poor communities. • Settlement homes offered residents educational opportunities, skills training, and cultural events. • Addams Hull House would become one of the most know settlement houses in Chicago and the U.S. • Addams and others hoped that the settlement homes would also offer opportunities for the women that worked at the houses. • The settlement house movement would naturally also lead to the movement that would become progressivism.
The Social Gospel Movement • Through this period Christian Americans began to promote an idea of Social Gospel. • This gospel preached that religious entities and groups could provide support and change through religious ideas and make social change. • These groups began to provide the Social Gospel by providing counseling, job training, libraries, and other social services.
Education • As these new industrial cities began to require more education, fore thinking reformers began to expand educational opportunities. • Children suffered the most through the 19th century with very few educational opportunities. • More and more states, in response developed new compulsory education law – which rose the number of school age students from 7 million to nearly 15 million. • Reformers like John Dewey, Ella Flag Young hoped to teach more than simply reading, writing, and arithmetic. • Dewey emphasized learning by doing – instead of simply rote memorization. • Others, such as William Torrey Harris and Elwood Cubberley also hoped that schools could serve as a socialization point for new immigrant children.
Publishing in America • Publishing in this period can be broken down in to two different styles: • Popular Journalism – The capability to print high volumes of newsprint, compounded with higher rates of literacy, made newspapers extremely popular during the late 1800s. These newspapers printed sensational stories, printed colored cartoons, and often bent the line between truth and fiction to an extreme. • Literature – With new literacy came a need for popular literature and this void was filled by dime and nickel novels printed en mass by publishers. Most reflected either conflict on the frontier or conflict in the cities. Others reflected Christian principles in the cities.
Leisure Time in Urban Parks • In an effort to escape the modern industrial city – without ever having to leave – city planners began to build parks in urban areas. • With the successes of planning like New York’s Central Park by Frederick Law Olmstead, the City Beautiful Movement began in an effort to mimic European cities. • The ideas of the City Beautiful movement brought forth the thought that a city can be prosperous and also pretty and enjoyable for its citizen to live within. • This new planning allowed for citizens to enjoy all sorts of new leisure activities inside of the cities of America.
Leisure and Sports • Sports in American culture have been very important as a unifying and competitive location for men and women to participate and to watch. • During the late 1800s weekend games – both watching and participating – became regular events. • As more and more people began to play and watch these new game the organizers of the games began to standardize these games. • A couple of these games? • Baseball – A long standing American past time that has consistently drawn 40,000+ fans a day to watch games. • Football - Organized in upper-class new England Football was a marriage of English Futball and Rugby. • Basketball – an indoor sport for indoor towns.
Entertainment • Entertainment began to shift as new inventions and the modern city began to meld industrialization, immigration, and creativity. • Two changing forms of entertainment during this period were the morphing of the Theatre and the advent of Ragtime music. • In the theatre high society families preferred the classics, mostly from Shakespeare, the middle class and lower classes preferred the French light play or the Vaudeville which incorporated acts, games, talents, etc. • In the music world a new style of music, called Ragtime, swept the country by storm and was a radical shift from traditional Victorian society. Ragtime was paired perfectly with the new Vaudeville shows and performances.