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Chapter 18 Notes

The Urbanization of America


a) The Life of the City
Urban population // In span of 50 years increased 7x after Civil War
By 1920 // Majority of population lived in urban areas
Why? Natural growth, immigrants and people in rural areas came
because of better paying jobs, cultural experiences, and transportation
was much easier
b) Migrations
Late 19th century // Geographic mobility
American went to new farmlands in West and cities in East
Women moved from farms to cities bc mechanization decreased their

value
Southern blacks moved to cities to escape poverty, oppression, and

violence
Largest source of urban growth: immigrants
Until 1880s // mainly educated northern Europeans who were
sometimes skilled laborers or businessmen moved West to start farms
c) The Ethnic City
Amount and diversity of immigrants tremendous
No majority group
Most immigrants came from rural areas so they formed close-knit ethnic
communities
Eased transition by offering native newspapers, food, and links to the
national post
Assimilation of ethnic groups into capitalist economy depended on values of
community & prejudices of employers
d) Assimilation
Most immigrants had desire to become Americans and break ties with old
national ways
Strain on women adjust to more fluid life of the American cities
e) Exclusion
Immigrant arrival aroused fear and resentment out of native born people
1887 // American Protective Association founded by Henry Bowers
Immigrant Restriction League sought to reduce immigrants
1882 // Chinese Exclusion Act passed by Congress
Denied entry to all undesirables and placed small tax on immigrants
New laws kept few out of America
Literacy requirement vetoed by president Grover Cleveland

II The Urban Landscape


a) The Creation of Public Space
mid 19th century // Reformer and planners began to call for ordered vision of
city resulted in creation of public spaces and services
Urban parks were a solution to congestion
Allowed escape from urban life
1850s // Central Park planned by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux
Great public buildings (ex. Libraries, museums, theaters, etc) encouraged by
wealthy residents who wanted services to match material & social aspirations
City Beautiful Movement inspired by Daniel Burnham was a massive city
rebuilding project
Provide order and symmetry to disorderly life of the city
b) Housing the Well-to-Do
Late 19th century // Availability of cheap labor & materials lowered cost of
building
Most wealthy lived in mansions
Moderately well-to-do and wealthy both began to build and commute
from communities nearby
c) Housing Workers and the Poor
Landlords tried to get the most people in the smallest amount of space
Most residents forced to stay in city and rent
tenements overcrowded slum dwellings
How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis showcased rough tenement
d) Urban Transportation
Old, dirty streets insufficient to deal with urban growth & need for people to
move everyday to different parts of a city
New forms of transit needed!!
By 1895 // Electric trolley lines
1897 // Boston opened first subway in the nation
e) The Skyscraper
Inadequate structural materials and stairs prevented tall building until 1870s
iron and steel beam development
After Civil War building grew taller
Term introduced in the 1890s
Steel construction allowed cities with limited space to expand upward if they
werent able to expand outward
III Strains of Urban Life
a) Fire and Disease

Fires destroyed large parts of downtown areas with building mainly made of
wood
Great fires led to fireproof buildings and professional fire
departments
Diseases from poor neighborhoods with inadequate sanitation and sewage
disposal threatened epidemics possibility to spread throughout whole city
b) Environmental Degradation
Rapid urbanization led to improper disposal of human and industrial waste
Threatened waterways and drinking water
Air quality suffered from burning of stoves and furnaces
By early 20th century // Reformers sought new sewage and drainage systems
Alive Hamilton looked to correct pollution in the workplace
1912 // Federal government created Public Health Service
Came up with factory health standards to prevent occupational
diseases
c) Urban Poverty
Expansion of city created more poverty
Number of people = many unable to earn decent living
Public agencies offered limited relief but usually only to the poorest
Some groups focused on religious revivalism as relief
d) Crime and Violence
Poverty and overcrowding created violence and crime
Murder rate rose nationwide
Rising crime rates prompted cities to create larger and more
professional police forces
Armories developed because of fear of urban insurrection
e) The Machine and the Boss
Newly arrived immigrants sought assistance from political machines
Urban bosses sought votes for their organization by winning loyalty of
voters through relief, jobs for unemployed, and patronage
Machines enriched politicians because of corruption from contractors or
investment from inside knowledge
Ex. William Tweed (NY Tammany Hall during 1860s and 1870s)
IV The Rise of Mass Consumption
a) Patterns of Income and Consumption
Growing markets and demand turn of century because of production and mass
distribution made goods less expensive
Rising incomes of white collar professionals and working class
people despite union failures

Food transformed by tin cans, refrigerated cars for perishables, and home
iceboxes
Better diet and higher life expectancy
b) Chain Stores and Mail-Order Houses
Local stores faced competition from chain stores
National network could sell manufactured goods and lower prices
Customers couldnt resist great variety and lower prices of chain stores
Chain stores slow to rural areas but gained access through mail-order houses
Ex. 1880s Montgomery war and Sears Roebuck mail order catalogues
c) Department Stores
Transformed shopping by bringing together many products under one roof
Previously in separate shops but now all in same place
d) Women as Consumers
Affected women greatest because women were the primary consumers of the
family
Spawned consumer protection movement with National Consumers League in
the 1890s
V Leisure in the Consumer Society
a) Redefining Leisure
Redefined in late 19th century because economic expansion and greater
worker time away from work
Leisure began to be a normal part of everyday life
The Theory of Prosperity & The New Basis of Civilization by Simon
Pattern
b) Spectator Sports
Search for public forms of leisure led to rise of organized spectator sports
Rise of baseball as national pastime & leagues were formed in
the 1870s
Football standardized in 1870s and began to grow
Boxing grew in 1880s
Had close association with gambling
c) Music and Theater
Large market of cities allowed theaters to be maintained in ethnic
communities

Musical comedies development


d) The Movies
1880s // projectors allowed showing on big screen in theaters with large
audiences

1900 // Moves very popular especially after DW Griffith introduced silent


epics
e) Working-Class Leisure
Great amount spent on the street
Lots of time but little money
Neighborhood salons also popular
f) The Fourth of July
Became full day of leisure and important highlight in the year of ethnic,
working-class communities
Massive celebrations which often included drinking
g) Private Pursuits
Reading remained popular as leisure activity
Ex. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1869) became very popular
Learning instrument within home was as popular as public music
performances
h) Mass Communications
Large urban market for transmitting news and information in urban industrial
society
Rise of publishing in journalism after Civil war with increase in
newspaper circulation
VI High Culture in the Age of the City
a) The Literature of Urban America
Some writers responded to new industrial civilization by evoking more natural
world
Others wanted to use literature to recreate urban social reality
Stephen Crane led movement of realism (The Red Badge of Courage) and
showed urban poverty and slum life
Theodore Dreiser highlighted social dislocations and injustices
Frank Norris & Upton Sinclair
Showed depravity of capitalism by exposing abuses in meatpacking
industry
b) Art in the Age of the City
1900 // many American artists breaking from old World traditions to new
styles
Ashcan School produced stark portrayal of social realities & showcased
realism
c) The Impact of Darwinism

Argues evolution from earlier species through natural selection, challenged


traditional American religious faith.
By end of century most urban professionals and members of educated
classes converted to teach in high schools
Led to break between culture of city receptive to new ideas and the traditional
provincial culture of rural areas tied to religion and older values
Relativism spawned by Darwinism led to growth of anthropology and study of
other cultures
d) Toward Universal Schooling
Dependence of specialized skills and scientific knowledge led to demand for
education
Richard Pratt targeted native tribes to civilize them an urged

practical industrial education


Morrill Land Grant Act of Civil war donated large amounts of land for

colleges
e) Education for Women
Expansion of educational opportunities for women (still way behind men
though)
Public high schools accepted women & network of womens colleges emerged