Rise of Modern America Chicago: Building a City



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Rise of Modern America





Chicago: Building a City

This module illustrates the growth of Chicago during the nineteenth century as a series of interconnected cause and effect relationships. Leading with an exercise that requires the student to think about the impact of industry, transportation, and immigration on the growth of the prototypical American city, this module uses the development of Chicago to teach about urban growth in America.



Readings


  • Sister Carrie, Chapter III (Theodore Dreiser)

  • “Chicago” (Carl Sandburg)

  • The Jungle, Chapter 3 (Upton Sinclair)



Module Level Questions


  1. What challenges did new arrivals in Chicago face?

  2. Why was the development of canals and railroads integral to Chicago’s growth?

  3. How could the experience of industrial labor be seen as a mixed blessing for the working class?

  4. What was the primary factor in Chicago’s industrial development—immigration, industry, or transportation?





The Wizard of Oz: A Populist Parable?

This module introduces students to an interpretation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory about Populism. By juxtaposing passages from the book with their historical correlates, the module examines the economic conditions of the American farmer and factory worker in the late nineteenth century; the conflict between the eastern banking establishment and southern and western agricultural interests; and the contentious issue of monetary reform. The module takes up the Populist platform, the impact of Populist presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, and the polarizing election of 1896.


Readings

  • “Cross of Gold” (William Jennings Bryan)

  • Platform of the People’s Party



Section Questions


  1. Why was the drop in farm prices so damaging to the lives of farmers in the late-19th century? What could the farmers do to help themselves?

  2. Did the drop in farm prices benefit anyone?

  • Dorothy and Silver Shoes

  1. According to the Populists, how could the coining of silver have resolved the economic problems farmers faced in the late nineteenth century?

  • Scarecrow

  1. How did the Populists plan to resolve the problems faced by farmers?

  2. Were any of the Populists’ ideas put into action?

  • Tinman

  1. In what ways were the problems of urban workers in the late nineteenth century similar to the problems of farmers? In what ways did they differ?

  • Lion

  1. According to William Jennings Bryan, who caused the nation’s economic problems?

  2. According to Bryan’s speech, why did the nation turn to the gold standard?

  3. What did Bryan argue would happen to the United States if the farmers’ problems were not solved?

  • Wicked Witch of the West

  1. In what ways did the depression of 1893–1894 hurt the

nation?

  • Wizard

  1. What do you think the late nineteenth-century presidents could have done to help farmers?



Module Level Questions


  1. According to the Populists, what caused the drop of farm prices in the late nineteenth century?

  2. How were the problems of farmers and workers similar in the 1890s, according to the Populist perspective?

  3. What did Populists demand government do to help farmers in the 1890s?

  4. Who opposed William Jennings Bryan in the election of 1896, and why?




Hull House: Settlements, Progressives, and the City

This module examines the problems of urban poverty identified by social reformers during the Progressive Era through the prism of Hull House, the settlement house in Chicago. Dynamic maps based on the research left by the Hull House reformers themselves allow students to compare ethnicity and income across Chicago neighborhoods. The module uses Chicago as one model of urban development for the American city.


Readings

  • “Public Activities and Investigations” (from Twenty Years at Hull House, Jane Addams)

  • Excerpts on Italian Immigrants (from Twenty Years at Hull House, Jane Addams)

  • Excerpt (from Twenty Years at Hull House, Jane Addams)

  • Excerpt from “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project” (Ernest W. Burgess)

  • Excerpt from “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project” (Ernest W. Burgess)

  • Excerpts from Remarks upon the Italian Colony in Chicago by Alessandro Mastro-Valerio (from Hull-House Maps & Papers, 1895)

  • United States Department of Labor Questionnaire (1893)

  • Excerpts from How the Other Half Lives (Jacob Riis, 1890)

  • Excerpt from The Shame of the Cities (Lincoln Steffens)

  • “The Bohemian People in Chicago” by Josefa Humpal Zeman (from Hull-House Maps & Papers, 1895)

  • Excerpts from “The Chicago Ghetto” by Charles Zeublin (from Hull-House Maps & Papers, 1895)



Section Questions


  • Hull House

  1. How did the different rooms of Hull House serve the different problems reformers found in the surrounding neighborhood?

  2. What values influenced the design of Hull House? What ends did its architecture and layout serve, and how so?

  • Neighborhood

  1. What challenges did the social environment of the Near West Side present to reformers? What challenges did the physical environment present?

  2. Which groups of the Near West Side were part of the “new immigration” of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? How did they differ from “old immigration” groups?

  3. How did the problems reformers saw on the Near West Side affect their ideas about the use of land and space in the city?



Module Level Questions


  1. How did the different rooms of Hull House serve the different problems reformers found in the surrounding neighborhood?

  2. What did the settlement pattern of different ethnic and income groups in the Near West Side reveal?

  3. How did the problems Hull House workers saw around them in the city lead them to larger questions?

  4. What is the Chicago School of Urban Sociology?




Boom and Bust: The Stock Market, 1928–1930

This module provides a simulation of the stock market before, during, and after the Great Crash of October 1929. Using contemporary news accounts and photographs, the module shows students the main factors that historians have identified as the causes of the crash, and provides some explanations for how this event was related to the subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s.


Readings:

  • “The Great Crash: 1929” (John Kenneth Galbraith)



Section Questions


  • Settings

  1. What factors fueled the rise in stock market speculation during the 1920s?

  2. What sorts of companies benefited the most from the market boom?

  3. Why did some critics fear that the market was headed for a crash in the late 1920s? Why did other analysts feel differently?

  • Stock Market Simulator

  1. What factors fueled the rise in stock market speculation during the 1920s?

  2. What sorts of companies benefited the most from the market boom?

  3. Why did some critics fear that the market was headed for a crash in the late 1920s? Why did other analysts feel differently?

  • Lessons Learned?

  1. Did the stock market collapse occur all at once, or over time? How might this have affected the subsequent depression?

  2. How did government actions help contribute to the Great Depression?

  3. What were the underlying problems in the U.S. economy of the 1920s, and how did they worsen the crash?



Module Level Questions


  1. What factors fueled the rise in stock market speculation during the 1920s?

  2. Why did some critics fear that the market was headed for a crash in the late 1920s? Why did other analysts feel differently?

  3. How did government actions help contribute to the Depression?

  4. What were the underlying problems in the U.S. economy of the 1920s, and how did they worsen the crash?




Route 66: Touring New Deal America

This module focuses on the New Deal’s cultural projects in writing, art, music, theater, and photography. Students can tour Route 66—connecting Chicago to Los Angeles—to examine contemporary government photographs of the land and its people; to view public works projects, posters, and murals; and to hear the folk music and read the oral histories that the WPA identified as representative of America’s national identity.


Readings:

  • “The Dybbuk of Bunker Street” (1939)

  • Francisco Gomez (1938)

  • Jim Cole (1939)

  • “Jolly, Woncha Ramble?” (1934)

  • “Early Experiences in New Mexico” (Charles B. Kilgore, 1937)

  • Romances and Corridos of New Mexico

  • Anna Novak (1939)

  • “Power” (Arthur Arent)

  • Mary Reynolds



Module Level Questions


  1. What did the cultural projects of the New Deal discussed here convey about American farmers and workers?

  2. How did the cultural projects attempt to convey a strong sense of regional identity?

  3. How do the cultural projects discussed here depict the Great Depression?

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