Provided housing and wholesome recreation for country boys who had migrated to the city
Subjected members to curfews and expelled them for drinking and other forbidden behavior
1900- more than 1500 YMCAs served as havens for nearly a quarter million young men
Although charity workers made some progress in their efforts to aid youth, the strategy was too narrowly focused to stem the rising tide of urban problems
Established by Methodist church
Sent uniformed volunteers to the US from England in 1880 to provide food, shelter, and temporary employment for families
Ran soup kitchens and day-nurseries
Attracted poor with marching bands of lively preaching
Taught them self-discipline
Created by Jane Addams
First experiment in the settlement house approach
Focused on middle-class domestic ideal of true womanhood as supportive and self-sacrificing; Hull House was turned into a social center for recent immigrants
Studies were made on housing conditions and sanitation
More settlements were made, but they had mixed success
Charity Organization Society (COS)
Similar to Salvation Army (in poor relief)
Founded in 1882 by Josephine Shaw Cowell
Adopted a scientific approach to make aid to the poor more efficient
Tried to foster self-sufficiency
Served as a useful coordinator for relief efforts and developed helpful statistics on the extent of poverty; critics justly accused the society of being more interested in controlling the poor than in alleviating their suffering
Failed to convert the poor to their only standards of morality and decorum
Insitutional Church Movement
William S. Rainsford (Episcopal minister)
Large downtown churches in elite districts that had been overrun by immigrants would provide their new neighbors with social services and a place to worship
Financial help from J. P. Morgan
Organized a boys’ club, built church recreational facilities for the destitute on the Lower East Side; established an industrial training program
Said that the rich people were the problem and therefore they had to fix it
2. Political bosses gave jobs to immigrants, came out of community to help improve their communities. presided over city's "machine" (unofficial political organization designed to keep particular party/faction in office). could be mayor of city, but not always. strong influence in city government. rewarded friends, punished enemies through taxes, licenses, and inspections. helped needy, protected troubled... sounds good but was not overall good -> huge debt and corrupt politics.
Reformers objected machines. immoral and corrupt, destroying cities and politics and causing huge debt. used religious revivals for charitable source (Salvation Army). turned process into Americanization of immigrants and eliminated foreign culture and customs.
3. In the late 19th century as the middle class grew larger and purchasing power increased Middle and upper-class Americans were able to afford things previously reserved for the extremely wealthy. Out of this new consumer culture came department stores which served a s a “home away from home” for women. These stores were designed like palaces; and advertised their merchandise as “rock –bottom” to encourage Americans to spend more. Americans were also able to buy out of catalogues which enabled rural Americans to buy less common goods.
After a long day of work, working class Americans needed a way to spend their free time. Many Americans went to the streets to socialize and here street musicians, or buy a snack. Males would spend time in saloons and drink beer. Prize fighting was also popular. At this time professional sports like baseball began to emerge. The poor took to boxing and the rich enjoyed socializing at horse races. Working class people also enjoyed vaudeville and music halls.
The rich and the poor became more separated and the idea of social Darwinism was more present. There also seemed to be a division between immigrants and American born citizens. It was rare for the poor to rise to a higher class and the city’s unprecedented scale and diversity threatened traditional expectations about community life and social stability. A medley of immigrant groups contended with one another and with native-born Americans for jobs, power, and influence.
5. Compare the late 19th century working class and middle class family in terms of changing approaches to “getting ahead”; economic responsibilities of family members; and attitudes towards leisure, amusement, culture, and education:
With the introduction of increasingly-mechanized farm machinery, the less laborious farming career was left to men, and rural young women migrated to the cities to seek a livelihood. This also held true for the immigrants; Irish women frequently traveled alone to the United States to find employment. Many other immigrant familial groups were also influenced by certain “push” and “pull” factors. Those with backgrounds in skilled trades such as textile work, an acquaintanceship with Anglo-American customs, and the race or culture of an already predominant American majority faced few problems in their new homeland. Unfortunately, these workers were still as a whole subject to tenement housing in industrial districts, the will of the boss of the political machine and his ward captains, and a striated society.
The middle-class emulated the wealthy, aristocratic upper-class, who lived on specially-reserved avenues in the major cities or in luxurious suburban communities, by populating the outlying suburbs and renting two-story apartments in the city. This class became one of commuters, who rode the city rails and frequented the trolley lines. They firmly believed in Victorian morals, separate spheres for the genders of the household, and social reform. Through personal endowments, such as the creation of Stanford, and segregated purposes, such as the exclusively female Vassar, higher and continuing education became standard.
- “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will.”
- bagels, baked potatoes, soda, and other street refreshments for 1- 5 ¢
- gymnastic clubs (Turnverein) and singing societies (Gesangverein) for Germans
- saloons with 5 ¢ beer
- saloonkeepers often were ward bosses & also helped immigrants find jobs
- but also note that saloons went hand-in-hand with crime, esp. prostitution, and alcoholism became a major problem
- architecture, jewelry making, interior decoration, essentially injecting fine art into every aspect of life
- Norton, Gilder and Godkin wanted to elevate America
- nice home décor, textiles, ceramics, books
- serious lit
- high society
- perfect manners and strict etiquette
- most modern lit a slap in the face to conventional, “genteel” Victoriana
- more realistic, believable, probable, relatable writings
- some were censored for vulgarity, anti- Christian sentiments, blatant sexual references and general grumpiness (unhappy endings, all things that were against traditional and typified Victorian writing
- regionalists such as Sarah Orne Jewett
- Stephen Crane, Mark Twain and Theodore Dreiser
Beginning in the 1870’s, the public viewed the public school as a way of teaching and controlling the lower ranks of society. In turn, middle-class educators and civic leaders campaigned to expand public schooling and bring it under centralized control. Thanks to Horace Mann’s crusade for universal public education most states had a public school system since the civil war, and over half of the children in the nation were getting a form of education. Most children only went to school for 3-4 years and did not go to high school. Middle class families were concerned that Americans lacked enough knowledge to act out intelligently in public affairs, or work effectively in the labor force. Middle-class reformers like William Torrey Harris tried to change the number of years children must attend school. He also urged teachers to give students a sense of order, discipline, and civic loyalty. He stressed punctuality, centralized administration, compulsory attendance laws, and a tenure system to keep teachers from political favoritism. By 1900 31 states made school attendance mandatory for children 8-14. A working class pediatrician from New York, Joseph Mayer Rice criticized this educational establishment that stressed “singsong memorization” and had discipline rules like a prison. While the education establishment improved the illiteracy rate, Rice had a valid point on how strict the teachers were when he quoted a Chicago boy who said teachers would “hit” students for almost anything they did wrong. Many groups began to form in opposition to the public school bureaucracy. Working class families valued education, but they needed their children to work at the earliest age possible, so most stopped sending their children to school after elementary school where they had already learned to read and write. Later Catholic immigrants were opposed to the Protestant values of the public school and created their own parochial school systems. The Democratic party tried to stop funding to these schools, but failed.
6. How did the Victorian worldview shape standards of middle-class morality in the US? How did it help to justify the middle-class style of life? What effect did it have on American women and the American working class? Why did a reaction set in against those attitudes and assumptions?
Crusades to abolish slavery and alcoholism were energized by appealing to the ethical standards of Victorian morality. After the war, many people, mainly the middle and upper classes, became less interested in social reforms and more preoccupied with the importance of manners and social protocol. Good manners, a knowledge of dining and entertaining etiquette, and good posture became important badges of status. The Victorian worldview rested on a number of assumptions. One was that people could improve themselves. The second was the belief that a commitment to working hard developed personal self-discipline and self-control along with national progress. Lastly, Victorian Americans stressed the importance of good manners and the value of literature and fine arts. Along with the traditional woman’s role as director of the household the Victorian American women began to foster and artistic environment that would nurture her family’s cultural improvement. Increasingly, middle- and upper-class women sought other outlets for their creative energies in settlement house work and social reform.
7. How did the nation’s cultural diversity manifest itself?
Immigrants tended to stay in packs and therefore developed specific recreational/cultural activities
In cites with strong German immigrant presence, gymnastics clubs (Turnverein) and singing societies (Gesangverein) provided companionship and the opportunity to perpetuate old-world cultural traditions
For workmen of ethnic backgrounds, saloons offered companionship
o NYC had 10,000 saloons and Denver 500
o They reinforced group identity and became centers for immigrant politics
Blacks, Irish and Germans formed their own “sporting clubs” and used athletics to bolster their self confidence and reaffirm their racial or ethnic identity
3. From the 1860s to 1900, the lives of most Americans underwent fundamental transformations. Explain these transformations by examining changes in the family unit, in consumer behavior, in leisure-time activities, and in the basic unity – or lack of unity – of the American class structure.
The Family Unit
Family life changed due to the women’s role within the home changing. More women started to go to college. By 1900 women made up 1/3 of the total college student population. This generation of women wanted to compete with an equal basis with men. This led to women getting jobs and working instead of working at home all day. This also caused the divorce rate to increase; from 1880 to 1900 the divorce rate went from 1 in 21 marriages ending in divorce to 1 in 12 marriages ending in divorce.
Introduction of the Department Store made shopping an exciting activity
Innovative entrepreneurs like Rowland H. Macy, John Wannamaker, and Marshall Field built giant department stores which became urban institutions for millions of middle and upper class consumers
New stores emphasized high quality of products and low cost
Stores were designed as imitation palaces: stained glass skylights, marble staircases and brilliant chandeliers-- functioned as a type of social club for women
Before the Civil War, leisure time was viewed skeptically by almost all Americans
Working-class Americans took advantage of leisure activities the most because they worked such long, hard hours in factories, mills, stores, etc.
New leisure activities included street entertainment, gymnastic clubs, singing societies, saloons, bare-knuckled prizefighting, baseball, professional boxing, vaudeville, amusement parks, and ragtime
On the street, young people bought food from push-cart peddlers and listened to street musicians
Male German immigrants went to gymnastic clubs and singing societies to hold into their traditions
Saloons caused rampant alcoholism
After baseball became very popular, the National League forced players to sign contracts and limited each city to one professional team
John L. Sullivan was the most popular boxer, but he avoided fighting an even better boxer, Peter Jackson, because Jackson was black
Especially appealing to young women, vaudeville shows included acts such as trained animal routines, dance numbers, musical performances, comic skits, ventriloquists, pantomimes, magicians, and trapeze artists
Blackface vaudeville acts could be seen as a challenge to the old traditions or as a way to reinforce prejudice against the blacks
Amusement parks offered a special appeal to young, unmarried women who could escape from work and the watchful eyes of their parents
Ragtime also contributed to a spreading rebellion against the repressiveness of Victorian standards
Unity/ disunity of American Class structure
Each class identified themselves with other members of their class but felt no unity towards all the classes combined.
The upper and middle classes mirrored in trends of settling on the outskirts of the downtown area where the working and lower classes inhabited.
Due to the reorganization prompted by industrialization and subdivision of labor, jobs and income had been redistributed. The upper and middle classes could excel easier while the working and lower classes had to work harder to move ahead which resulted in clearer divisions between the rich and poor and a greater sense of disunity as a country.
Many upper and middle class citizens worked to better the lives of the lower classes through social reform but only in increasing morality or housing conditions, but in helping them to advance politically.
Increased college education among the upper and middle classes only led to a wider division between the classes.
4. Women in southern black families
still worse for Blacks
Women in poor white Midwestern farm families
Barely made it
Stayed in debt.
Women in urban working class families
Sought relaxation and diversion after work
Young working women preferred to share confidences with friends in informal social clubs
Tried out new fashions in street promenading
Found excitement in neighborhood dance halls and amusement parks
Women in middle class families
Role was complex and ambiguous
Remained committed to playing a nurturing and supportive role within the family
Prostitution degraded middle class women to a lower class
Women would provide the gentle elevating influence that would lead society in its upward march.
“Cult of Domesticity”
Victorian views on morality and culture
Home as “the women’s sphere” in 1840s
Praised home as a protected retreat where females would express their special maternal gifts
Subtle but important effect on the middle class woman’s role within the home
Homes made a class and social statement of cultural aspiration
1880s and 1890s a new role was added to the traditional views of the women of the director of the house: to promote an artistic environment that would nurture her family’s cultural improvement.
5 + 7. Compare the late-19th century working-class and middle-class family in terms of changing approaches to "getting ahead"; economic responsibilities of family members; and attitudes towards leisure, amusement, culture, and education. AND Discuss some of the basic features and tensions of American popular culture in the 1890's. How did the nation's cultural diversity manifest itself?
People of the time believed that their way of "getting ahead" was linked to their superior talent, intelligence, morality, and self-control. They believed that in order to be an upper-class citizen, one had to be superior in a certain way, and so people began to strive for superiority in a particular way. When it came to economic responsibilities, men were known to be the ones bringing home the most money. Women had jobs too, but the mother was thought to be important in providing an artistic environment that would nurture her family's cultural improvment and moral life. In terms of free time, the working class was very clannish and tended to stay in the same cultural group (Irish w/ Irish, etc.). The black working class built churches, businesses, and even charities that would only support other blacks. They mainly lived in packing houses in the slums and ghettos where health and living conditions were very poor. Slums were very noisy and polluted with soot and coal dust from the factories. The working class tended to stay in noisy saloons for leisure. The middle class tried to follow the wealthy class and mirror their every action. They tended to move away from the noisy cities to the edge of town. Manners were everything to the middle class; it was a sign of proper etiquette as well as a mark of status. With education, new colleges were appearing that appealed to the middle class. The working class, on the other hand, was lucky to receive a high school education. Much of the cultural unrest of the 1890's was within the middle class itself. Victorian morality and genteel cultural standards were never fully accepted by the upper classes, and ethical questionings and cultural stirrings became strong. Women stood at the center of the conflict, held to too high of a standard and dissatisfied. They made efforts to stand out in the form of women's clubs and women's colleges. Also, there was a huge cultural gap between the middle class and the urban immigrants with their rambunctious saloons and boxing clubs, which challenged the straitlaced conduct of the middle class. Some reformers saw public school as a way to bring middle-class values to the urban masses, but by 1900 it was clear that the middle class culture, not the working class, would be the one to give in. These Victorian principles fell apart in architecture as well, with modernism taking hold as architects and painters became tired of copying European design.