New York City's first skyscraper, the Tower Building, 1889
"What shall we do with our great cities? What will our great cities do with us...?[T]he question...does not concern the city alone. The whole country is affected...by the condition of its great cities.
I. Sources of Urbanization
A. As steam replaced water power for mills, industries concentrated geographically (ironmakers in Pittsburgh, meat-packing in Chicago, Haverhill, Massachusetts in shoes, etc.)
B. Large-scale production instantly created small cities of workers--company towns dominated by one industry.
C. Gateways for immigrants (New York, Boston, San Francisco) provided abundant cheap labor.
II. Problems of the City
A. Mass transit1. Until 1890, the horsecar (using railroad tracks) accounted for 70% of city traffic. Limitations:a. Slow2. Cable cars (first used in San Francisco in 1873) and electric trolley cars (Richmond, 1887) with overhead power lines replaced horses in many cities
b. Limited pulling power
c. Left piles of manure
IV. Corruption in the City
A. Police forces (separate from the military and controled by local officials) established to maintain law and orderV. Battling the City's Problems1. Poorly defined dutiesB. Political bosses emerged, controlling city machines
2. Ineffective in controlling theft, prostitution, gambling
3. Symbiotic relationships developed between police and institutions, such as saloons, they were supposed to oversee
4. Reform came slowly, as independent police commissions were established to control bribery and graft1. Ward captains turned out voters on election day
2. Jobs handed out as political favors, as were tax breaks and licenses
3. While some machines provided welfare services, opportunities for corruption were greata. Boss Tweed in New York's Tammany Hall controlled 60,000 jobs. He was arrested, bribed his way out of jail, escaped, re-caught and finally died in jail.
b. Big Jim Pendergast held absolute power in Kansas City, controlling gambling and liquor licenses
A. Reformers sought to counter poverty and other urban problems by focusing on moral uplift1. YMCAs and YWCAs formed to provide housing and recreation opportunitiesB. Social Gospel sought to apply teachings of Jesus' to the problems of urban society. Blame for problems did not rest with the poor, but with society.
2. Salvation Army effective in providing emergency aid, housing, street kitchens
3. Comstock laws sought to close down gambling, pornography, prostitution, and Sunday liqour sales.1. Washington Gladden--true Christianity requires churchgoers to fight social injusticeC. Settlement Houses--founded by Jane Addams to offer literacy classes, crafts classes, job training, and a sense of dignity to urban dwellers, particularly immigrants
2. Walter Rauschenbusch--Christianity and the Social Crisis. Churches should unite to reform the abuses of industry and fight for peace.
Please cite this source when appropriate:
Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History Resources"
http://home.earthlink.net/~gfeldmeth/USHistory.html (31 March 1998).
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