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Ch. 8; Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life:

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1 Ch. 8; Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life: 1870-1915

2 Section 1: Politics in the Gilded Age
This era of politics is referred to as the “Gilded Age”. Coined by Mark Twain, the term states that the era was “covered with a thin layer of gold,” suggesting that a thin, glittering layer of prosperity covered the poverty and corruption of greater society.

3 Laissez-faire policies
During Late 1800s, businesses operated largely without government regulation. Laissez-faire: means “allow to be” in French. Most Americans believed in laissez-faire as a theory, but businesses became increasingly reliant on government benefits such as tariffs and subsidies.

4 Credit Mobilier Scandal
The Federal Government’s financial support of the transcontinental railroad brought corruption. Credit Mobilier charged the government far beyond the value of work being done. It was later discovered that Credit Mobilier bribed congressmen by offering them cheap stock shares.

5 Opposing Political Parties
Republicans during this era were mostly wealthier, northeastern industrialists, bankers and eastern farmers. Supported gold standard, tight money supply, limited immigration, high tariffs. Democrats were mostly those less privileged: urban immigrants, western farmers, and laborers. Supported increased money supply backed by silver, lower tariffs, less government aid to big business.

6 Spoils System During this era, elected officials could appoint friends and supporters, regardless of their qualifications. This caused a system of bribery, dishonesty, and a government full of unqualified politicians. Dishonest appointees often used their jobs for personal profit by favoring their own business ventures with financing or legislation.

7 Hayes fights spoils system
Rutherford B. Hayes, elected president in 1877, tried to clean up the spoils system. Appointed qualified independents to Cabinet posts and fired old, unneeded employees. This “house cleaning” of government made Hayes unpopular even among his own party, the Republicans.

8 Garfield’s assassination
James A. Garfield was elected president in 1880. In 1881 he was assassinated by a lawyer named Charles Guiteau. It was discovered that Guiteau had expected a job from Garfield, but didn’t receive one.

9 Pendleton Civil Service Act
Vice President, Chester Arthur, became president after Garfield’s death and immediately worked to reform the spoils system. Arthur passed Pendleton Civil Service Act in 1883. Act created Civil Service Commission that classified government jobs and tested applicants’ fitness for them.

10 Grover Cleveland Grover Cleveland, a democrat from New York, won the 1884 election. He became the first Democratic president since 1856.

11 Regulating Railroads: Munn v. Illinois
Complaints against railroads: Overcharging customers Offering rebates or refunds to favored customers Not publicizing rates In 1877, in Munn v. Illinois, the Supreme Court allowed states to regulate certain businesses, including railroads, within their borders. The act did not allow regulation for traffic that crossed state boundaries.

12 Interstate Commerce Act
Regulated railroad traffic that traveled across state borders. Required … That rates be set in proportion to the distance traveled. That rates be made public Outlawed railroad companies from giving special rates to powerful customers.

13 1888 Election Cleveland ran against Republican Benjamin Harrison.
Primary issue revolved around tariffs. Cleveland proposed a slight reduction in tariffs. Harrison wanted an increase in tariffs. Harrison’s position won him the support of big business and the presidency.

14 Benjamin Harrison Harrison, thought to be a fiscal conservative, ended up spending public money extensively, angering many and Grover Cleveland took back the presidency in 1892.

15 Cleveland’s Second Term
Grover Cleveland’s second term was tainted by a financial panic and depression beginning in 1893. People came to believe that the federal government should do more for struggling citizens. Angered farmers and unions by Repealing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act Sending federal troops to break up the Pullman Strike.

16 1896 Election Cleveland was not nominated by the democrats for another term. Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan, a populist and champion of the lower, working-class. Bryan lost to Republican William McKinley McKinley was shot in Buffalo, NY by a mentally ill anarchist in 1901, dying within days.

17 Section 2: Immigration In 1865 the population of the US was 31.5 million. Between 1865 and 1920, close to 30 million people entered the country, doubling the population. Immigrants came for various “push” factors including crop failures, shortages of land and jobs, rising taxes, and famine. The US was viewed as an opportunity for a better life.

18 Crossing the Ocean In the late 1800s, steam-powered ships could cross the Atlantic in two to three weeks. By 1900, the crossing took just one week. Most immigrants traveled in steerage, the large open area beneath the ship’s deck. Tickets were cheaper but steerage offered limited toilet facilities, no privacy, and poor food. Traveling across the Pacific took much longer.

19 Arriving- who came? About one third of immigrants were “birds of passage”. Usually young, single men, they worked for several years and then returned home. It is estimated that 10 million immigrants arrived between 1865 and Most coming from Northwestern and Central Europe. 2.8 million from Germany 1.8 million from Great Britain (England) 1.4 million from Ireland

20 Who came? The immigrant population shifted after 1890, more immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe and the Middle East. (see graph pg. 299) 10 million Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Jews, and Armenians. 3.8 million came from Italy. 3 million from Russia, primarily Jews. Asians often entered through San Francisco. 70% of all immigrants entered through New York City, called the “Golden Door”.

21 Physical Exams In 1892, the government required all new immigrants to undergo a physical examination. Those found to have a contagious disease such as TB faced quarantine, isolation to prevent disease spread, or even deportation. Serious disease or the eye disease, trachoma, was an automatic deportation.

22 Settling Immigrants often settled in communities formed by previous settlers from their homelands. (thus Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.) Many stayed in NYC and Boston, some went inland to Detroit, Cleveland, or Chicago, a growing port to the west. Only 2% moved south. Eager for work, newcomers were often taken advantage of by employers. Women made less: female seamstresses did the same job as men, working 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, but earned only half as much as men.

23 Ghettos A ghetto is a neighborhood dominated by one ethnic or racial group. Often sprang up naturally from people of common heritage wanting to live near one another. Often impoverished and had poor living conditions. Restrictive Covenants- agreements among homeowners not to sell real estate to certain groups of people.

24 Chinese Immigration A quarter of a million Chinese were recruited to help build the transcontinental railroad. As these Chinese settled down, they were heavily discriminated against. Accepted low wages, affecting the rates of pay of all workers. Unions thought that increased numbers of Chinese in California would lower working wages. Others claimed Asians were un-American, physically and mentally inferior to white Americans.

25 Chinese Exclusion Act In response to union demands and national pressure, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. The act prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country.

26 Japanese Immigration Many Japanese settled in the Los Angeles area.
Often involved in private businesses, Japanese were not as discriminated as Chinese, but still dealt with racism and prejudice. San Francisco’s school board ruled that all Asian students should attend separate schools in 1906. This upset the Japanese government so US President Teddy Roosevelt proposed a Gentlemen’s Agreement, an informal, unofficial agreement, under which San Francisco ended its school policy if Japan would stop issuing passports to laborers.

27 Mexican Immigration Increased irrigation of southwestern lands created more farming opportunities in southwestern US. Employers hired Mexican laborers who also took difficult jobs for low wages. The 1910 Mexican Revolution and Civil War also acted as a push factor for immigration.

28 Mexican Immigration Today
Mexican Immigration is a pertinent current issue. There are between million undocumented immigrants in America today, a majority of which are Mexicans. Recent Mexican immigrants, just as in the past, tend to do difficult jobs for little pay.

29 Mexican Immigration Today
Border control is a major current topic of legislation. A series of walls are currently being built between the US and Mexico to keep new immigrants out. A recent, extremely controversial law passed in Arizona adds very strict measurements and requirements on all aliens, which critics believe encourages racial profiling.

30 Section 3: City Challenges
Immigration led to a population explosion in US cities, bringing many challenges.

31 Expanding Cities Of the millions of immigrants, almost all settled in cities. Between 1880 and 1920, 11 million Americans moved from farms to cities. Many African Americans also migrated from the South to cities, both nearby and in the north.

32 Rural to Urban Migration in US

33 City Growth New Creations: skyscrapers, subways, smog, slums, etc.
Early cities were small in size and people commuted by walking. With the introduction of horse-drawn carriages, and then later elevated trains, wealthier people could live out of town and commute in, giving birth to the suburbs.

34 Subways & Skyscrapers Subway trains first appeared in Boston in 1897.
Cable cars were introduced in San Francisco in 1873, allowing transportation in steep hills. The Bessemer Process and the invention of the elevator opened the door for high rising “skyscrapers”.







41 Conditions in the Slums
To meet a growing population, landlords built tenements, low-cost apartment buildings designed to pack as many people into them as possible. Hundreds of people would fill a neighborhood/area designed for only a few families.

42 Concerns Overpopulation Open sewer systems
Poor hygiene raised serious concerns about the spread of disease. With the closeness of the tenements, fires were a constant danger.

43 The Great Chicago Fire The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 burned 18,000 buildings and left 100,000 homeless. Property damage was 200 million, 2 billion today.

44 Dumbbell Tenements In 1879, new legislation required an outside window for every room, encouraging ventilation and lighting. Architects responded by designing dumbbell tenements, named for their shape. Met the legislations criteria but interior windows faced small, dirty “courtyards” between houses.

45 Dumbbell Tenements

46 Conditions Scientists linked diseases like cholera and typhoid to contaminated drinking water. Fearing water-caused epidemics, Boston, Cincinnati, and New York built reservoirs to collect clean water far from the city and be filtered before use.

47 How the Other Half Lives
Jacob Riis wrote a book exposing the nation to the impoverished difficulties of tenement life. “Today three-fourths of (New York’s) people live in tenements… Nothing is left but to make the best of a bad bargain.” –Jacob Riis

48 Political Divisions Due to the rapid change, growth, and diversity of big cities like NYC, there was constant political tension and governing issues. Competition for political power in cities was fierce. Opposing groups included… Middle and upper class natives New immigrants Migrants from the countryside Different ethnicities within the recent immigrants

49 Political Bosses Out of the confusion and clashing interests rose unofficial political organizations known as political machines, run by a single, powerful “boss.” Sometimes bosses ran for office, but often would handpick others to run for them, and then help that leader win. Bosses and political machines often operated with corruption, exchanging favors and only looking out for their own interests and the interests of their constituents.

50 “Boss” Tweed William Marcy Tweed was the most notorious of such bosses. Powerful and influential, Tweed controlled Tammany Hall, the club that ran NYC’s Democratic Party. With access to the city treasury, Tweed and his friends fraudulently padded money to themselves through construction projects and fake expenses.

51 Thomas Nast Thomas Nast, a German immigrant, helped bring Tweed down by exposing his methods to the public. Nast’s cartoons depicted Tweed as a thief and a manipulative dictator. Tweed eventually died in jail after being convicted in 1873.



54 Section 4: Ideas for Reform
The challenges and problems caused by the rapid growth and change of cities prompted many different movements aimed at reforming society.

55 Helping the Needy The expanding gap between rich and poor prompted new charities and a shifting philosophy toward social responsibility and philanthropy.

56 The Charity Organization Movement
In 1882, the New York Charity Organization Society (COS) was founded. Tried to make charity a scientific practice by keeping detailed records of those who received help. Detailed files allowed the COS to decide who was worthy of help, and who was not. This notion at times led to unkind treatment of the needy.

57 The Social Gospel Attempted to apply Jesus’ teachings directly to society’s social issues. Focused on gospel ideals such as charity and justice. Rather than blaming immigrants for drinking, gambling, etc., the social gospel movement sought to fix the impoverished environments that led people into such lifestyles.

58 In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
Foundational to the Social Gospel Movement. “What would Jesus Do?” 39th best selling book of all times.

59 In His Steps

60 What would Jesus Do? A radical question…
The modern “WWJD” bracelet turned the idea into a commercialized cliché, but the question is fundamentally radical, as demonstrated in the book… Give up all earthly possessions to those in need? Sacrifice one’s own needs or desires for the needs and desires of others? Love and forgive your enemies, do good to those who persecute you?

61 Today

62 The Settlement Movement
Young, educated members of the social gospel movement decided to settle into houses within poor neighborhoods. Designed to act as community centers and offer social services to the poor.

63 Hull House In 1889, Jane Addams bought the run-down Charles Hull mansion in Chicago. Repaired and turned into settlement house. Opened their doors to neighbors, many of which were immigrants. Offered… Classes Child-care Playgrounds & clubs Summer camps for boys and girls Offices to help people find jobs Health-care clinics.

64 Settlement Homes By 1910 there were more than 400 settlement houses in the US. Most were supported by donations and run by volunteers.

65 Sociology The discussion of human problems and interactions created a new field of study: sociology. Sociology: the study of how people interact with one another in a society. Sociologists study societies through data and measurement, like biologists to biology.

66 Nativism Anti-immigrant, anti-foreign bias became known as nativism, the favoring of native-born Americans. The American Protective Association, a nativist group founded in 1887, targeted all immigrants alike, as well as Catholics.


68 Prohibition The late 1800s saw a revival of the temperance movement, an organized campaign to eliminate alcohol consumption. Groups opposed drinking on the grounds that it led to personal tragedies and society’s moral decay. Groups supported prohibition, a ban on the manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages.

69 Prohibition Prohibitionists did not experience much early success. By 1890, only three states had gone completely “dry,” Maine, Kansas, and North Dakota. The movement gained momentum over time, however, and became more prominent in the early 1900s.

70 Purity Crusaders As cities grew, so did illegal and immoral activity such as drugs, gambling, and prostitution. “Purity crusaders” tried to rid forms of vice (immoral or corrupt behavior) from their communities. In 1873, Anthony Comstock founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which won passage of a law that forbid the sending of obscene materials through US mail.

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