Presentation on theme: "The Fears of the Middle Class"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Fears of the Middle Class In the early 1900s the middle class was growing but was worried about lawless cities, a desperate poor, and an untouchable rich
2 Growth of the middle class Falling prices and increased consumerism led to improved standard of living for most AmericansUrbanization meant greater access to popular entertainment and modern comfortsIndustrialization meant the creation of management, clerical, and service industry jobs that were “white collar”Most of this middle class lived in and around the cities
3 Growth of the CitiesFrom 1860 to 1900 the percentage of Americans living in the cities rose from 20% to 40%Drawn by jobs, electricity, luxuries, anonymityThe cities grew so quickly that overcrowding became a major problem
4 ImmigrationFrom 1880 to 1920 about 25 million, about half as many people who lived in the country in 188080 percent from Southern and Eastern EuropeMost illiterate, poor, uneducatedCatholic, Jewish, Orthodox
5 Social problemsCrime – 6.8 homicides per 100,000 in 1920 (1.2 in 1900) (is now 5.6 per 100,000 in 2007)Not enough police, firefighters, garbage and sewage systemsOvercrowding – apartments subdividedPoverty
6 Most transportation was done by horse-drawn carts generating 20 to 30 pounds of manure a day- by the 1890s replaced by electric trolleysMost tenements had no plumbing so outhouses and cesspools were used and people threw their garbage into the streets or into alleysImmigrants began to move near immigrants from the same country – Little Italy, Chinatown, etc. . .
7 Corruption Political machines emerged in the cities Voters bribed by favors from ward bosses (jobs, money, gifts)Businesses bribe officials for contracts, favorsOfficials (elected or otherwise) get bribes or use information for personal benefit
8 AlcoholThe cities and their immigrant populations became associated with heavy alcohol usePer capita consumption of alcohol in a year (in gallons)– 1.72– 2.62007 – 2.31Alcohol consumption is associated with crime, domestic violence, indolence and vice
9 Women’s rights in the late 1800s If married a women would lose her right to own property, sign a contract and in some cases (teaching) has to quit their jobsWomen were encouraged to not work outside the homeDomestic violenceA belief in the moral superiority of women helped build support for granting women the right to vote
11 Trusts and the wealthyA rash of mergers and buyouts concentrates ownershipTrusts are combinations of companies that dominate an industryLarge companies put smaller companies out of business with newer machines and technologySome trusts could lower prices with new machinery, but fear of monopolies and low wages persistedBy 1910 – 2 percent of the population earned 20 percent of the nation’s income (double what it had been in 1896)
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