2 What is the relationship between the people and the buildings in each work? 1. Describe the scene presented in this 1911 painting of New York City. What are the features of urban life that it emphasizes? (Answer: New York scene shows densely packed tall buildings, many featuring advertising on their sides. The streets are crowded with horses, wagons, trolleys, and people. There are few trees. The air appears smoggy.)2. What does this work suggest about daily life in cities like New York? (Answer: The painting emphasizes the frenetic atmosphere and energy of city life—people, animals, and traffic are clearly moving forward toward their destinations. Everyone looks purposeful and busy, and the structures that dominate the background serve as evidence of their industrious efforts. The painting also shows the grime and smog that characterized urban life in this era.)3. What artistic trend does this painting represent? Does it give an indication of the artist’s view of city life? (Answer: Painting represents the Ash Can school, artistic realism. The artist was presenting city life as he saw it and not necessarily trying to convey a judgment or message about urban life. Unlike previous generations of artists, realists like Bellows chose subjects that were not uplifting or conventionally beautiful. They sought to convey real life.)
3 I. The New MetropolisA. The Shape of the Industrial City 1. Mass Transit 2. Skyscrapers 3. The Electric CityI. The New MetropolisA. The Shape of the Industrial City1. Mass Transit – As cities grew larger, technology assisted residents and visitors with travel; electric trolley system was designed in Richmond, VA (1887); Chicago and New York City had elevated railroads; Boston had an underground line (1897); railroads contributed to the growth of the “suburb,” areas on the outskirts of city where wealthy lived, known as “commuters”; working class lived near city centers where they worked; telephone (1876) connected suburban people to the cities.2. Skyscrapers – Steel, glass, and elevators changed buildings in downtown areas; skyscrapers were expensive but a good use of small amounts of land; the ten-story Home Insurance Building (1885) in Chicago was the first skyscraper.3. The Electric City – Gas lamps were too dim to brighten city streets; invention of the incandescent bulb in 1879 changed urban life, as night time was now illuminated; urban life appeared safer and more appealing.
6 I. The New MetropolisB. Newcomers and Neighborhoods 1. Ethnic neighborhoods 2. African Americans 3. TenementsI. The New MetropolisB. Newcomers and Neighborhoods1. Ethnic neighborhoods – Immigrants generally lived among people of shared ethnicity: Irish in Boston, Swedes in Minneapolis, and Italians in northeastern and Mid-Atlantic cities; settled in neighborhoods where churches, shops, and schools met their cultural needs.2. African Americans – At the turn of the century, 90 percent of black Americans lived in the South, but many were moving from rural to urban areas; in northern cities, they faced discrimination and violence; race riots occurred in several northern cities (New York City, NY, 1900; Evansville, IN, 1903; and Springfield, IL, 1908).3. Tenements – Five- or six-story buildings that provided cheap housing for twenty or more families in cramped, airless apartments; fostered rampant disease and horrific infant mortality; New York’s Tenement House Law of 1901 required interior courts, indoor toilets, and fire safety measures for new buildings.6
8 1. Describe this image. What event does it depict 1. Describe this image. What event does it depict? (Answer: The image is the cover of a French magazine from It depicts the race riot that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, that followed a political campaign’s false charges of “negro crime” in 1906.)2. What does this illustration suggest about how the publication’s Parisian readers viewed race relations in the United States at this time? (Answer: This image shows whites as brutally violent and blacks as defenseless victims. That depiction, in addition to the caption, reveals that Parisians found white racism and violence against blacks horrific.)
9 I. The New MetropolisC. City Cultures 1. Urban Amusements 2. Ragtime and City Blues 3. Sex and the CityI. The New MetropolisC. City Cultures1. Urban Amusements – One enticing attraction was vaudeville theater, which arose in the 1880s and 1890s: patrons paid twenty-five cents to watch live entertainment; appealed to all classes; paid a nickel for movies at the early movie theaters, or nickelodeons; more spectacular were the amusement parks (ex: Coney Island, NY), where people rode the roller coasters, ate, and danced.2. Ragtime and City Blues – Ragtime music by African American artists with a “ragged rhythm” became extremely popular among audiences of all classes and races, drawn to the excitement of its infectious rhythms—a decisive break with Victorian hymns and parlor songs; Scott Joplin was most famous performer; New York had more than five hundred dance halls by 1910; the “blues” became popular in New York City, taken from African American folk music.3. Sex and the City – Amusement parks and theaters provided opportunities for dating that had not existed in previous generations; was less parental supervision in the city; working-class girls relied on dates for the “treat”; for some, this meant exchanging sexual favors for the date (so-called charity girls); gay subculture developed in urban areas with underground clubs; term queer was used by 1910.
12 I. The New Metropolis C. City Cultures (cont.) 4. High Culture 5. Urban JournalismI. The New MetropolisC. City Cultures (cont.)4. High Culture – Art and natural history museums, libraries, and symphonies grew out of wealthy patrons’ interests and donations; Andrew Carnegie spent more than $32.7 million to establish over a thousand libraries nationwide.5. Urban Journalism – Interest increased in reading about current events, human-interest stories, sports, fashion, and high society; the arrival of Sunday color comics featuring the “Yellow Kid” gave such publications the name yellow journalism, a derogatory term for mass-market newspapers; sensationalism grew as owners competed for sales (Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst); papers played an increasing role in investigating corruption in government; “muckrakers”: negative term for those newspaper reporters accused of drawing too much attention to negative stories.
13 II. Governing the Great City A. Urban Machines 1. Tammany Hall 2. Successes and failuresII. Governing the Great CityA. Urban Machines1. Tammany Hall – Well-organized political party organizations were referred to as “political machines”; viewed by the middle class as corrupt; New York’s infamous Tammany Society—known by the name of its meeting place, Tammany Hall—was led by George Washington Plunkitt, who made deals for city contracts and services; he favored what he called the “honest graft” —the profits that came to savvy insiders who knew where and when to buy land; middle-class Americans were critical of immigrants’ support for political machines, but immigrants needed the jobs and aid that they provided in exchange for their political support.2. Successes and failures – Machine-style governments achieved some notable successes; built and/or improved public parks and markets, paved streets, brought clean water and gaslight, and removed garbage; led to better organized municipal agencies; achieved massive public projects such as aqueducts, sewage systems, bridges, and spacious parks; however, machines were limited in what the “boss” could do to stop widespread poverty; could help the individual, but not the bigger causes of the problems.
16 II. Governing the Great City B. The Limits of Machine Government 1. The Depression of the 1890s 2. ProgramsII. Governing the Great CityB. The Limits of Machine Government1. The Depression of the 1890s – Cities struggled to deal with the extreme growth in population; during 1890s, unemployment reached 25 percent in some urban areas; homelessness and hunger increased; middle-class reformers encouraged private charity rather than public assistance; urban voters became radicalized by the poverty, forcing politicians to make changes to their programs (ex: Cleveland’s mayoral race).2. Programs – Some American mayors began to model programs after European successes: public baths, gyms, swimming pools, playgrounds, free public concerts, lowering fares for street car travel, and efforts to reduce crime and increase municipal ownership of gas and electricity.
17 III. Crucibles of Progressive Reform A. Fighting Dirt and Vice 1. Cleaning Up Urban Environments 2. Closing Red Light DistrictsIII. Crucibles of Progressive ReformA. Fighting Dirt and Vice1. Cleaning Up Urban Environments – Late nineteenth-century Europeans began to understand how to prevent disease, even if they could not yet cure; understood germs and bacteria; began major initiative for clean water in urban areas of Massachusetts; were able to decrease the number of deaths from cholera, typhoid, and yellow fever; hygiene reformers made efforts to teach hand-washing to urban residents to fight tuberculosis; public health movement also worked to clean up pollution, passing smoke-abatement laws; “City Beautiful” movement advocated more and better urban park spaces, gardens, skating rinks, playgrounds, etc.2. Closing Red Light Districts – Concerns about the threat of white slavery (allegations that white women were being kidnapped into sex industry) were overstated but led to reform efforts; investigations found a complex reality: women entered prostitution as a result of many factors, including low-wage jobs, economic desperation, abandonment, and often sexual and domestic abuse; efforts made to reduce the demand for prostitutes (by arresting and punishing men) were unpopular; Mann Act (1910) prohibited the transport of prostitutes across state lines; the crusade against prostitution closed brothels, but in the long term it worsened conditions for women who continued to work in the sex industry.
18 1. According to this cartoonist, how do “cities invite the cholera” 1. According to this cartoonist, how do “cities invite the cholera”? (Answer: Sale of used/unclean clothing, stale vegetables, and tainted meat and fish all being sold to children and their families.)2. Why did this artist choose skeletons as peddlers on this city street? (Answer: Indicates his argument that death is being sold to women and children through the products available in the cities that local boards of health are not inspecting.)3. In your opinion, what specific audience is the artist seeking to capture with this depiction of city life? (Answer: Progressive-minded middle- and upper-class people who can do something to force/convince the boards of health to act; the appearance of barefoot children receiving tainted food from an image of death is meant to evoke an emotional and then hopefully political response.)
19 III. Crucibles of Progressive Reform B. The Movement for Social Settlements 1. Hull House 2. Resources and influenceIII. Crucibles of Progressive ReformB. The Movement for Social Settlements1. Hull House – Settlement houses were viewed as one of the most successful reforms of the Progressive Era; most famous settlement was in Chicago, started by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr (1889), modeled after a London settlement, Toynbee Hall; provided a community center to aid immigrants in gaining the resources they needed to survive in the city; helped give the community a voice; offered a bathhouse, playground, kindergarten, and day care center; in some cities, settlements were linked to or worked with colleges/universities to offer education.2. Resources and influence – Opened libraries, gymnasiums, savings banks, and cooperative kitchens; provided assistance in employment and investigations of problems in local communities (ex: helped establish juvenile court in Chicago); settlements were the foundation of social work in urban areas.
20 III. Crucibles of Progressive Reform C. Cities and National Politics 1. Triangle Shirtwaist fire 2. Resulting reformsIII. Crucibles of Progressive ReformC. Cities and National Politics1. Triangle Shirtwaist fire – On March 25, 1911, in New York City, fire spread quickly through the Triangle Shirtwaist textile factory; panicked workers discovered that employers had locked the emergency doors to prevent theft (in violation of city fire laws); dozens of workers, mostly young immigrant women, were trapped in flames; the average age of the 146 people who died was just nineteen.2. Resulting reforms – New York State appointed a factory commission that created fifty-six laws dealing with such issues as fire hazards, unsafe machinery, and wages and working hours for women and children; the labor code that resulted was the most advanced in the United States.