Chapter 29 Summary

jumpclaybrainedUrban and Civil

Nov 25, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)


Chapter 29 Summary

Four of five of the new immigrants settled in the Northeast. These immigrants clustered in their
own neighborhoods, forming "ethnic ghettos." The desire to assimilate varied in intensity from group to
group and even within groups. A
considerable number continued to believe that they would return to
Europe one day. Few immigrants aspired to more than a reading, writing, and arithmetic education for
their children. Immigrant groups established their own institutions to assist in adjus
ting to America
while maintaining their ethnic identity, especially the Catholic Church, which formed "territorial
parishes." Settlement houses also emerged to aid in the immigrant transition.

Political machines ran most big American cities during the nin
eteenth century. The sole purpose
of the machine was to win municipal elections through understanding the needs of the urban masses.
The largely Irish Tammany Hall was the prototype of the machine. Good government reformers were
unable to overcome the m
achines because of their handouts and favors to the community. Most of the
money for the handouts came from thieving techniques such as the padded contract.

Machine politicians never addressed the great evils of big
city life the urban poor faced. Big
people died at high rates because of crowding. Dumbbell tenements, with little sunlight and putrid air,
housed almost half of New York's population by 1894. Epidemics of serious diseases were nearly
uncontrollable. Philadelphia with its row houses wa
s the rare big
city exception. Sanitation was also a
serious problem in big cities. Slums were breeding grounds of vice and crime. The homicide rate in
American cities tripled in the 1880s.

By 1900, one
third of Americans were "urban." Center
city livi
ng switched from being the
desirable neighborhood to being abandoned to business and the poor. The omnibus and the horsecar
lines were the first attempts at mass transportation. While the El provided roomy, airy residential
neighborhoods, it further dete
riorated the quality of urban life. Trolleys was the nineteenth century's
final innovation in urban transportation and was almost entirely positive. Meanwhile, with buildings
getting taller, Otis's "safety elevator" allowed for safe travel to higher floo
rs. Jenney made yet taller
structures possible by perfecting the steel "I"
beam girder. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in
1883 brought Brooklyn into the larger Manhattan. The bridge was both America's celebration of the big
city and an indictme
nt of it.