Chapter 18 Urban Growth and Farm Protest

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  • Urban Growth and Farm Protest
  • 1887 – 1893
  • In the essentials of life . . . the boy of 1854 stood nearer [to] the year one than to the year 1900.” Henry Adams
  • "I firmly believe that before many centuries more, science will be the master of man. The engines he will have invented will be beyond his strength to control. Some day science shall have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race shall commit suicide by blowing up the world." Henry Adams, [1862]
  • “There are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they have power and business, will take it at any cost.” Francis Bacon
  • The Labor Movement; the people who brought you the weekend. Popular bumbersticker
  • Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared to a SCAB. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A SCAB has not. - Jack London
  • For every dollar the boss has and didn't work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn't get it. - Big Bill Haywood
  • When Mahatma Gandhi was asked about “Western Civilization” he responded:It’s a good idea.”

We took away their country and their means of support, broke up their mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decay among them, and it was for this that they made war. Could anyone expect less?” Gen. Philip Sheridan

  • We took away their country and their means of support, broke up their mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decay among them, and it was for this that they made war. Could anyone expect less?” Gen. Philip Sheridan
  • “Of course our whole national history has been one of expansion. . . that the barbarians recede or are conquered . . . is due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct.” Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life
  • The Anglo-Saxon race must pervade the whole southern extremity of this vast continent. The Mexicans are no better than the Indians and I see no reason why we should not take their land.” Sam Houston
  • “. . . There was not a family in that whole nation that had not a home of its own. There was not a pauper in that nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar. . . It built its own schools and its hospitals. Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They have got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common. . . There is not enterprise to make your home any better than that of your neighbors. There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization.” Senator Henry Dawes, author of the Dawes Act that broke up Indian reservations into small private possessions in 1880s after a visit to the Cherokee Nation.


  • Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House [Jane Addams Reader]
  • Alfred Chandler Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business [1977]
  • Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Marilyn Irvin Holt, The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America, 1992
  • Matthew Josephson, The Robber Barons [1934]
  • Frank Norris, The Octopus [1901]
  • Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives [1890]
  • Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities

Chapter Essay Questions

  • Describe the “new urban society” of this era.
  • What changes did the American workforce experience in the late nineteenth century?
  • What impact did new immigration migration have on cities in the North?
  • Evaluate the Populists.
  • Who made up the new middle class?
  • Explain the changing nature of American labor during the 19th century. [see “overview]
  • Explain how the “Gospel of Wealth” and “Social Darwinism” served to discourage efforts to alleviate urban poverty. [Social Gospel movement]
  • How had industrialization and urbanization opened new worlds for rich and poor alike?


  • American Federation of Labor, 1886
  • Knights of Labor, 1869 [Haymarket riot]
  • Collective bargaining, binding arbitration
  • Chain migration
  • Gilded Age
  • Wealth” by Andrew Carnegie
  • Great Migration [Blacks move north]
  • Great Uprising [1877 RR strike]
  • Horizontal v. vertical integration
  • Nativism
  • Russian Pogroms and Jewish permanent migration
  • Social Darwinism – “survival of the fittest”
  • Sweatshops
  • Tenements, Jacob Riis, Lincoln Steffens, Muckrakers

Text Concepts

  • Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrision
  • Jane Addams, Hull House in Chicago
  • Ellis Island, migration
  • Political “boss”
  • Battle of Wounded Knee
  • Homer Plessy, 1896
  • John L. Sullivan
  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backwards
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association
  • Sherman Antitrust Act
  • Farmers’ Alliance, Populist party
  • Homestead strike

1905 IWW

  • 1905 IWW
  • Centennial Exposition of 1876
  • Mail order houses // chain stores [Sears]
  • Department stores
  • Jay Gould
  • Horatio Alger
  • Thomas Alva Edison
  • Gilded Age, by Mark Twain
  • Luna Park, Coney Island – “the poor man’s paradise”
  • New cities – walking, railroad [Goshen] [Visalia]
  • Orphan trains, “placing out” in America
  • Balance of power v. collective security – [Woodrow Wilson and League of Nations following WW I]

Hull House Firsts

  • First Social Settlement in Chicago
  • First Social Settlement with men and women residents
  • Established first public baths in Chicago
  • Established first public playground in Chicago
  • Established first gymnasium for the public in Chicago
  • Established first little theater in the United States
  • Established first citizenship preparation classes
  • Established first public kitchen in Chicago
  • Established first college extension courses in Chicago
  • Established first group work school
  • Established first painting loan program in Chicago
  • Established first free art exhibits in Chicago
  • Established first fresh air school in Chicago
  • Established first public swimming pool in Chicago
  • Established first boy scout troop in Chicago

Hull House Firsts

  • Investigations for the first time in Chicago of:
  • truancy, sanitation, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, distribution of cocaine, midwifery, children's reading, infant mortality, newsboys, social value of the saloon
  • Investigations that led to creation and enactment of first factory laws in Illinois
  • Investigations that led to creation of the first model tenement code
  • First Illinois Factory Inspector, Hull-House resident, Florence Kelley
  • First probation officer in Chicago, Hull-House resident, Alzina Stevens
  • Labor unions organized at Hull-House:
  • Women Shirt Makers
  • Women Cloak Makers
  • Dorcas Federal Labor Union
  • Chicago Woman's Trade Union League


  • 1862 Morrill Act authorizes "land-grant" colleges
  • 1866 National Labor Union founded
  • 1869 Knights of Labor founded
  • 1870 Standard Oil founded by John D. Rockefeller
  • 1871 Chicago fire
  • 1873 Financial panic brings severe depression
  • 1876 Baseball's National League founded
  • Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone
  • Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
  • 1877 Great Uprising railroad strike [1st national work- stoppage]
  • 1879   Thomas Edison unveils incandescent bulb
  • Depression ends
  • 1880 Founding of League of American Wheelmen [bicycling]
  • 1881 Tuskegee Institute is founded
  • Assassination of Czar Alexander II, pogroms

1882 Peak of immigration to the United States (1.2 million) in 19th century

  • 1882 Peak of immigration to the United States (1.2 million) in 19th century
  • Chinese Exclusion Act passed
  • Standard Oil Trust founded
  • 1st US country club
  • 1883 National League merges with American Association
  • 1886 Campaigns for 8-hour work-day peak
  • Haymarket riot & massacre discredit the Knights of Labor
  • American Federation of Labor founded
  • Neighborhood Guild in NY, 1st settlement house
  • 1889 Jane Addams, Chicago’s Hull House
  • 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act passed
  • Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives
  • 1892 Homestead steel strike [fails against Carnegie]
  • 1893     Stock market panic precipitates severe depression
  • Eugene Victor Debs
  • “Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and bruised itself. We have been enjoined by the courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, traduced by the press, frowned upon in public opinion, and deceived by politicians. But notwithstanding all this and all these, labor is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun.”
  • “Solidarity is not a matter of sentiment but a fact, cold and impassive as the granite foundations of a skyscraper. If the basic elements, identity of interest, clarity of vision, honesty of intent, and oneness of purpose, or any of these is lacking, all sentimental pleas for solidarity, and all other efforts to achieve it will be barren of results.”

I. The New Urban Society

  • Immigrants and internal migration cause population explosion in cities
  • Suburbs, skyscrapers, and tenements change cities
  • New services are needed
  • New ethnic communities arise
  • Prejudice and intolerance of immigrants increase
  • Political machines control local politics
  •  Patterns of Immigration, 1820-1914
  • The migration to the United States was part of a worldwide transfer of population that accelerated with the Industrial Revolution and the accompanying improvement in transportation.
  • Ellis Island
  • For most immigrants beginning in 1895, entrance into the United States meant processing at Ellis Island in New York Harbor.Library of Congress
  • Immigrants Aboard Ship, 1902
  • During the decade from 1901-1910, immigrations in to the U. S. soared, approaching one million per year. Library of Congress
  • My mother’s mother came to America from Switzerland and my father’s father came to America from Ireland!
  • Irish Immigrants in Boston, 1882
  • Immigration to the United States soared to new heights in the 1880s and 1890s. Most of this new immigration came to existing national communities in America's cities. Boston's Irish constituted one of the largest Irish communities in the United States. In 1882, some of Boston's Irish found work as clam-diggers. Library of Congress
  • The transformation of the American economy in the late nineteenth century changed the nature and type of work. By 1910 the United States was an urban, industrial nation with a matching work force that toiled in factories and for commercial establishments (including railroads), and less frequently on farms.
  • Responses to Poverty and Wealth
    • Tenement Life
    • Settlement Houses, Hull House, Jane Addams
    • Gospel of Wealth [Social Gospel was religious movement]
    • Social Darwinism “survival of the fittest”
    • Jacob Riis – How the Other Half Lives
    • Lincoln Steffens – The Shame of the Cities
  • Workers Organize
    • Knights of Labor, 1869
      • Vertically integrated, 1883 started segregated African American locals, supported Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, pro-boycott, anti-strike
      • Haymarket Square, 1886
    • Great Uprising, unsuccessful 1877 railroad strike
    • American Federation of Labor [AFL], 1886
    • Collective bargaining
    • Pullman strike, 1894
    • Eugene Victor Debs, national railroad strike
    • Industrial Workers of the World, 1905
      • Big Bill Haywood, Joe Hill, Eugene Victor Debs, socialists, WW I

Growth of Cities, 1860 and 1900

II. The Diminishing Rights of Minority Groups

  • Native Americans on reservations frighten whites with Ghost Dance
  • Mexican Americans in Southwest clash with whites over land use
  • Chinese Exclusion Act illustrates prejudice in West
  • African Americans most discriminated against

Indian Reservations, 1875 and 1900

Photo of lynching c 1880s-90s

III. A Victorian Society

  • Relations between sexes strictly controlled, at least in public
  • Strict moral code governs a patriarchal society
  • Religion plays central role in families
  • Sports enthrall Americans
  • Baseball
  • Thomas Eakins created this painting of baseball players practicing in 1875. Originating as a sport of urban gentlemen, baseball eventually broadened its appeal, drawing fans from all spectrums of city life. Eakins, Thomas, Baseball Players Practicing, 1875. Watercolor; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Jesse Metcalf and Walter H. Kimball Funds. Photography by Cathy Carver
  • Baseball, 19th century
  • By the late 19th century, baseball had become entrenched as a popular sport all across America. Many believed it reinforced the nation's pastoral ideal even as the country became more industrialized and urbanized. Library of Congress
  • The New Fad, 1886
  • As workers made more money--and as more leisure time became available--Americans began to acquire non-essential items of material culture. This well-dressed couple is displaying for the photographer their 1886-model bicycle for two. Their choice of background is the South Portico of the White House, Washington, DC, and may indicate that this is a souvenir of a visit to the city. Library of Congress

IV. Voices of Protest and Reform

  • Social Gospel brings religion to slum areas
    • To Christianize
    • To minister to basic needs
  • With free time, middle class women spearhead reform efforts
  • National Woman Suffrage 1880
  • A meeting in 1880 of the National Woman Suffrage Association protested the exclusion of women from electoral politics. Susan B. Anthony noted with regret that “to all men woman suffrage is only a side issue.” ”The Granger Collection, New York
  • ''It is difficult for me to write of Jacob Riis only from the public standpoint. He was one of my truest and closest friends. I have ever prized the fact that once, in speaking of me, he said, "since I met him he has been my brother." I have not only admired and respected him beyond measure, but I have loved him dearly…and I mourn him as if he were one of my own family."
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Downtown New York City 1900's
  • Further downtown, Jacob Riis found this tenement courtyard.Getty Images Inc. Hutton Archive Photos Photograph by Jacob A. Riis, The Jacob A. Riis Collection, Museum of the City of New York
  • A tenement room, 1900
  • By 1900, cities had begun early regulation of tenement housing. Here, two officials of the New York City Tenement House Department inspect a cluttered basement room that had been inhabited by shoemakers. (Note the ''cobbler's bench,'' the shoemaker's tools, and materials such as leather for soles and uppers on the floor.) Library of Congress
  • The "Airshaft, 1900"
  • Immigration brought so many people into America's cities that they had to be ''stacked'' on top of each other in tenements. New apartment buildings were constructed with an airshaft, which supposedly provided interior apartments with fresh air. In reality, these often became filth-infested garbage pits. This image shows the airshaft of a dumbbell tenement, New York City, taken from the roof, around 1900. Library of Congress
  • Molly Maguires
  • This lithograph shows a meeting of the secret organization of Irish coal miners known as the Molly Maguires. They waged guerilla war against the mine owners of the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania in the 1870s. Library of Congress

V. Looking Outward: Foreign Policy in the Early 1890s

  • External markets become more important with closing of frontier
  • Americans fear being left behind by European nations
  • United States works to improve relations with neighbors to South, hoping to build canal
  • Tensions in Hawaii grow due to American manipulation of economy

VI. The Angry Farmers

  • Democrats play on people’s fears to win Congress
  • Farmers organize politically
  • People’s party (Populists) emerges as political arm of Alliance
  • Populists support Free Silver, but start off poorly
  • Populist Party Platform (1892)
  • The People's party, more commonly known as the Populist party, was organized in St. Louis in 1892 to represent the common folk—especially farmers—against the entrenched interests of railroads, bankers, processers, corporations, and the politicians in league with such interests. At its first national convention in Omaha in July 1892, the party nominated James K. Weaver for president and ratified the so-called Omaha Platform, drafted by Ignatius Donnelly of Minnesota.
  • --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Assembled upon the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the People's Party of America, in their first national convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, put forth in the name and on behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and declaration of principles:
  • Preamble
  • The conditions which surround us best justify our cooperation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench.
  • The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are badly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes—tramps and millionaires. The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bond-holders; a vast public debt payable in legal-tender currency has been funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
  • RESOLVED, That we demand a free ballot and a fair count in all elections and pledge ourselves to secure it to every legal voter without Federal Intervention, through the adoption by the States of the unperverted Australian or secret ballot system.
  • RESOLVED, That the revenue derived from a graduated income tax should be applied to the reduction of the burden of taxation now levied upon the domestic industries of this country.
  • RESOLVED, That we pledge our support to fair and liberal pensions to ex-Union soldiers and sailors.
  • RESOLVED, That we condemn the fallacy of protecting American labor under the present system, which opens our ports to the pauper and criminal classes of the world and crowds out our wage-earners; and we denounce the present ineffective laws against contract labor, and demand the further restriction of undesirable emigration.
  • RESOLVED, That we cordially sympathize with the efforts of organized workingmen to shorten the hours of labor, and demand a rigid enforcement of the existing eight-hour law on Government work, and ask that a penalty clause be added to the said law.
  • RESOLVED, That we regard the maintenance of a large standing army of mercenaries, known as the Pinkerton system, as a menace to our liberties, and
  • we demand its abolition. . . .
  • RESOLVED, That we commend to the favorable consideration of the people and the reform press the legislative system known as the initiative and referendum.
  • RESOLVED, That we favor a constitutional provision limiting the office of President and Vice-President to one term, and providing for the election of Senators of the United States by a direct vote of the people.
  • RESOLVED, That we oppose any subsidy or national aid to any private corporation for any purpose.
  • RESOLVED, That this convention sympathizes with the Knights of Labor and their righteous contest with the tyrannical combine of clothing manufacturers of Rochester, and declare it to be a duty of all who hate tyranny and oppression to refuse to purchase the goods made by the said manufacturers, or to patronize any merchants who sell such goods.
  • Populists
  • Established interests ridiculed the Populists unmercifully. This hostile cartoon depicts the People’s Party as an odd assortment of radical dissidents committed to a “Platform of Lunacy.” Kansas City Historical Society

VII. The Presidential Election of 1892

  • Election of 1892 makes for strange bedfellows
  • Homestead Strike illustrates political unrest
  • Populists run widespread campaigns
  • Democrats regain control
  • The United States presidential election of 1892New York’s Grover Cleveland returned to defeat incumbent President Benjamin Harrison, becoming the only person to be elected to non-consecutive presidential terms. Cleveland, who had won the popular vote against Harrison in 1888, won both the popular and electoral vote in the rematch.
  • Cleveland also became the first Democrat to be nominated by his party three consecutive times, a distinction that would be equaled only by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.

Election of 1892

  • ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
  • Presidential Campaign, 1888
  • Grover Cleveland and Allen G. Thurman as the Democratic party candidates for President and Vice President on a lithograph campaign poster by Kurz & Allison, 1888.
  • William Jennings Bryan
  • William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) at the Democratic Convention, 1896, in which he made the “Cross of Gold” speech.Culver Pictures, Inc.
  • The Election of 1896
  • William Jennings Bryan carried most of the rural South and West, but his free silver campaign had little appeal to more urban and industrial regions, which swung strongly to Republican candidate William McKinley.

VIII. The “Great White City”

  • The Growth of American Cities, 1880-1900
  • Several significant trends stand out on this map. First is the development of an urban-industrial core, stretching from New England to the Midwest, where the largest cities were located. And second is the emergence of relatively new cities in the South and West, reflecting the national dimensions of innovations in industry and transportation.
  • The "Grocery Store" at the turn of the 20th Century
  • In the days before neighborhood ''superstores'' and household refrigeration, most urban residents shopped daily for perishable items. Here, shoppers pick and choose their food items from an outdoor market, located on 7th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. Library of Congress
  • “Hell, there are no rules here—we're    trying to accomplish something.”
  • Thomas A. Edison
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents."
  • Child labor
  • Noted urban photographer Lewis Hine captures the cramped working conditions and child labor in this late nineteenth-century canning factory. Women and children provided a cheap and efficient work force for labor-intensive industries. George Eastman House
  • The "old" and the "new": Philadelphia, 1897
  • By 1900, most major cities had begun attempting a reorganization of their clogged transportation systems. Here, in 1897 Philadelphia, horse-drawn wagons and carriages competed with an electric trolley system and pedestrians on a cobblestone street. Library of Congress
  • Bodie, California -- “ghost town” northeast of Independence, CA

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