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Progressive Era Index
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As industry grew the number in population grew. Cities then offered jobs in factories and offices. While the rich built mansions, the poor lived in the "
." The people that arrived were newly arrived immigrants who were coming to Chicago, Baltimore, Chicago, e.t.c. The "slums" were usually buidings crowded up against each other. The slums were usually sections of the town made up of "
." The streets contained many alleys and in some cases hundreds of families lived on the same block. Disease such as tuberculosis, typhus, small pox, and chlorea struck. Streets were filled with garbage from the streets and manure from horses. With the government being run by "
." it was hard for them to run the city. It was easy for political bosses to run the city through a well organized "machine" (people placed in important city offices.) Many governments were able to stay in power because they recieved the support huge immigrant groups. There were times when bosses kept their people in power by stuffing ballot boxes and bribing voting officials.
In order to solve all the problems, state governments’ cleaned up slums and provided better housing for the people living in them. To keep living areas safe landlords had to be responsible for keeping their property safe to live in. To lower pollution the government paved the streets and started to improve garbage collection. For individuals who didn't have homes, volunteers decided to start settlement houses. This became known as the
Settlement House Movement
. The movement contained centers for recreation, education, child care, and temporary living quarters. Charitable groups such as the
provided food and shelter, and also aided and encouraged the community. Another program offered was the
city manager plan
, which said the people could elect a council which would hire a non-party proffesional person to manage the city.
(social welfare house) and tried to establish world peace. The Hull House was a middle class college where educated women shared knowledge with poor families, and taught classes Good Sanitation and English.
was a photographer who did several exposés on the urban poor. He influenced a generation of investigative reporters, or muckrakers, and he raised the bar for other photographers. He is best known for his pictures depicting the horrors of the destitute. The last and final solution were laws that were passed that would have jobs obtained through tests and qualifications. These tests were called "
A Jacob Riis photograph of garbage on East Fifth Street,
one of one of New York City's many tenements areas during the 1900's.
A Jacob Riis photograph of the Bandit's Roost in one of the most
neglected parts of New York City. It demonstrates how crowded families
were in the “slums.”
A Jacob Riis photograph of children playing in a New York City tenement in the year 1888.
The Primary Sources
"If we could see the air breathed by these poor creatures in their tenements," said a well-known physician, "it would show itself to be fouler than the mud of the gutters." -Jacob Riis
"It is generally a brick building from four to six stories high on the street, frequently with a store on the first floor which, when used for the sale of liquor, has a side opening for the benefit of the inmates and to evade the Sunday law; four families occupy each floor, and a set of rooms consists of one or two dark closets, used as bedrooms, with a living room twelve feet by ten. The staircase is too often a dark well in the centre of the house, and no direct through ventilation is possible, each family being separated from the other by partitions. Frequently the rear of the lot is occupied by another building of three stories high with two families on a floor."
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