Period 3

The Problem(s)

  • There was a huge class of people living in slums, or parts of town made up mostly of tenements. They were very crowded and there might be anywhere from 10-16 people living in three rooms. Hundreds of people would be squeezed into a block or two. The slums usually didn't have garbage collection, and it was usually dumped on the streets making sanitation a big problem. The streets tended to be unpaved and covered in manure from horses. Slums often had fires because of their lack of a fire department. Overall conditions in and around the living quarters of the poor were awful.
  • Because of the poor conditions, it was a perfect breeding ground for disease to spread. Unsanitary, crowded, filled with garbage, and many other factors contributed to disease. The unsanitary conditions and pulluted water and milk caused diseases such as typhoid fever, tuberculosis, typhus, cholera, and smallpox. Then the crowded conditions made it easy for these diseases to spread.
  • Political machines were organizations led by bosses that convinced people in cities to vote for them by offering them rewards. People voted for these machines and the corrupt government used tax money and illegal tactics to make themselves rich. They did very little to actually solve the people's problems. Unfortunately these groups were able to stay in power because of more new immigrants coming to the town.

The Solution(s)

  • The settlement house movement began, where people built facilities to help the poor. They were centers for education, child care, recreation, and temporary living quarters. Jane Addams, Ellen Starr, and many of their friends were known for their famous settlement house called the Hull House. This settlement house in Chicago allowed people to get instruction on sanitation, hygiene, and learning English. The Hull House became very well known and it inspired others to start other settlement houses, and Jane Adams spoke of the Hull House as well as praised those who made more settlement house in her Subjective Necessity for Social Settlement Speech.
  • Jacob Riis was very helpful in spreading the word about the horrors of poverty. He was an immigrant and lived in the slums for 7 years until he got a job for the New York Tribune. He took many haunting photos of the terrible conditions in tenements and wrote about them. He later got to know Theodore Roosevelt who at the time was governer of New York, and together they made strict tenement building codes.
  • Reformers proposed that cities along with state government should work to clean up the slums and provide better housing. They wanted low cost housing, and the landlords must keep their property in good shape. They also wanted more effective fire codes as well as garbage pick up. The state must help pave the roads and make better means of transportation.
  • Cities need to be taken from the political machines. They needed some type of new way to run the city effectively rather than the political machines robbing people of money. Proposed solutions were ideas such as a 5 person commision, and these people would run the entire city together, or having a city manager where a commission or council would be elected, and these people would then elect a city manager that would make decisions.

The Imagesexternal image 518656w.jpg

This cartoon titled "No prison is big enough to hold the boss"
shows one of the political bosses named Mark Tweed in a prison,
and the cartoonist is trying to show the corruptness
of political machines.

external image 1075%5C1075005w.jpg

This photo shows East Fifth Street in New York. It was taken by
Jacob Riis. It shows the huge amount of garbage piled up on the
street, and the need of garbage pickup in the slums.

This is a photo taken by Jacob Riis of a nectie sweatshop.
Its obvious how poor the working conditions, but many poor
residents were forced to make makeshift sweatshops like this.

external image 518659w.jpg
This is a picture taken by Jacob Riis of the Bandit's Roost in one
of the most neglected parts of New York City. It shows how crowded
together the families were in the slums.

external image 3332%5C333256w.jpg

The Primary Sources

"Bandit's Roost", "Necktie Workshop", and "Garbage in the streets" photographs taken by Jacob Riis.

Hull House, which was Chicago's first Settlement, was established in September, 1889. It represented no association, but was opened by two women, backed by many friends, in the belief that the mere foothold of a house, easily accessible, ample in space, hospitable and tolerant in spirit, situated in the midst of the large foreign colonies which so easily isolate themselves in American cities, would be in itself a serviceable thing for Chicago. Excerpt from Jane Addams Subjective Necessity for Social Settlement Speech.

The Citations

"Jane Addams: Subjective Necessity for Social Settlement Speech." American History. ABC-CLIO Schools Subscrpition Websites. 21 February 2007

Progressive Era Handout

"Bosses and Machines." American History. ABC-CLIO Schools Subscription Websites. 21 February 2007

"Jacob Riis." American History. ABC-CLIO Schools Subscription Websites. 21 February 2007

"Settlement House Movement." American History. ABC-CLIO Schools Subscription Websites. 21 February 2007