Our Changing American Cities

1 January 2018

A ambitions of these led to the birth of a multitude of labor unions opposed by factories, the middle class, and the government (although unofficially in the case of the last). Various unions gained large memberships – most notably, the National Labor Union and Samuel Compeer’s skilled conglomeration, the American Federation of Labor. Other urban reform movements, oriented at the social aspect of city life, included principally among them efforts by American Churches of all denominations to revivalist the religious component of urbanites’ lives. Institutions such as the SalvationArmy, soup kitchens, and the Young Men’s and Women’s Christian Associations served to reinvigorate city dwellers and introduce a higher level of significance to combat the conflict, disillusionment, and isolation often found in the big city. Previously alluded to, the spectacular growth of the cities led to haphazard and unplanned extensions of municipal boundaries (mainly through the newly invented electric trolley), contamination, corruption, pollution, hazardous environments, and overall undesirable conditions of life for the inhabitants of the cities.The sculptural aspect of this dissent was dressed by Chicagoan Jane Addams – her Hull House, the most famous of her altruistic settlement houses, provided the means by which the poor unemployed could received skills necessary to obtain a job and the such.

Another significant settlement house includes Lillian Wall’s Henry Street Settlement in New York. Indeed, the government was mainly drawn to issues of city planning after natural (or unnatural) disasters devastated urban communities, as in the case of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the Chicago Fire.During the Gilded Age and leading up to the Progressive Era, any people began to crowd up in the cities, looking for jobs in the new industrialization America. Sanitation quickly became a problem as cities continued to rapidly increase in size; trash was often left on the streets and disease was prevalent throughout the filthy, overcrowded streets. By the late nineteenth century, many reformers were looking to improve living conditions and decrease pollution. Alice Hamilton, for example, sought to make the public aware of toxic chemicals and their negative effects on society.Jane Addams, in addition, helped improve city conditions and services or the immigrant population by creating the Hull House in Chicago.

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Later, In 191 6, Margaret Ganger attempts to inform the public about the necessity of birth control (a term she popularized) by establishing Planned Parenthood and the American Birth Control League as she tried to legalize contraception. Despite these sanitary problems, women, who were by far one of the most profoundly affected groups, found themselves propelled to city life and new economic opportunities. Millions of girls became stenographers or “hello girls”, who worked at the telephone switchboards.

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