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How the growth of cities affected ideas of social welfare


Urban Challenges How the growth of cities affected ideas of social welfare Florence Kelley Florence Kelley, another associate of Hull House, became so frustrated in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How the growth of cities affected ideas of social welfare

Urban Challenges
  • How the growth of cities affected ideas of social

Industrial Progress
In our arts, labors and victories, we find scope
for all our energies, rewards for all our
ambitions, renown enough for all our love of
fame. Speech at Exposition opening of
Centennial Exposition, July 4, 1876
Living Like Kings
Breakers, the enormous Vanderbilt summer house,
designed from an Italian palace and built with
imported marble by craftsmen brought over from
The industrial millionaires lived lavishly,
building homes like European palaces and spending
enormous sums for parties, while their employees
worked 10-12 hour days, 6 or 7 days each week.
Many industries employed children as young as
seven years old factories made few provisions
for safety.
The massive numbers of immigrants, particularly
from eastern and southern Europe, provided
industry with a large labor force, but made wages
even lower and unions difficult to organize.
Immigration restrictions began in the 1870s with
the Chinese Exclusion Acts.
The challenges of crisis
A sudden crisis could quickly underscore the
limits of public assistance. In the 1870s,
billions of locusts emerged by the western
mountains and proceeded to destroy crops across
the Midwest.
Devastation in Minnesota
The locusts overwhelmed fields in Minnesota,
doing serious damage in almost every area. In
the western and southwestern counties, nearly
half of the wheat crops were destroyed and over
half of the oat crops (largely used for feeding
horse and cows). Many families were completely
destitute, and farmers who were unable to pay
taxes on their lands were in danger of losing
their farms.
Government response
John Pillsbury, governor of Minnesota from 1876
to 1878, was part of the famous and wealthy
Pillsbury family. He refused to recommend
extensive aid programs to the state legislature,
arguing that hand-outs would undermine the
moral fiber of the poor. The legislature agreed
on providing limited aid by delaying the
collection of property taxes and providing grain
seed to farmers for new planting. Farmers had to
agree to pay for the seed (at the rate of 1 a
bushel of seed) the cost of seed to be a lien
upon my crop of grain, raised each year, until
the loan was repaid. Ten bushels of seed would
raise (at most) 135 bushels of wheat, worth about
Documenting need
Farmers applying for county aid under the poor
laws had to swear a pauper's oath that they
were deserving of relief. Four witnesses had
to sign a note attesting to the applicants
character. Several farmers stated that they
were made to feel like unsavory miscreants
during the process.
Case Work
Extent of direct aid
Most counties granted applicants for assistance
about 2 to buy about 10 pounds of pork, some
molasses, baking soda, and matches. In 1875 it
cost about 200 to maintain a family of four.
Farmers organize
The hard times for farmers stimulated an era of
rural organization. The Granger movement, the
Farmers Alliances, and the Populist movement
were all influenced by the high costs that
farmers paid to grow and ship their grain, and
the low prices they received for their harvests.
Farmers Alliances called for regulation of
railroad shipping costs, reduction of loan
interests, and the formation of rural
cooperatives that could allow farmers to operate
their own grain elevators, creameries, and banks.
Critics called the farmers movements
socialistic threats to American freedoms, but
the farmers said they were simply protecting
their own interests.
Populism and politics
In 1896, the Democratic Party (largely out of
power since the Civil War) picked William
Jennings Bryan, a Nebraska populist, as its
presidential candidate. This temporary
unification of the populist movement and the
Democratic Party did not lead to victory Bryan
was defeated by William McKinley. The 1896
election, however, was a turning point in the
Democratic Partys identity. As the 20th century
began, Democratic candidates were increasingly
identified with reform movements and a growing
philosophy of having government actively
intervening in social issues.
Labor and Industry
According to statistics gathered at Princeton
University, wages for industrial workers rose 31
from 1860 to 1881, while prices rose 41. This
meant that workers had a harder time paying for
things as time went on.
Strikes in 1877
A major collapse of credit in 1872 brought on a
financial panic a depression that slowed the
pace of growth (the Northern Pacific Railroad
stopped work on its route through Dakota
Territory to the west). Many businesses began to
cut wages in order to save money. This sparked
strikes and violence in American industries.
Year of Violence
Workers struck for higher wages on many of the
railroads and violent clashes ensued between
strikers and scab labor. By sending Federal
troops into one strike (to make certain that mail
was delivered), President Hayes brought the
Federal government into the labor-management
Labor and Political Issues
Both the strikers and business owners referred to
the Paris Commune of 1871, when French workers
called for a revolution against the state. Owners
warned that unions would bring communism to
American society. Some strikers hoped that this
would happen, but most union leaders condemned
the idea of revolution.
Political Machines
Many cities had long been controlled by political
machines that delivered votes to selected
candidates in return for special favors. But
reform groups (and some labor groups who wanted
higher wages) blamed immigrant voters as the
source of the machines power, and so sought to
restrict immigration. The only result of this was
in the 1870s, when the Congress yielded to public
pressure and banned Chinese immigration for a
number of years.
Power of the Press
The Press had become powerful in its own right
major newspapers and popular magazines (like
Harpers Weekly and Frank Leslies Illustrated
News) could change national policies. Much as
the politicians disliked the press, they also
patronized it, to obtain public recognition and
Social Cooperation
The influence of Darwin had grown after 1870, to
the point that the survival of the fittest idea
was being used to celebrate the power held by the
great industrial leaders (Carnegie, Rockefeller,
etc. In Illinois (a state that saw much
labor-industry violence), the botanist Lester
Ward argued in his book Dynamic Sociology (1883)
that society could guide the development of
peoples, rather than just permit them to compete.
The Legacy of Scientific Charity
  • In the first half of the 19th century, cities had
    begun to transform charity work, through
  • The creation of asylums, the idea of scientific
    charity and the charity organization
  • The need to develop greater urban efforts in
    public health.
  • The (reluctant) recognition of labor unions
  • After 1865, the need to integrate the former
    slaves with the Freedmans Bureau, etc.

Jacob Riis
A talented writer , German immigrant Jacob Riis
was a police reporter for a major NYC newspaper.
Throughout the 1880s, he travelled the slums of
NYC, recoding evidence of the effects of
overcrowding, poverty, and the impact of rapid
urban growth without any real government
regulation. The sheds in this photo served as
temporary homes, costing 1 a month.
Lack of Space
A street seller in New York could sleep in a
tenement cellar for 5 cents a night, while seven
cents rented a cot in a lodging house
Lack of Light and Space
Eastern Europeans (Bohemians or bohunks)
worked and lived in the same, crowded, poorly lit
tenement apartment as cigar makers. Thousands of
widows did the same as seamstresses for the
clothing trade and kept their children out of
school to work with them.
Education as Secondary
Some NYC reformers attempted to run night
schools in tenement basements, church basements,
or other sites, to provide education for children
(especially the homeless street arabs) who
worked 10-12 hours during the day. The city
provided little, or no, assistance. Crime rates
among young men (age 10-18) were high. Similar
problems were found in Chicago, Boston,
Philadelphia, etc.
Progressive Movement
The Progressive movement rose from the efforts of
several middle-class groups who had tried in the
late 1800s to better society by pushing through
limitations on saloons (the WCTU), educate
immigrant children (the settlement houses) or aid
the poor (the Salvation Army). At first these
groups accepted the American tradition of seeking
these reforms through voluntary action, but
increasingly they began to expect government to
help push through reforms.
The Salvation army chapter of Brainerd Minnesota
in 1891.
The Social Gospel
American churches became more and more involved
in providing aid to the poor. Walter
Rauschenbusch (left), a Baptist theologian, began
to help German immigrants in the Hells Kitchen
neighborhood of New York. Drawing on the writings
of socialists, he argued that church and
government should become active in reforming
society to provide aid to those who were in need.
Child Labor
The labor movement had made child labor a major
issue. Children as young as six worked as many as
12 hours a day in a number of major industries.
Continued problems with child labor and health
prompted reformers like S. Josephine Baker to
develop advances in nutrition and health care.
Settlement Houses
Jane Addams, a young woman from middle-class
origins, helped create Hull House in Chicago in
1889. This settlement house was designed at
first to help new immigrants learn English and
American ways, but Addams and her associates
quickly realized they had to provide help on
child care, nutrition, employment, and other
things to really help the poor. Eventually, they
began to press for legislation to help the poor
get a fair chance in society.
Hull House
Where the institutional movement of 1820-1860
tried to segregate the failures away from the
rest of society, the settlement house movement
aimed to create a site within the heart of
urban poverty where reformers would live, work
and try to better urban conditions. Copying
ideas from Toynbee Hall in England, Hull House
became famous . Its programs were copied in
other parts of Chicago, and other cities.
Addams Talented Aides
Addams became the best known of the Hull House
staff (largely because she wrote over two dozen
books). But among the many others (including
Julia Lathrop and Ellen Gates Starr) was Edith
Abbott, who was like so many others a product of
the rural Midwest (Nebraska) who wanted to help
reform urban America. Abbott (with her sister
Grace) worked at Hull House and wrote major
studies of juvenile delinquency and women in the
eary-20th century work force.
Birth Control
As a nurse, Margaret Sanger defied state and
Federal laws to provide women with information on
birth control (even churches that agreed with
the social gospel movement opposed birth
control). Forced to flee to Europe in 1914,
Sanger returned in two years to create the first
birth control clinic in the U.S.
The Childrens Bureau
Originally part of the Department of Commerce,
the Childrens Bureau was moved by Wilson to the
Department of Labor in 1913. Its director,
Julia Lathrop, was a veteran of the Hull House
reform movement and fought vigorously to obtain
stronger child labor laws.
By 1918, most states had child labor laws, but
hundreds of thousands of children were little
affected by these laws because they worked in
areas (small businesses, agriculture, etc.) that
were not covered by the provisions for maximum
hours or minimum wages. Wilson decided to push
for more stringent child labor laws.
G. Stanley Hall was one of the founders of
American psychology practices and specialized in
developed the stages of development theories
in relation to children.
Florence Kelley
Florence Kelley, another associate of Hull House,
became so frustrated in the effort to find a
lawyer to argue cases for child labor regulations
that she studied law herself, got a license to
practice law in Illinois, and argued
cases. Illinois became one of the model states
for laws that put limits on how children could be
employed and how long they could work in a
day. Kelley also played a role in a key U.S.
Supreme Court decision in 1908 to place 10-hour
limit on a work day for women.
Sophonisba Breckinridge
One of the few proto-social workers who became
involved in civil rights for minorities was
Sophonisba Breckinridge, yet another Midwest
reformer (Kentucky) who was the first woman to
get a law degree from the University of Chicago.
Active at Hull House, Breckinridge was one of the
founders of the NAACP. She argued that every
major city and every state should establish a
bureau of public welfare.
The Bully Pulpit
Progressive reformers saw the Theodore Roosevelt
as the one person who represented all the
people (an idea that went back to the 1830s).
Theodore Roosevelt accepted a number of the
reform ideas of the progressive movement and used
his office as a bully pulpit to urge reduction
of child labor, regulation of trusts,
conservation of natural resources, and efforts to
reduce corruption in government. Only after he
was elected in his own right in 1904 did he push
for some of these reforms.
Narcotics in America
Jane Addams of Hull House wrote that opium
addiction was widespread in Chicago. Teenaged
children stole from their parents, pawned their
clothes and shoes, did any desperate thing to get
the dope as they called it. Meanwhile, other
narcotics were used in patent medicines and sold
openly. A Federal Narcotics Act in 1909 was the
first major attempt to stem this practice.
Cures for Addiction
Several dubious cures for drug addiction were
available from mail order businesses or from
traveling salesmen who claimed to be physicians.
Many of the cures contained other narcotics, and
the user simply substituted one addiction for
another. It was estimated in 1900 that over
300,000 Americans were regular users of heroin,
and at least twice that used opium. Of course,
Kopps Baby Friend cough syrup contained morphine
for that good nights sleep.
Public Health
Upton Sinclairs book, The Jungle, shocked the
public with its details about the lack of
sanitation in the processing of food the book
led several cities to establish offices for food
and restaurant inspection, and public health
services to offer classes on sanitation in the
preparation of food. Other cities spent money to
improve the quality of drinking water. The
Federal Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 helped
in one example, Coca Cola had to remove cocaine
from its product.
Crusading Journalism
The worst aspects of the industrial trusts became
the subjects of book-length studies by
journalists like Ida Tarbell, who wrote about
Standard Oil, calling it the octopus that
controlled the nation through its dominance of
the drilling and distribution of oil.
Urban Corruption
In 1904, Lincoln Steffens, who had written a
number of articles for McClures magazine,
published The Shame of the Cities an exposure
of machine government and corrupt ties between
elected officials and local crime. Many of the
nations greatest cities including Minneapolis
were embarrassed by the revelations.
Providing Social Insurance
Isaac Rubinow, a rather unique statistician for
the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (having both
an MD and a PhD in economics) argued that a
healthy society needed some form of social
insurance to guarantee order and peace,
especially in the crowded cities. His ideas were
studied by Theodore Roosevelt, who used some of
Rubinows language when he wrote the Progressive
Party platform statement for the 1912
presidential election.
Triangle Fire Tragedy
One example of a progressive reform was the
reaction to the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist
Co. factory in New York in 1911 146 employees,
mostly women, as young as 15, died in the fire
because little had been done to provide fire
escapes, etc. New York passed better fire
regulation laws, some proposed by a social
worker, Francis Perkins, who later became to
first woman in a presidential cabinet.
Labor and the Womens Vote
  • One way for women in settlement houses to have
    greater influence was by expanding the
    electorate, and so pushed for votes for women.
  • Contents of a leaflet for votes for women, about
    1912, in New York
  • Why are you paid less than a man?
  • Why do you work in a fire trap?
  • Why are your hours so long?
  • Why do you pay the most rent for the worst
  • Why do your children go into factories to work?
  • Why dont you get a square deal in the courts?
  • Because you are a woman and have no vote
  • Votes make the law.
  • Votes enforce the law.
  • The law controls conditions. Women who want
    better conditions MUST vote.

Mental Hygiene
The Swiss born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer altered
the way mental patients (inmates, really) were
treated at the Illinois Mental facility in
Kankakee. He later took his ideas to the New
York state hospital and then helped create a
model clinic at Johns Hopkins. Rejecting many of
the ideas of Freud, Meyer believed that most
problems were related to social and
environmental background he advocated therapy
to help patients through psychobiology. He
urged states to create offices devoted to mental
hygiene in education and society.
Dollars for Child Care
In 1921, the U.S. Congress voted to provide some
small amounts of matching funds for maternity
health care and early childhood health care
this to lower the infant and child mortality
rate. The funding continued until 1929, when
pressure from the AMA persuaded Congressional
leaders to not renew the funding. By that time,
immigration was being severely curtailed
Congress had mandated a quota system keyed the
1890 census results. By 1924, the high tide of
immigration to America had passed.
Emergence of the Profession
In 1898, 25 students attended a Summer School
Course in Philanthropic Work in New York City.
The courses, sponsored by the Charity
Organization Society of NY, provided classes on
urban poverty, industrial labor, and practical
issues dealing with health, education, and home
economics. The courses were repeated the
following summer and then expanded. By 1920s,
this first school of social work was closely
affiliated with Columbia University. With
instructors like John Dewey (left) Franz Boas,
and Jane Addams, the programs reputation grew,
and idea of a social work education was taken up
by other cities and schools.
Announcing the Profession
In 1915, Abraham Flexner, a prominent leader in
medical education, gave a paper, Is Social Work
a Profession, in which he noted The unselfish
devotion of those who have chosen to give
themselves to making the world a fitter place to
live in can fill social work with the
professional spirit. Flexner believed that
social work was destined to play a major role in
the modern industrial state that the United
States was rapidly becoming.
Social Work as a Profession
  • Slowly, social work emerged as a profession.
    This was encouraged by several things
  • The increasing complexity of society, especially
    the economy as prosperity was followed by hard
    times. Governments role grows
  • The growth of cities and urban problems, tied to
    increased immigration, boss government, slums,
    crime, and education.
  • The tendency of Americans to create special task
    forces to deal with problems the can do
    attitude for organization.
  • The success of energetic and determined
    volunteers (like Jane Addams, etc.) and
    professionals (Meyer, etc.) who dominated public
    welfare issues of the progressive era.
  • For an interesting web site related to this,