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Power and Groups of Reform 6.2.1.D Group 4- Nathan schoolIng, michael sissine, lucia Macchi, sarah tHornton

In the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, and increase in urbanization dramatically affected the social, political, and economic landscape of the United States of America.

The urbanization seen in this time period was caused by the innovations in steel production by Carnegie. His new way of mass producing steel very cheaply allowed for the construction of taller buildings than ever before. These “skyscraper” construction projects opened up new job opportunities while they were being built, and created additional workspace and housing after their completion. Both of these aspects drew people into the cities.

Urbanization created health, safety, and social problems in society. Groups formed to try and address these issues. Social welfare groups tried to address humanitarian causes. Political groups, such as political machines, tried to use people that they helped as a political edge on their opponent.

Political machine consisted of three parts: part bosses or a county committee, election district captains, and party loyalists. These three major elements of the machine would help them gain political control in a certain city or region.

Machines would grant jobs and government building contracts to those that did them favors. Sometimes the favor was voting and party work in getting others to vote. In the case of business, however, money was the key.

These machines would even sometimes accept “dirty” money gained through criminal activity ( gambling, prostitution, etc.)by giving these criminal organizations protection from the law. These machines would expect kickbacks when building halls and centers from the city, which would be taken from increased taxes. This is know as graft.

A famous example of a political machine is Tammany Hall, which controlled the politics of New York City from the late 1700’s to the 1900’s.

“Political Machines.” Political Machines, www.socialstudieshelp.com/usra_pol_machines.html.

Settlement houses were a way of trying to help immigrants settle in to their new lives in America.

Settlement houses were closely linked with the progressive era because it was about social activism and political reform. Some other ideas that came out of the progressive era was the struggle for woman suffrage as well as the development of professional social work. Settlement houses were the introduction or doorway into being an American and living an American life. These were houses where immigrants could stay while they made money, learn to be an American, and thrive in American culture. Inside these houses national divisions and racial rivalries didn’t exist. Their sentiment inside is that “Here, we are all only Americans.” They helped immigrants by encouraging everyone to become a part of their community and to be a contributing member of society. Another way they helped was by teaching people the English language. Most settlement houses offered a class called “Americanization” These classes helped them learn customs and habits The most know houses was the Hull house and Dr Graham Taylor’s Chicago Commons. These houses also has game rooms, boxing rooms, libraries, showers, nurseries and more.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-06-25/features/8902120285_1_hull-house-immigrant- american-life

https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/settlement-houses/settlement-houses/

Women’s clubs targeted intellectual development and social and political reform. As settlement houses started popping up it gave women the opportunity to participate in more jobs

-For example the Hull House:

The Hull house was created by Jane Adams. It Offered classes, had a gymnasium, playground, theater, and boarding house.

These workers moved more political fighting for an end to child labor/improving working conditions/supporting immigrants etc

For women who didn’t have jobs, these women’s groups gave them a sense of purpose. The movement that was actually supported by the most women was the movement to ban alcohol.

McDonough, Judith. “Women Reformers in the Progressive Er.” Women Reformers in the

Progressive Era, 1999, www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/publications/se/ 6305/630507.html.

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