Urban Life By: Steven moccio

Imagine diseases, sick people, no lighting, twelve people in an apartment. Picture what life was like living in tenements during the turn of the century. There are many reasons why urban living was difficult for immigrants.

The living conditions for immigrants were so poor, and unsanitary there. They lived in crowded apartments called tenements. Many buildings were divided up so that the new immigrants could find a cheap place to live. Many people would be living in an apartment, sometimes as many twelve people at a time. The apartments lacked windows, ventilation and were not in not good condition. Reformers worked with government to pass laws to improve living conditions for immigrants.
New York passed the Tenement Housing Act of 1867. The Act set standards for safety and sanitation for all new buildings in the city. Existing buildings did not have to comply. It was one of the first laws to ban tenements because the living conditions were so dangerous.
Journalist Jacob Riis became a supporter for helping immigrants. He took pictures that showed how bad tenement living was. The public was shocked. The 1900's became a time of change and reform of poor housing conditions for immigrants.
Jane Addams was one of the first Progressives who was interested helping immigrants. She established Hull House in Chicago in 1889 to be a resource for immigrants. It was a community building that had baths for immigrants to use and also had classes for immigrants to take. Immigrants could also go there to get healthcare and get other help. There were classes on nutrition, sewing, dressmaking and lectures on industrial history. Jane Addams won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for her work of the Hull House for immigrants.
Emma Goldman also wanted to improve life for immigrants, but she supported violence. “She lectured on free love and gave out birth control information, and she made a speech in New York City that caused unemployed workers to riot. She opposed the draft and America's involvement in World War I. She was sent to jail many times, and in 1919 she was deported” (Leuzzi 66).

All these advancements with the help of progressive reformers, helped the way immigrants came to live. Muckrakers changed the immigrants lives for the better. They helped because they exposed the terrible conditions of disease, war, and poverty that immigrants were dealing with living in the cities. Now that the government banned the use of tenements, immigrants came to live in safer housing conditions, that were a great improvement over tenements. Immigrants now had better places to live, and laws to protect them.


Created with images by Thomas8047 - "Züri Linie"

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