Chapter 19: Chapter Outline

The following annotated chapter outline will help you review the major topics covered in this chapter.


Instructions: Review the outline to recall events and their relationships as presented in the chapter. Return to skim any sections that seem unfamiliar.


I. The Rise of the City
A. The Urban Explosion, a Global Migration
  1. In the waning decades of the nineteenth century, the movement from rural areas to urban industrial centers attracted millions of immigrants to American shores.
2. Capitalist development in the late 1800s shattered traditional patterns of economic activity in the rural periphery, and as old patterns broke down, rural areas exported, along with raw materials, new recruits for the industrial labor force.
3. Beginning in the 1870s, railroad expansion and low steamship fares gave the world’s people newfound mobility, enabling industrialists to draw on the global population for cheap labor.
4. European immigration came in two distinct waves: before 1880, the majority of immigrants came from northern and western Europe; after 1880, the majority came from southern and eastern Europe.
5. The new wave of immigration resulted from a number of factors, including an economic depression in southern Italy, the persecution of Jews in eastern Europe, a general desire to avoid conscription into the Russian army, and America ’s need for cheap labor.
6. Would-be immigrants eager for information about the United States relied on letters, advertisements, and word of mouth—sources that were not always dependable or truthful.
7. Most new immigrants remained in cities, but not all newcomers came to stay—many young men worked for a year or a season and then returned to their homelands.
8. Women most often came to the U.S. as wives, mothers, and daughters and not as single-wage laborers.
9. Jews, escaping pogroms in eastern Europe, usually came with their families and came to stay.
B. Racism and the Cry for Immigration Restriction
  1. Ethnic diversity and racism played a role in dividing skilled workers, usually members of older immigrant groups from northern or western Europe, from the unskilled, those from southern and eastern Europe.
2. Throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century, members of the educated elite as well as workers viewed ethnic and even religious differences as racial characteristics.
3. Many African Americans migrated to the cities of the North, where they hoped to escape Jim Crow laws and pursue economic opportunities.
4. On the West Coast, the Asian population grew until the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act slowed Chinese immigration to a trickle.
5. On the East Coast, the volume of new immigrants from Europe that began in the 1880s proved to be unprecedented.
6. Many Americans saw new immigrants as uneducated, backward, and uncouth, and blue-blooded Yankees such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts formed an unlikely alliance with organized labor to press for immigration restriction.
C. The Social Geography of the City
  1. During the Gilded Age, cities experienced both demographic and technological changes that greatly altered the urban social geography.
2. The development of the electric streetcar in the 1880s led to urban congestion and suburban sprawl.
3. Social segregation emerged in cities as those with means moved to the urban periphery while the city’s poor, unable to afford even a few cents for streetcar fare, crowded into the inner city or lived near the factories where they worked.
4. In his book How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis documented the poverty, crowding, dirt, and disease that constituted the daily reality of New York City’s immigrant poor.
5. Riis’s middle-class readers bristled at his revelations about the poor, but also worried about the excesses of the wealthy.
6. The excesses of the Gilded Age’s newly minted millionaires became especially alarming when coupled with disdain for the general welfare of ordinary people.
7. The fear that America had become a plutocracy gained credibility from the fact that the wealthiest one percent of the population owned more than half of the real and personal property in the country.


II.   At Work in Industrial America
A. America’s Diverse Workers
  1. Common laborers, who stood at the bottom of the country’s economic ladder and generally came from the most recent immigrant groups, formed the backbone of the American labor force.
2. At the opposite end of the labor hierarchy stood skilled craftsmen; but even for skilled workers, much industry and manufacturing in the nineteenth century remained seasonal—few workers could count on year-round pay.
3. Mechanization transformed textile mills and the garment industry, where most workers were young unmarried women who worked long, hard hours.
4. Discriminated against in the marketplace, where they earned less than men, and largely ignored by the labor unions, women generally worked for only eight to ten years before they married.
B. The Family Economy: Women and Children
  1. Many working-class families, whether native-born or immigrant, lived in or near poverty; their economic survival depended on the contributions of all family members, regardless of sex or age.
2. Child labor increased decade by decade; the percentage of children under fifteen engaged in paid labor did not drop until after World War I.
3. In the late nineteenth century, the number of women workers also rose sharply, most commonly shifting slowly from domestic service to factory work and then to office work, but varying considerably according to race and ethnicity.
C. White Collar Workers: Managers, “Typewriters,” and Salesclerks
  1. Business expansion and consolidation led to a managerial revolution, creating a new class of managers, the majority of whom were high school–educated white men.
2. Until late in the century, when engineering schools began to supply recruits, skilled workers were able to move from the shop floor to positions of considerable responsibility.
3. As businesses became larger and more far-flung, the need for more elaborate and exact records in addition to the greater volume of correspondence led to the hiring of more office workers, creating opportunities for secretarial work for literate white women.
4. Called “typewriters,” women workers were seen as indistinguishable from the machines they operated, but far from viewing their jobs as dehumanizing, women typewriters took pride in their work and relished the economic independence it afforded them.
5. As the new consumer culture came to dominate American urban life in the late nineteenth century, department stores offered another employment opportunity for women in the cities.
6. Saleswomen were subject to harsh and arbitrary discipline, yet salesclerks counted themselves as a cut above factory workers.


III. Workers Organize
A. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
  1. At the same time as announcing a 10 percent wage reduction in the summer of 1877, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad declared a 10 percent dividend to its stockholders, causing brakemen in West Virginia, whose wages had already fallen from $70 to $30 a month, to go on strike.
2. This action touched off the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, a nationwide uprising that spread rapidly across the country.
3. Violence erupted as the strike spread, leading to property damage, many injuries, and twenty deaths.
4. Within eight days, governors in nine states, acting at the behest of the railroad owners and managers, defined the strike as an “insurrection” and called for federal troops.
5. The troops opened rail traffic, protected scab crews, and maintained peace, which ultimately ended the strike.
6. Although the Great Railroad Strike was spontaneous and unorganized, it frightened the authorities and upper classes like nothing before in U.S. labor history, increasing feelings of hostility toward labor organizations.
7. The strike served as an alarm bell to workers, who flocked to join unions as they recognized that they held little power as individuals.
B. The Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor
  1. The Knights of Labor, the first mass organization of America ’s working class, proved the chief beneficiary of labor’s newfound consciousness.
2. In 1878, the organization launched an ambitious campaign to organize workers regardless of skill, sex, race, or nationality and became the dominant force in labor during the 1880s.
3. They successfully recruited teachers, waitresses, housewives and domestics, making women 20 percent of their membership; they also organized over 94,000 black workers.
4. The Knights of Labor opposed strikes and advocated a workers’ democracy that embraced public ownership of the railroads, an income tax, equal pay for women workers, and the abolition of child labor.
5. The Knights of Labor did have rivals, including the American Federation of Labor, headed by Samuel Gompers.
6. Gompers’s plan was to organize skilled workers and to use strikes to gain immediate objectives such as higher pay and better working conditions; soon Gompers’s model of unionism would prevail.
C. Haymarket and the Specter of Labor Radicalism
  1. While the AFL and the Knights of Labor competed for members, radical socialists and anarchists believed that reform was futile and called for social revolution.
2. Since the 1840s, labor had sought to end the twelve-hour workday, which was standard in industry and manufacturing.
3. Supporters of the movement set May 1, 1886, as the date for a nationwide general strike in support of the eight-hour day.
4. All factions of the nascent labor movement were represented in Chicago on May Day for what was billed the largest demonstration to date.
5. Management at the McCormick reaper works brought in strikebreakers and marched the “scabs” to work under the protection of Chicago police and security guards supplied by the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
6. During the rally, 45,000 workers paraded peacefully down Michigan Avenue in support of the eight-hour day.
7. Trouble came two days later when strikers attacked scabs outside the McCormick works and police opened fire, killing or wounding six men.
8. Radicals organized a rally for May 4 in Haymarket Square to protest the police action.
9. When the police ordered the crowd to disperse, someone threw a bomb into the police ranks; after the melee had ended, seven policemen and an unknown number of others lay dead and injured.
10. News of the Haymarket “riot” provoked a nationwide convulsion of fear, followed by blind rage directed at anarchists, labor unions, strikers, immigrants, and the working class in general.
11. Eight men, none of them directly connected to the bomb-throwing, stood trial and were found guilty.
12. The bomb blast at Haymarket had lasting repercussions, including delivering a deathblow both to the eight-hour-day movement and to the Knights of Labor.
13. With the labor movement under attack, many skilled workers turned to the American Federation of Labor, but the nation’s unskilled workers remained untouched by the AFL’s brand of trade unionism.


IV. At Home and at Play
A. Domesticity and “Domestics”
  1. The separation of the workplace from the home marked the shift to industrial society and redefined the home as a haven presided over by a wife and mother, who made the household her separate sphere.
2. The cult of domesticity and the elaboration of the middle-class home gave rise to the live-in servant in the North, replacing the hired girl of the previous century. (The South continued to rely on black female labor.)
3. Servants resented the long workday and lack of privacy.
4. Domestic service became the occupation of last resort for women, but domestics were a boon for the women of the white middle class, freeing them from household drudgery and giving them more time to spend with their children or to pursue club work or reform activism.
B. Cheap Amusements
  1. Growing class divisions became evident in patterns of leisure as well as in work and home life.
2. The growing anonymity of urban industrial society provided young people with new venues in which to meet one another and posed a challenge to traditional rituals of courtship.
3. If they wished to participate in commercial amusements, young women needed to learn to negotiate the blurry line between respectability and promiscuity; dance halls became a favorite target for reformers, who feared that the halls would lure girls into prostitution.
4. For men, baseball became a national pastime in the 1870s and served as the one force capable of uniting a city along class lines.
5. The increasing commercialization of entertainment in the late nineteenth century is best seen at Coney Island, the site of some of the largest and most elaborate amusement parks in the country.


V. City Growth and City Government
A. Building Cities of Stone and Steel
  1. Structural steel made possible enormous advances in building and skyscrapers and bridges began to dominate the imagination and the urban landscape.
2. The “ Chicago School,” a group of talented architects and engineers, gave form to the modern skyscraper.
3. Across the United States, municipal governments undertook public works on a scale never before seen, paving streets, building sewers and water mains, running trolley tracks, and digging underground subway lines.
4. Cities became more beautiful with the creation of urban public parks to complement the new buildings that quickly filled city lots.
5. American cities created comprehensive free public school systems and public libraries.
6. The poor did not share equally in the advantages of city life.
7. At the turn of the twentieth century, a central paradox emerged: The enduring monuments of America ’s cities stood as the undeniable achievements of the same system of municipal government that reformers dismissed as boss ridden, criminal, and corrupt.
B. City Government and the “Bosses”
  1. The physical growth of the cities required the expansion of public services and the creation of entirely new facilities.
2. The professional politician—the colorful big-city boss—became a phenomenon of urban growth.
3. These city bosses presided over political machines—political parties organized at the grassroots level—that existed to win elections and reward its supporters with jobs on the city payroll and services in their neighborhoods. 4. More than 80 percent of the nation’s thirty largest cities experienced some form of boss rule in the decades around the turn of the twentieth century.
5. Urban reformers and proponents of good government challenged machine rule and sometimes succeeded in electing reform mayors, but reformers rarely managed to stay in office for long.
6. Through the skillful orchestration of rewards, an astute political operator could exert powerful leverage and line up support for his party from a broad range of constituents, from the urban poor to wealthy industrialists.
7. In 1902, journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote a series of articles exposing city corruption and pointed out that the business class also benefited from bossism.
8. Compromise and accommodation characterized big-city government by the turn of the twentieth century, but the cities’ reputation for corruption left an indelible mark on the consciousness of the American public.
C. White City or City of Sin?
  1. Americans in the late nineteenth century were ambivalent about the city: They liked its culture and sophistication but feared it as a locus of sin.
2. The White City, built on Chicago’s fairgrounds in 1893, graphically represents America ’s divided view of the city.
3. Its very name celebrated harmony, uniformity, and pristine beauty not seen in Chicago, with its stockyards, slums, and bustling terminals.
4. In 1893, the fair closed its doors in the midst of the worst economic depression the nation had yet seen.
5. During the winter of 1894, Chicago’s unemployed and homeless took over the fairgrounds, vandalized the buildings, and frightened the city’s comfortable citizens out of their wits.
6. In July 1894, in a clash between federal troops and striking railway workers, incendiaries set fire and burned the fairgrounds to the ground.
7. In the end, the White City remained what it had always been: a dreamscape.