The United States started growing tremendously in 1860. Agriculture becoming more mechanized, resulting in less work for farmers in rural areas. Families started moving to cities where the men could work in factories, and women and children could work as servants. This lead to extreme lifestyle changes that people were not prepared for. They came to the city looking for new opportunists with brighter futures.
With so many people migrating to the cities they quickly became over populated. Multiple families living in one house, each family only having one room apiece. Due to the population spike, landlords had high rates for rent. Men relied on their wives and children for additional income because they weren’t making enough from the factory work. Although this was not idea women, children, and African Americans were getting more opportunities in the work forced.
There was also high death rates during this time period mainly in young children. Horses pouted the streets with manure leaving the drinking water contaminated. There were high epidemic’s with different illnesses like typhoid fever, bronchitis and pneumonia. In Chicago during the 1890’s 10,000-12,000 kids died yearly. The poor needed assistance, and the settlement homes did just that. Settlement homes were dedicated to helping the poor with things from education to healthcare, along with a variety of other services in between.
Although politics have always favored the rich before the poor, the people of the Glided age did tremendous things by coming together and organizing institutions. Ethnic enclaves were developed which helped assist people who migrated here from southern and eastern Europe. The people’s party was probably the most beneficial during this time period because it gave the workers a voice, giving them better working conditions and introduced unions into the work force.
Keene, Jennifer D. Visions of America: A History of the United States. 3rd ed., vol. 2, Pearson, 2017.