The Inheritance of the Neighborhoods
Processing migrants by class, race, and religion; four-part cultures
One of the Remarkable Qualities of the American metropolis is the cultural consensus which runs throughout its neighborhoods. For cities so vast, composed as they always have been of migrants from every circumstance of life, the presence of this consensus is an extraordinary historical event well worth understanding for its own sake. Yet the cultural uniformity of the American metropolis, a legacy from the past, has further significance in that it holds the potential of great service to the future. It is the best foundation we have upon which to build powerful and sustained urban plans and policies.
Current social science studies show that our cultural consensus runs far deeper than the common factors of television, automobiles, and the consumerism of the mass media. It is rooted in the behavior and aspirations of millions of American families, rich and poor, black and white. In the everyday behavior of urban families can be seen the commitment to the basic values of an equalitarian private competitive life which is manifested in a common residential style of loyalty to relatives, friendly visiting of neighbors, pressing for the education of children, concern for family health, the use of housing and neighborhoods as the expressions of family status, high tolerance for interfaith marriage, and an openness of membership in churches and other local institutions. The frequent complaints against our urban style of living, the income striving, lack of close communities, the rapid movement of families from place to place,
and the exclusionary tactics of many suburbs are but the concomitants of this same consensus.
Working against this common culture, both its openness and its near-universal private family expectations, are two deeply ingrained attitudes which are endlessly reinforced throughout the metropolis: the tradition of white racism and the differential rewards of capitalism. The former poisons every neighborhood and institution, the latter segregates the city into clusters of families of similar class attainment and delivers the power and destiny of the modes of urban growth into the hands of the well-to-do. By their overwhelming purchasing power and control of most of the political, economic, and social institutions of the city, the upper income groups always have controlled and still do control the allocation of the city's resources and the determination of its patterns of development.
Thus today we do not face an urban crisis brought on by some sudden disaster; we suffer from a heightening of a chronic urban disease. Our situation deserves to be called a disease since most of its symptoms—poverty, slums, self-serving public institutions, violence, epidemics of drugs and diseases, misappropriation of land, and despoiling of the environment—grow upon a healthy body of everyday behavior and aspirations. The cure for these social ills rests upon a public willingness to give the highest priority to the commonplace values of everyday life. Urban crises of the past have been answered by reforms which appealed to the cultural uniformities of the city, and such partial successes show the soundness of such a strategy. But because our political, economic, and social institutions have remained in the hands of the white and the well-to-do, who have chosen to interpret our common culture primarily in terms of rewards for those who succeed and punishments and neglect for those who fall behind, the major causes of our urban maladies have gone unattended. By stressing the value of private competition in the cluster of American aspirations, the well-to-do have legitimized their behavior. At the same time, the losers, in order to understand what was happening to them, have depended upon this same orientation to validate their personal experience. This overwhelming priority for family striving has continually submerged the other behaviors and attitudes of our culture, and therefore the other needs and aspirations have been unable to sustain any enduring efforts to allocate the political, economic, social, and physical resources of the city for the benefit of all its citizens.
Since the existence of a common urban culture is of the utmost importance to any hopes for democratic planning, the history of the process whereby a diversity of migrants became a common people is well worth understanding. This chapter will summarize that history and review some of the recent social science literature on the uniformities and variations now extant in the neighborhoods of the metropolis. The ensuing chapters will show how this culture has fared in respect to two of its universal needs and aspirations: housing and health care. As this story shows, it is the overwhelming of our common culture by the structures of unequal power and wealth which constitutes our chronic urban disease.
The interactions among the economy, the internal structure of cities, and the patterns of migration have produced a common culture whose variations can be interpreted in terms of class and religious identification. Current social science suggests that about 90 percent of the American population can be classified by noting people's class and socioreligious attitudes. Most of our city dwellers have a common American culture but differ according to whether they are upper class, middle class, working class, or lower class. They also differ according to whether they are white Protestant, white Catholic, white Jewish, or black Protestant.
The origins of class attitudes are easy enough to account for. Just as the unfolding economy produced our segregated urban structure, so each day it sifts and grades its members, rewarding some more highly than others. Some men, like Marquand's top executives, inherit or earn large personal fortunes; others push their families forward into power and affluence by means of long years of education and the common striving of a young husband and wife, the sort of steps stressed in Whyte's Organization Man ; still others, like Henry's Bill Greene, can see only a limited future and while teen-agers give up the struggle and spend their lives in routine hard work and domestic comfort. Finally, there are those for whom the economy of the city is essentially closed, men like Liebow's Tally or Harrington's other Americans.
Out of the repetition of thousands of such similar personal experiences come the basic class dimensions of our culture and the common
attitudes and behavior of the upper class, the middle class, the working class, and the lower class.
Yet if one restricted oneself to interpreting the conditions and conflicts of the modern city only in terms of class, the outcome of most elections would be wrongly predicted, and strife over housing, zoning, bussing, schools, police, traffic, and taxes would be unintelligible. The reason that class is an inadequate key to the modern city is that, superimposed on the class-graded cultural variations of Americans, lie the broad bands of their racial and religious identifications: white Protestant, white Catholic, white Jewish, and black Protestant. These religious loyalties derive from our population history. We are a nation of immigrants, and these four socioreligious allegiances have matured out of the process of adaptation of immigrants to the circumstances of American urban life. Over time these loyalties absorbed the immigrant's previous ties to the village, the region, the ethnic group, the religious denomination, or the nation, so that now all but a small fraction of our citizens identify themselves to a greater or lesser degree with the four broad socioreligious orientations.
All American families share a remarkably uniform urban experience, an experience compounded of class, ethnicity, and religion. The pattern is migration, followed by the ghetto or the slum or just hard times in the city, and this is succeeded by the eventual emergence into a stable income position, be it good or bad (and for many it is good), then the church and the suburb. Behind the migrations lay tribes, villages, or family farms, depending on whether the family memory went back to Africa, Europe, or the rural United States. But as each family lives through its experiences in this country, each one passes through the acid of the city which burns off the special qualities of the past. In this corrosive environment Sicilian villagers became Italians, and Italians became neighborhood Catholics; Alabama farm boys, black and white, became slum family men, and family men became builders of Baptist or Methodist churches.
This sequence was, and still is, the sequence of the urbanization of our rural migrants. Put most crudely, one brings to the city an extremely localized culture. After some years in the city the culture becomes broader than the former village or town; it becomes ethnic. The most enduring ethnic cultural institutions in American cities have proved to be the churches, so that over the years or generations ethnic loyalties become merged into religious loyalty. Simultaneously job, income,
housing, and neighborhood teach the class structure of the city, so that in time for some a few years, for others a generation or two—a class and religious culture determines the orientation of all city dwellers. This is a simple model to cover a complex urban and population history, but it seems to order the sequences of the past hundred and fifty years in such a way as to make the contemporary city intelligible.
The population history of the country during the first period of urbanization and industrialization had four notable characteristics. First, the native population prospered and moved westward to fill the continent. At the same time, Americans began sharply to control the size of their families so that population growth after the middle of the nineteenth century no longer depended solely on native reproduction. Second, millions of immigrants from Germany and Great Britain came to join the native population in its westward migration, and they also adopted the new style of the small family. Third, the collapse of the Irish economy expelled millions from that country and added a heavy stream of Irish to the transcontinental flow (Table 3, page 168). They too followed the predilection for family limitation. Fourth, interaction between evangelical Protestantism and Catholicism—especially of the Irish variety reformed two basic elements in American urban culture, the broad Protestant and Catholic allegiances.
At least until 1870, when the standard of living commenced its steady rise in both the United States and Europe, the story of our population and its immigrants was the story of poor farmers, poor peasants, and poor artisans accustomed to subsistence living, who in moving were seeking an opportunity for a decent living for themselves and their families. The sheer abundance of cheap farmland .enabled the
great mass of the nation's white farmers to support large families and for their children to survive. In this era, as always in our history, the rural areas supplied a disproportionate number of the nation's children; even today rural births consistently outrun those in town or city. Moreover, until the twentieth century the death rate among children in American cities was always higher than in the countryside.
Up to 1840 almost all population growth stemmed from natural increase, white and Negro, and although the birth rate fell steadily during the nineteenth century, until 1860 it still continued to exceed European rates. From then on, American birth rates declined in the same general ratios as those of England, France, and Sweden. Scholars do not yet understand the cause of this decline; but it is a long-term historical trend participated in both by natives and immigrants, with only a few very short exceptions and slight reversals. For the moment, all that can be said is that Americans and Europeans limit their families as they become urban industrial peoples.
The native population established the directions for the streams of continental migration which the immigrants followed. Prior to 1870 Americans moved westward in roughly parallel bands: migrants from New England and New York filled the upper Midwest; families from the Southeast settled the lands from Alabama to Texas; and people from Virginia and Pennsylvania settled in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and in southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. With the coming of the railroad and the rapid development of the Midwest, settlers from the entire North and Midwest overran the plains, mountain, and Pacific regions.
Slavery was an effective barrier against mass European immigration into the South, but millions of Germans, English, Scots, Welsh, and Irish joined the westward movement in the fifty years after 1820. Farm counties in the Midwest were as rich an ethnic patchwork in those years as the blocks of Manhattan.
Historians of the era have fully documented the special ethnic contributions brought by these immigrants to the first stages of our urbanization and industrialization. In the mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts, there was an "English Row" of houses belonging to calico printers from
Lancashire; English and Scottish workers supplied the skilled labor in the cotton and woolen mills of New England and New York; the woolen weavers and knitters of Philadelphia and Lowell, as well as those of Thompsonville, Connecticut, were Scottish. In the 1820s, English, Scottish, and Welsh miners opened up the anthracite mines of eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, and what is now West Virginia. Cornishmen, seeking lead, were the first foreigners to settle in Wisconsin; they also dominated copper mining in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and they cut the first railroad tunnels through the Berkshire Hills. The early history of American labor inherited many of its distinguishing features from the British tradition. The great "Ten-Hour" strikes of the big cities, when skilled artisans turned out in vast numbers to demand shorter hours and higher pay, the first fraternal organizations like the Masons or the Odd Fellows, and many of the workers' insurance and benefit funds were in most places initiated by English and Scottish immigrants.
No city or town north of the Ohio River was without a German quarter, and many of the small towns were composed almost entirely of Germans. In the big cities German peasants suffered from poverty and slum housing as severely as did the thousands of Irish peasants and were as cruelly exploited in the cheapest trades. Like the English, however, the skilled among them maintained their tradition of workingmen's associations which flourished in all manner of clubs, benefit associations, and labor organizations.
The new people also brought with them the conflicts of the British Isles. Cornish and Irish mobs—the "pasties" versus the "codfish"—fought pitched battles in the copper country of upper Michigan; the rooms of the New England textile mills were segregated to the disadvantage of the Irish; English and Irish Protestants brawled and rioted in every city; and the murders by the Molly Maguires were an echo of less drastic Irish attacks on their British colliery foremen.
Yet many of the qualities peculiar to the various immigrant cultures were soon lost. Those which could easily be absorbed, like labor unions and lager beer, disappeared into the general cultural scene, and individual manifestations were ground off in the cultural clash between Protestant and Catholic. The 1820-1870 migrations of German and
Irish Catholics met a special kind of Protestantism when they landed—not an established state religion but a collection of thousands of small congregations. But for all its fragmentation, Protestantism flourished during these years and developed into a general Protestant-American consciousness.
A blend of the colonial institutional inheritance with later religious enthusiasms gave the Protestantism of the years between 1820 and 1870 its particular character. Late eighteenth-century colonial Americans had not been churchgoers. Theirs was probably the most secular of all our cultural periods, and scholars estimate that only 10 percent of the population at most belonged to any church at all. Simultaneously the Revolution gave rise to the apprehension that established churches were agents of monarchical tyranny and laid down a tradition that our nation would be one without state-supported churches. All Protestant denominations were in effect compelled to become voluntary, competitive organizations. Except perhaps in the case of the Quakers and some pietists, Protestantism was oriented toward bringing in the unchurched, and most congregations for the sake of their own survival had to adopt not an exclusive but a recruiting mission.
Our colonial history was marked by continual strife along denominational lines—among Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, and pietists of various kinds. Some of the confrontations were of course plainly rooted in the home countries, as in the cases of German pietists or Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, but many were not. When Massachusetts Congregationalists persecuted Quakers or Baptists, or when Connecticut Congregationalists expressed their disapproval of Methodists, they were discriminating against their own kind.
The evangelical drives for membership dampened interdenominational conflict and eroded doctrinal lines. Most late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American Protestants believed that the individual had to discover God, not vice versa, and that there were rewards and punishments in this world and the next for good Christian behavior. Accordingly waves of evangelism, with ministers welcoming the unchurched into Protestant fellowship, swept the country from 1795 through the next half century or more.
A millennial hope that the spread of Christianity and of liberal
human institutions would bring the Kingdom of God to the United States suffused the era. The means, of course, were individual, "an elevated state of personal holiness." Churchgoing grew more popular. Simultaneously Protestantism became more and more unified both in doctrine and practice, and no deterrent stood in the way of intermarriage between members of different denominations. When conflict arose with Catholic immigrants, a generalized Protestant sentiment defended the voluntarism and individualism of their way of life and warded off Catholic incursions into Protestant control of political organizations and public institutions for education and welfare.
As always in America, the blacks had a separate history. At the time of the Revolution there were no Negro congregations in Northern cities. Blacks attended white Protestant churches, although sometimes, as in Philadelphia, they were segregated to a balcony. In the early nineteenth century the growing emancipation and democratic sentiment in the small black colonies of the Northern cities engendered a move toward self-determination for Negroes in religious matters, so that by the 1840s every city had its black churches and fraternal organizations. The full flowering of this black urban culture nevertheless awaited the substantial migration of blacks to Northern cities, which began in the 1890s.
The massive migration of Germans and Irish from 1830 to 1870 changed the religious composition of the nation. Since the seventeenth century America had been a Protestant country, whether or not devoutly or secularly so; now it became a Protestant-Catholic nation. By 1870 Catholics constituted the largest single religious group, about 40 percent of the churchgoers, and such has been the balance of immigration ever since. A drastic leap in numbers, however, did not immediately imply a unified American Catholicism. Instead, Catholicism during this era was able only to discover and lay down the institutional framework on which later generations would build a Catholic culture for all classes. Until
then, the poverty and fragmentation of the Church and its immigrant membership outweighed every extraneous consideration. Yet in facing poverty, fragmentation, and the contemporary Protestant attack, the foundation of a broad cultural unity was formed.
A nineteenth-century American Catholic, whether immigrant or native-born, inevitably bore an inherited reputation for having advanced the traditions of "popery," which had been the bogy of Great Britain for two hundred and fifty years and had made Catholics the object of deep-seated national prejudice there. Through English colonists and the colonial wars against the French this prejudice was transferred to America, and Catholics of whatever origin were stamped as a negative reference group in the early Republic. Events overseas made matters worse. The campaign in England to remove the last civil penalties from Catholics spawned a deluge of anti-Catholic literature that poured across the Atlantic until the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. At the same time, Protestant ministers and organizations were single-mindedly seizing on anti-Catholicism to inspire popular enthusiasm for affiliating with a Protestant church. The American Bible Society not only published anti-Catholic tracts but even launched a campaign to spread the King James Bible among Catholics. The campaign naturally aroused an angry response among the American bishops. Furthermore the stubborn refusal of poor immigrants to accept the free Bibles gave rise to a widespread belief that Catholics were opposed to the Bible—a conviction that was to play a prominent part in the public-school and nativist controversies of the forties and fifties. Finally, well-known Protestant ministers began to preach anti-Catholic sermons as part of their proselytizing efforts. The Reverend Lyman Beecher of Boston delivered three Sunday sermons in as many churches on August 10, 1834, speaking out violently against Catholicism and its regular clergy and further inflaming an already explosive situation in that city. He and his fellow ministers may be said to have contributed directly to the first burning of a convent in the United States, which took place on the following day. All this fervor, anger, and prejudice preceded (or dated from the very start of) the great wave of German and Irish Catholic immigration. When that tide appeared, the nation's cities, large and small, entered upon three decades of anti-Catholic rioting marked by the burning of churches, orphanages, and convents.
The frequency and virulence of Protestant attacks did not automatically unite the largely impoverished mass of native American, French, German, and Irish Catholics. In 1820 the church was a weak and scattered organization made up of parishes from the old French empire at New Orleans, St. Louis, and Detroit, from the old colonial parishes in Maryland and their more recent offshoots in Kentucky, and of churches in most of the Eastern cities. Because there was but one major facility for training diocesan priests here, St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, priests had to be recruited from France, Germany, Italy, England, and Ireland, and they brought with them the diverse national styles endemic to European Catholicism. In addition, no strong hand existed to enforce unity. During the long colonial years of intolerance and penalties against Catholics and of official neglect by the English bishop who had formal charge, priests here evolved an independent collegial style for the management of their common affairs. Perhaps fortunately for Catholicism in America, in view of the variety of backgrounds of the new waves of immigrants, the early nineteenth-century Church depended upon the initiative of scattered bishops who coped with their growing dioceses as best they could. Differences among them had to be reconciled by occasional provincial meetings, most frequently held in Baltimore, where the bishops gathered to legislate for the American Church. In its decentralization and widespread use of democratic and federal forms both within dioceses and among them, the Church of these years reflected the general political thrust of its era.
By 1870 the Catholic Church had four and a half million members. Its parishes were scattered across the land from city slums to Midwestern farm counties, along the banks of every railroad and canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Such massive growth forced the Catholic Church into a position not unlike that of its Protestant opposition. The sheer necessity of building churches at a rate rapid enough to bring the Mass within reach of the incoming tides of newcomers necessarily delivered much of the power of the organization into the hands of the parish. Popular church-building priests and successful fund-raising congregations became the models of the day. Although Catholic immigrants
varied a great deal in their use of the Church, some depending upon it solely for its sacraments and others, especially Germans, bringing with them a custom of a village church and related clubs and societies, one can see in this emphasis on fund raising and on the building of churches and parochial schools the beginnings of the transformation of many a European church into the typical American Catholic parish of bingo, basketball, and building funds.
The ethnically fragmented hierarchy and parishes and the pressure for church building were manifested in a particular movement of local-ism—trusteeism—during these years. The trustee movement surfaced in open conflict immediately after the Revolution when local congregations asserted their right to appoint priests and control parish budgets in place of the bishop. In New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Norfolk, and Buffalo certain parishes resisted all attempts at discipline for as long as forty years. The difficulties had many dimensions, but the ethnic one proved to be the most obdurate. English priests had been the first to staff the American Church, and trustee clashes took the form of battles between American parishioners and the customs of French priests who fled here from the French Revolution, or between newly formed Irish congregations and native and French styles. Irish-German confrontations fired by English-language conflicts arose in the North and Midwest.
To cope with these conflicts—and they remained bitterly divisive throughout the nineteenth century—the Church was compelled to adopt the rule that special churches for single nationalities might be established within the boundaries of the parishes established for each diocese. Moreover, the bishops endeavored to maintain harmony by calling regular meetings of all the parishes under their supervision. This episcopal compromise, later repeated when Catholics from Southern and Eastern Europe arrived, made it possible for the Church to maintain a troubled unity during the great migrations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So successful were these devices in enabling the Church to stay in contact with newly arrived immigrant groups that
when the twentieth-century Church began to speak for all the urban poor in political and philanthropic affairs, the general public found this representation acceptable.
Perhaps even more important for future Catholic culture than the halfway house of the ethnic Church was the establishment of parochial education. The beginning of the parochial system is customarily dated from the opening of a school for poor children in 1810 by Sister Elizabeth Seton at St. Joseph's Parish in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She employed the Sisters of Charity, of whom she was the American founder, to staff the school, and she operated it with free materials and without tuition for the children of the area. The basic formula of an elementary school attached to every church was seized upon by the most ambitious bishops as the best chance for the survival of Catholicism in Protestant America. In 1884 the Council of Baltimore adopted it as the official task of all dioceses. Thus, unlike in Europe, where universal education was yet to be established as a national norm, and where state funds and long-established endowments supported both churches and schools, American Catholic communities faced a double burden of creating a network of schools and churches sufficient to serve the waves of immigrants flooding in from abroad. The sheer poverty of some Catholic communities, like that of Boston, doomed the effort to failure in these first decades. Elsewhere, especially in German-settled cities where the desire for foreign-language teaching lent an additional impetus for local support, and in dioceses of aggressive bishops who successfully solicited funds and teaching orders from Europe, a rough approximation of the goal was attained before the Civil War. Despite the universal emphasis of the parochial-school drive for a free education for every Catholic child, such a massive and relentless fund-raising effort imposed its class mark on Catholic education because it firmly anchored the parochial system to the parents of children of the working class and middle class, the very members of each urban parish who were making their way most successfully.
The building of the parochial system, begun on a large scale to meet the needs of the immigrants' children in the 1840s, had two consequences for American urban culture. First, it began the secularization of the public schools, dominated until that time by Protestants; second, it helped to build a characteristically American style of Catholic culture.
During the forties, Bishop John Hughes of New York and Bishop Francis Kenrick of Philadelphia pressed for the abolition of Protestant teaching in the public schools and for municipal or state aid to parochial schools. An explosion of antiforeign, anti-Catholic prejudice, resentment, and rioting greeted these demands. In every state where Catholics sought funds in the mid-nineteenth century they were refused. Not only did this outcry tend to draw German, Irish, and American Catholics together, but the gigantic effort required to build and to maintain thousands of schools committed each parish to an enduring social task: the education of children. The goal of literacy, both Catholic and secular, for any child who presented himself at the school door meant that the Catholic Church was as securely tied to the task of Americanization through education as were the contemporary public schools. Moreover, because the building and financing of its schools rested with the families of the parish, the values of the Church itself became tied to the hopes and values of child rearing which its neighborhood supporters possessed.
The migrations of native Americans during the second era of urbanization and industrialization reflected some specific changes in the economy. The last years of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth have been characterized as the "golden age of American agriculture." It was a time when skillful farmers, using new techniques taught by the agricultural colleges and extension stations, prospered as world prices rose for American staples. The contemporaneous completion of the railway network opened up the high plains, Florida, the Southwest, and the Pacific coast so that every variation in soil and climate was utilized by farmers universally bound to national and international marketing systems.
The completion of the westward movement did not however halt the migratory habits of our restless people. After 1870 systematic information becomes available for the state-by-state migrations of the native-born. There was no settling down. In any given census since 1870,
one-quarter of the population was living outside the state of its birth. Moreover, this documented migration followed the time-honored pattern of the common people: young men, women, and families moved because they were seeking the places where economic opportunity seemed the best. Although in 1920 there were more farms and farmers in the United States than ever before or since, modernization of the economy had already begun to drive many Americans off the land. The young people especially were aware of a choice between farm and city; many of them were sick of farming and began to pour into the cities and towns of the Midwestern manufacturing belt. The Lynds' first Middletown book records the transformation which such shifts from a rural to an industrial society entailed for a small Midwestern city. But the country people also poured into the great cities of the era, helping to build such metropolises as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.
During these same years, international immigration reached its flood but did not retrace the patterns of native population flow to the degree that it had in previous years. Only Scandinavians, Bohemians, and some Germans continued to move out onto the farms to swell the westward migration of the natives. Most Europeans were concentrated in the cities and towns of the Northeastern and Midwestern manufacturing belts, thereby settling themselves in the forefront of the urbanization of the era.
Historians refer ,to the migrations of 1870-1920 as the years of the "new immigration," that is, the coming of the Russians, Poles, and Italians as opposed to the "old immigration" of Germans, Irish, and British (Table 3). The shifts in origins and ratios of European migrants reflect the interaction between the modernization of Europe and the industrialization of the United States. For Europe as a whole there were periods of heavy excesses of births over deaths, and these were of course the times of large population gains. When the children represented by these gains reached adulthood, mass migrations took place from rural
TABLE 3 .
Other Central Europe**
Balance of World
* Includes both Northern and South Ireland
** Austria since 1861, except 1938-45, Hungary since 1861, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia since 1920. There is no long unbroken time series available for Poland. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, Washington, 1960, pp. 56-59; U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Report of the Commissioner: 1970, Washington, 1971, pp. 63-64.
areas into European cities and beyond to America. The impact of the baby booms of 1825 and 1840-45 in Western Europe had propelled the tides of German, Irish, and British migrants. In later years as railroads and urbanization stimulated the Eastern and Southern European economies, similar population booms swelled rural populations there. The birth surge of 1860-65 appeared in the American immigration peak of 1880-84; the surge of 1885-90 in the peak of 1902-15.
The migrants came to this country in tremendous numbers only when jobs were plentiful here; if hard times prevailed they settled in European cities instead. Such alternative destinations for European rural migrants stemmed from the fact that the nineteenth-century cycles of building activity and capital investment were not the same for Europe and America. Until World War I the United States was a substantial importer of capital from Europe, and accordingly it had to compete with European opportunities for investment in industrial, ventures and urban real estate. Capital sought first one continent and then the other depending upon the expectations for most substantial profits. These capital flows alternately encouraged and impeded employment in the United States. The flow of capital created boom years from 1878 to 1892 and from 1897 to 1913 and opened up many new jobs, and hence there were surges in immigration. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, as cheap steamship passage made the crossing of the ocean easy and safe, skilled workmen often moved between England and the United States, following the crests in wages and employment in their particular crafts. The statistics of net migration, which show departures as well as arrivals from abroad, confirm the employment-opportunity-migration sequence.
There were two immediate results of this pulsating flow of peoples from Europe. The continued flood of unskilled workers directly influenced the development of mechanization in American industry, while the interaction between the origins of immigrants and the increasing urbanization of the United States determined which groups were to advance with certain elements of the economy. With immigration bringing in tides of unskilled labor to the nation, industry before the Great Depression had always to adjust to a plentiful supply of cheap unskilled labor and to a concurrent shortage of skilled workmen. The result was
to give our technology a particular cast: the most complicated processes were mechanized first, in contrast to European practice, in order to conserve highly skilled and paid craft workers, and were mechanized in such a way that they could be carried out by men with very little training. Gradually an industrial style of high mechanization developed. It did not always present the cheapest solution, as twentieth-century competition with German manufacture made plain, for Germany used highly skilled techniques coupled with less mechanization, but it became an enduring part of American industrial culture.
The second consequence of the shifting origins of European migration was that it aroused considerable alarm among both native Americans and children of the older immigration. To be sure, those native-born who moved to the cities, factories, and offices of the nation had a strong competitive advantage over most foreigners. They often possessed more formal education, some savings, and connections with well-placed relatives. Above all, they were members of the dominant culture. Studies of social mobility show that the native-born and their children moved more easily into white-collar jobs than did the immigrants or their children. Yet during the 1870-1920 years native Americans were disproportionately concentrated in the farms and small towns of the United States, and their apprehensions that they were being left behind contained some measure of truth.
For example, national statistics show that the children of English and Irish immigrants achieved high-status positions more rapidly than the native population did simply because their parents had settled in greater concentrations in the cities; and since in the half century after 1870 these were the locations of widest opportunity, the immigrant child had a better chance for education and for an eventual high-status position. In 1900, 5.7 percent of all white Americans were illiterate as opposed to only 1.6 percent of the children of immigrants. In that census year the ratios of whites in professional and clerical positions and in government employment summarize the differential effects of migration, urbanization, and social mobility: 14 percent of all Americans appeared in these categories but 22.6 percent of the children of both British and Irish immigrants. Because of their traditional rural position
in the economy, native Americans as a whole were indeed being left behind.
Conditions prevailing in the new mill towns and metropolises of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also conspired to shake the confidence of both native and "old immigrant" stock. The men there had acquired the urban industrial skills of their day and counted on the continuation of the nineteenth-century world, where the continual arrival of fresh unskilled immigrants signaled not only expansion of the job market but also promotion and advancement for earlier comers. Under this mode of growth in the economy, natives and old immigrant groups had become the skilled hands, the foremen, the bosses of the new incursions of rural migrants. The repetition of this sequence of events had meant that for at least the previous century immigration and social mobility had had no grounds for conflict.
In the 1890s the scale of the city and of industry reached swollen proportions, and the scope and possibility for the social and economic mobility of the ordinary citizen seemed to narrow. Although studies by historians seem to show that the chances for individual advancement did not in fact decline during the years after 1890, nevertheless a feeling was prevalent that a man's chances to get ahead had dwindled with the coming of the giant metropolis and the factory. For the first time, the waves of European immigrants appeared as a threat: perhaps to the workers of the time, certainly to their children. As unions became fearful for the jobs of their members, the men lost confidence in the future for themselves and their children.
Concomitantly an ugly rise in ethnic stereotyping swept the nation. Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration sentiment, and the inflated patriotism of World War I with its phobia against Communism combined to pass in 1921 an immigration law that set limited quotas based on the ethnic mixture of the population as it was found to exist in 1910. So it was that fear of the industrial structure and of the metropolis that housed it, augmented by jealousy between rural and urban dwellers, ended the century-old pattern of migration, industrialization, and urban-
ization. The atmosphere since the twenties has been a miasma of anti-foreign sentiment. The paradoxical result of the 1921 law and its subsequent revisions was to close immigration from peasant countries and to encourage the entrance of skilled workers and professional men from the more advanced countries, thereby exacerbating competition for the most prized jobs. Our nation with its high levels of skill and education thus continued to draw the trained sectors of population away from those nations that had the most crying need for modern skills.
During the last years of the nineteenth century, the black population of the United States began to move from its historic place in the rural Southeast. The special qualities of Negro migration in America have been twofold: it has been small compared to both native-white and European migrations, and it is a migration that has taken place under severe handicaps, because for many years it proved difficult for blacks to escape from their home territory.
Like earlier migrants, the blacks followed existing transportation routes, pursuing the cheapest paths. Negroes from Maryland to Florida came by coastal steamer and railroad to the cities of the Northeast. Negroes west of the Alleghenies moved up the Mississippi by rail on the Illinois Central, Gulf Mobile and Ohio, and the Wabash to St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. The pioneering settlers were young people who ventured north to seek a place in the small ghettos that had existed in every city since before the Civil War. The availability of jobs in Washington, D.C., fostered a large colony there of blacks from Virginia and the upper South, while industrial and service jobs in Philadelphia and New York attracted blacks along the Atlantic. As in other migrations the pioneers sent back letters of encouragement, sometimes money and tickets, and the channels of migration opened and began to flow, pulsating with the rhythms of urbanization and economic growth. During both World Wars this normal migration was spurred by the active labor-recruiting policies of the steel mills and other large firms in need of quantities of cheap labor. Indeed, the precedent for the recruitment of black Southern labor lay in the nineteenth-century practices of those companies who had imported gangs of laborers from Italy and Eastern Europe.
Although the total volume of black migration remained small until World War II, it was enough in the early years to create in New York, Chicago, and St. Louis black ghettos that would nurture the beginnings of a modern urban American Negro culture. The Harlem Renaissance in New York began with the first waves of late nineteenth-century northward migration. The timing of the start of black migration, however, proved to be disastrous. Negroes began arriving in large numbers in Northern cities exactly at the time when the great swells of fear and prejudice had begun to break over America, indeed over all the European world as well. The bitter race riots of East St. Louis in 1917 and of Chicago in 1919 testify to the anger and brutality of the climate into which the native blacks were moving in their search for opportunities in the cities of the North.
The cultural effects of these new sources and differential patterns of migration immediately manifested themselves. The coming of the Jews from Eastern Europe and of the black Protestants from the South completed the roster of elements that compose our modern urban culture: white Protestant, white Catholic, white Jewish, and black Protestant. Yet since each of these socioreligious clusters consisted largely of recent rural migrants, American and European, the cultural life of each group evolved around its adjustments to new urban conditions. Each group accordingly developed pronounced old-value and new-value wings.
For the white Protestants the important cultural event of the years from 1870 to 1900 was the formation of a liberal, urban middle-class movement—the social gospel—extending laterally across all denominations. The movement reflected a self-conscious attempt on the part of Protestant ministers and laymen to comprehend and make some adjustment to the realities of their day. It drew upon the millennial enthusiasm of the earlier evangelical era but transformed it into a secular optimism based on the efficacy of social reform. It drew also upon the past emphasis on individual religious responsibility but transformed it into a
call for an active citizenship informed by Christian ethics. The modern American Christian, according to the social gospel, was to address himself to the affairs of the world, to work as an individual and to join others in his congregation in combating such evils as child labor, exploitation of women, Negroes, and workingmen, and the social pathology of slum housing, alcoholism, and unregulated immigration.
Institutionally the movement became apparent in interdenominational organizations like the Federal (later National) Council of Churches of Christ in America (1908), in the founding of settlement houses and the development of social work as a profession, in church-sponsored investigations of major strikes, and in a vast amount of debating and pamphleteering. Conceptually the social gospel enlarged the old reformist wing of American Protestantism and brought this branch of the culture up to date by leading it into sympathetic contact with the realities of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish working-class and lower-class life. Of course the old axes of conflict still existed within Protestantism. A strong draft of nativism blew through many of the Americanization programs of progressive settlements, churches, and public schools of the day. The temperance and antiprostitution campaigns, so important in these years, were at once real issues of social liberation and continuations of early nineteenth-century Protestant-Catholic warfare over alcohol, dancing, and Sabbath observance. Yet for all this persistence of old habits of thought the social-gospel wing of Protestantism initiated the very important task of establishing a modern liberal middle-class sentiment that could build bridges to the three other contemporary urbanizing cultures.
The great majority of both rural and urban Protestants were not in any case followers of the social gospel. In these years urban Protestantism lost much of its older working-class base and became very much a middle-class suburban phenomenon. Moreover, the new rich of the city dominated many congregations with their conservative blend of self-righteous capitalism and old-fashioned insistence that poverty was a manifestation of unworthiness and sin.
For Catholicism the years from 1870 to 1920 were also ones of liberalization. In Europe the liberal-national revolutions and the rise of Catholic unionism and Christian socialism drove the hierarchy into a degree of accommodation with the modern world. The deep suspicion of and hostility to humanitarian reform that had marked many Papal and American Catholic attitudes in the earlier era now gave way to a sense that the Church ought to interest itself in the problems posed by industrialization and the urban masses. Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical Rerum novarum on the relations of capital and labor and the work of James Cardinal Gibbons on behalf of the Knights of Labor marked the new trend.
As Irish and German Catholics rose in large numbers from immigrant poverty to positions of success and affluence, the Catholic Church became an all-class, fully organized institution in the United States. These were the years of cathedral building in every major urban diocese, the years of the widespread establishment of the parish elementary-school system and, following the trends in public education, the opening of parochial high schools. The Church began to train its own priests, and although a continuing shortage required European recruits, the Catholic Church in America became a highly integrated organization dominated by native-born descendants of Irishmen and Germans.
Much of the liberalization of Catholicism derived from the personal experience of its membership. As millions of Catholics moved out from the poverty of the central city to the new working-class settlements and middle-class suburbs, they settled in mixed Protestant-Catholic communities. The needs of the parish for church and school building and the associational style of middle-class Americans caused Catholic clubs and societies to multiply as they did at neighboring Protestant churches. The charitable work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the fraternal organization of the Knights of Columbus proved immensely popular.
Catholicism did not, on the other hand, become absorbed in the social gospel in the same way that contemporary Protestantism had done. The social gospel was after all a movement of middle-class people, often with small-town backgrounds, who were trying to come to grips with the strangeness of the industrial metropolis. Catholic liberalism in these years most commonly took the form of speeches made by Irish and German politicians and priests in behalf of the working classes and
lower classes of the city. They spoke not as social investigators but as representatives. Theirs was not a movement of discovery and accommodation but a call for recognition and a demand for a more just share of the fruits of the society. Many Irish and German politicians prospered and in their success were as callous, corrupt, and conservative as the Presbyterian steel barons of Pittsburgh. But there were others who used their success to represent their constituents, men like Martin Lomasney of Boston or Charles F. Murphy of New York. These politicians joined with settlement-house workers, Protestant ministers, Jewish philanthropists, and union leaders to carry the important social legislation of the day through city councils, state legislatures, and Congress. By 1920, though the Church was full of conflicts between new Slavic and Italian ethnic groups and the established Irish and Germans and though many Catholics and priests were as doubtful as ever of the efficacy of reform and as fearful of liberalism and socialism, the success of millions of urban Catholics in moving into positions of comfort and power produced a sense of widespread personal optimism to reinforce the liberal tendencies of some political and religious leaders.
For the Jewish immigrants, whose massive migration during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made Jewish culture a permanent element in American life, the polarization between old-fashioned ghetto and village ways and modern urban life had commenced in Europe. German liberal Judaism and German and Russian anarchism and socialism traveled across the Atlantic to foster progressive movements among Jewish immigrants and the small Jewish communities that already existed in Eastern and Midwestern cities. There was probably not a reform effort in any big city in the United States after about 1880 that did not include at least one Jewish member. Indeed, the American version of the charitable tradition of the Jewish ghetto soon proved to be a major urban cultural bridge. Even in the face of rising anti-Semitism during these same years, Jewish philanthropists served on most metropolitan committees for child care, unemployment relief, and hospital and community fund drives, as well as on those directed to race relations and social legislation. Thus the Jewish philanthropist became a permanent element in metropolitan elite life.
But for most Jews, the 1870-1920 decades were years of struggle with immigration and poverty. Just as the Irish and German slums had been symbols of poverty and exploitation in the earlier mixed commercial and industrial city, so the Jewish slum of the metropolis epitomized urban life of the "new immigration." The tenements of New York's lower East Side, housing thousands of little sweatshops where Jewish immigrants labored on suits, overcoats, trimmings, dresses, and shirts, have become, thanks to liberal Jewish and Protestant writing, classic statements of the American immigrant experience. The raw exploitation of these industries was finally brought under control only by means of the organization and repeated strikes of the workers in these crafts and by the passage of restraining legislation.
Because Jews located in the largest cities, where economic opportunities were then the most abundant, because they had a strong cultural imperative toward education at a time when the economy demanded the skills of formal education, and because their culture seemed so compatible with individualistic capitalism, Jewish immigrants rapidly took their places in the middle and upper levels of the class structure. Indeed, the story of the continuous struggles of these immigrant parents to provide their children with education, better jobs, and a better future has become today the controversial model of social and economic mobility. It is against this model that current arguments for cultural pluralism for Negroes, Chicanos, Indians, and old ethnic groups are being debated.
Finally, the small black ghettos of Northern cities in these years laid the foundations for what would later become a revolution in black and white culture. Since job discrimination held so many Negroes in permanent poverty and race prejudice crowded blacks into expensive all-Negro communities, their liberalization and urbanization could not be borne on a wave of rising affluence and integration of the members of the culture,
as had been the case for Catholics and Jews. Rather black culture had to accommodate itself to the fact of ghetto poverty and the capabilities of a small elite whose actions were narrowly circumscribed by the discrimination of the outside white society. Despite this confinement, the ghetto years of the first waves of migration from the South between 1890 and 1920 were a time of extraordinary cultural growth: the Negro churches adapted to the rush of migrants and participated in the general liberalization of Protestantism, while a parallel secular flowering established a modern definition of black Americans as a people with a unique art, history, literature, and music.
Before these migrations, when Negro clusters in Northern cities were small, the churches had served as community centers. They were the principal sources of black news, the cement that held clubs and lodges together, the bases for political action, and the links between the tiny black elite and the generality of low-paid black workers and servants. Rapid growth of black blocks to entire urban ghettos after 1890 inevitably destroyed such small-scale social unities. Though the web of discrimination hampered Negroes in a thousand ways, a small business and professional elite grew with the ghetto, thereby fragmenting the community's secular and religious leadership. Ministers had to share their role with doctors, teachers, newspapermen, government workers, politicians, and liquor and gambling operators, while at the same time large and successful congregations set themselves apart from the proliferation of store-front churches which sprang up to meet the needs of the new migrants. The extreme poverty of urban Negroes has forced black Protestantism to cope with far more extreme institutional divisions than its white counterpart, and it maintains to this day its character of a few large well-established churches surrounded by a sea of informal evanescent one-room congregations. Nevertheless all the features of white Protestantism prevail: a core belief and practice which allows blacks to move easily from one church to the next, the insistence among respectable families of every income that Sunday school is essential for children's education, the mixture of classes in each denomination, and the widespread participation in ancillary clubs, entertainments, and lectures.
Thus the twentieth-century liberalization of black Protestantism
went forward in the general climate of American religious practice, constrained only by the facts of ghetto poverty and the inescapable demand that ghetto Protestantism, like all ghetto institutions, serve the race. In the three decades after the Civil War, Negro ministers had participated in the fight to obtain the vote for Northern Negroes, to desegregate Northern city schools, and to seek full citizenship for the race. With the rise in the late nineteenth century of a new urban humanitarianism among Protestant and Jewish churchmen and philanthropists, the black elite absorbed and adapted the social gospel to its own race purposes. On the white side, slum missions gave way to settlement houses, social surveys, and reform politics, thereby building a new bridge toward the black leaders. The result was the formation of two new permanent organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909) and the Urban League (1911), which embodied the spirit and technique of the new social consciousness. Although for a time in Southern cities white and black governing boards had to sit separately, with the spread of their chapters into every large city these new organizations formed a liberal interracial core which led the civil-rights campaigns throughout the nation until the 1960s.
A unique cultural flowering also accompanied the 1890-1920 migrations and the growth of urban ghettos. In view of the poverty of Negro city dwellers and the small base of support which the elite could offer to black theater and arts, the Harlem Renaissance was a remarkable achievement of black liberation. A handful of poets, actors, dancers, painters, writers, and musicians fashioned a coherent heritage and modern image of a black American: a free man in the midst of oppression whose culture stretched back to Africa and Jerusalem. The discrimination against blacks in the entertainment, commercial-art, and publishing industries and their virtual exclusion from universities forced most Negro artists to depend upon the inadequate resources of the impoverished ghetto or to leave the black world altogether. As a result the cultural stream which the Harlem Renaissance opened early in this century was choked to a mere trickle. Only jazz, which could be nourished in the ghetto while meeting universal outside demand, flourished.
When the boom in the world market for agricultural products collapsed in 1921, the historic drive of Americans to cultivate their land on independent family farms collapsed with it. Troubles for the small farmer had been accumulating for years. Failure to secure credit for new machinery and new methods had driven many into mortgage foreclosure and tenancy, and competition from large-scale operators harried others. The discrepancy between what the ordinary farmer could earn by his labor and what his son or daughter could make in a city office or factory drew young people increasingly away from the land. Now as twenty years of depressed farm prices began, a term longer than anyone's savings or mortgage could sustain, farmers, white and black, gave up in droves and sought a new chance in the mill towns and cities. New Deal and subsequent agricultural legislation, far from helping the small farmer, brought new and highly productive irrigated land into competition and put capital into the hands of those who were already the most successful; the strong waxed rich and the weak were driven off the land.
From Texas to Minnesota, thousands of Midwesterners gave up and moved to the Pacific; it was said that Los Angeles was Iowa transplanted. The textile, lumber, chemical, and petroleum industries gave employment to Southern farmers, while the continued expansion of the automobile industry in the Midwest absorbed many thousands from there and other regions. In this great exodus the rural American suffered all the exploitation and punishment of slum living that migrants from abroad suffered earlier. The shanty and trailer camps of Willow Run, thrown together for war workers, or the Appalachian North Side of Chicago today bear the marks of conflict between the rural style of life and that of the modern industrial city with its low pay, uncertain income, and harsh discipline.
Beginning with World War II the blacks of the Southeast were finally able to participate fully in this national pattern, and they poured
out of the old Confederacy into Northern and Pacific cities. There they have faced in our own time, as in previous periods, two special obstacles that have never confronted their white counterparts. Job prejudice consistently held down newcomers and older residents alike and excluded even the skilled and qualified from jobs commensurate with their abilities. Moreover, prejudice blocked Negroes from the traditional practice of one man's using his established position to make room for his friends, relatives, townsmen, and fellow ethnics. Employment restrictions closed down the historical process of urbanization whereby newcomers advanced either through job improvement or accumulation of property. Housing prejudice, far in excess of any that existed in respect to Jews or poor families of any sort, closed vast areas of the city to Negroes, and the black ghettos could often only expand by violence or by the purchase of housing at exorbitant prices. There had been ghettos and prejudice before in American cities, but the rapid growth of communities of Negro migrants in the North and the relentless job discrimination heightened the segregation. The outcome has been the emergence of an unprecedented situation in American cities: vast quarters are occupied exclusively by the members of a single race or origin.
These special barriers against blacks made the Negro ghettos of the Northern cities a distinct departure from the slums where foreign immigrants or rural white natives lived. With housing choices and job access both severely curtailed, black ghettos became huge basins of poverty and low-income housing. They were very far from being "ports of entry," stopping places for the first years or the first generation, as twentieth-century Italian slums had been. There the population repeatedly shifted as the more successful members followed jobs into industrial sectors or managed to purchase a house in a decent working-
class district. But newcomers kept pouring into the black ghettos and were kept there by the whites. Consequently our modern ghetto resembles the classic European one. Spatially and socially it is a microcosm of the metropolis, where the poor crowd into the oldest housing of the quarter and the skilled and more prosperous huddle together at the newer periphery. All classes of blacks form an exploited community, as did the Jews in the ghettos of Europe, and they make up an isolated colony in the host society.
Furthermore, sizable black migration is a recent phenomenon, coinciding with the economic faltering of the old core cities in which blacks had to settle. Bad economic surroundings served as the unfortunate reinforcement to job prejudice, and both exacerbated the problem of the impoverishment of black migrants, of whom there were already a disproportionately large number as compared to white migrants. The American Jewish ghetto had stemmed from specialization in the garment industry; the Irish, Italians, and Poles prospered in the construction trades attendant on the industrialization of booming cities. But blacks arrived to find both prejudice and an environment of low-paying, sluggish industries. This economic geography of the decentralizing metropolis creates for Negro migrants yet another hardship: the black ghetto is a residential place, not a mixed settlement of industry, commerce, and homes. Lacking skilled migrants or much employment of its own and blocked by the prejudice of bankers, insurance companies, wholesale outlets, and retailers, black capitalism can hope at most to serve the ghetto itself. Until the metropolis is opened, the skills, leadership, and capital of the black community are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, to participate in the profits of the growing metropolis.
Concurrently with urbanization, a number of events conspired to diminish the importance of overseas migration. Successive restrictions in this country and abroad prevented people from coming to the United States or leaving their own country. The United States excluded the Chinese in 1882, the Japanese in 1900, and then in a succession of laws in 1921, 1924, and 1929 set restrictive quotas that choked down the flow of population from Asia and Southern and Eastern Europe. The unemployment of the Great Depression followed and closed the United
States to those who were seeking improvement over the economic conditions in advanced European countries. American immigration restrictions and those of Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain trapped thousands of political prisoners, especially Jews, who by nineteenth-century practices would have sought asylum in the United States. Rejected by their own country and refused by ours, millions met their death in prisons and concentration camps.
Since World War II, German and Italian migration has revived to a great extent (Table 2, page 93), and it is expected that the 1968 relaxation of quota restrictions will bring in Eastern Europeans and Asians once more. Under the restrictive policies of the 1920s the major foreign influx up to now has been from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Except for the French Canadians in New England, the Canadians have melted into the native population like the British before them. The Mexican, however, is the prototype of the immigrant of today. Although a few special characteristics, especially a propensity to large families, the proximity of the parent country, and the historically unique practice of many southwestern agricultural laborers dwelling in cities instead of out on farms, differentiate Mexican immigrant life from nineteenth-century precedents, much repeats the past. Like the Irish peasants before them, Mexicans work in the lowest-paid, nonunion, marginal small firms; like the Irish they are employed in seasonal gangs as railroad, construction, and farm laborers; like the Irish they do the heavy, unrewarding labor on the streets and in the homes, hotels, restaurants, and food-processing plants of the American city. Again like the Irish peasants before them, the Mexicans have been the object of prejudice and persecution, facing additionally the racial antipathies directed in the United States against any nonwhite. But the Mexican experience in the West and the Puerto Rican experience in the East have taken on a special quality ascribable to the nature of the giant cities they entered. More than for any previous groups, theirs is the unseen migration because theirs is the era of the megalopolis, made up of rigidly segregated cities and metropolises. As a result the browns may live by the thousands in a city and yet go unnoticed by their fellow citizens. In the mid-nineteenth century the Irish could not have been thus ignored; they lived in every-
one's alley, attic, and cellar, and mixed in among the families of middle-class native Americans. Again the structure of the present economy is such that the Mexican's manual labor and service exist at the margins of our advanced technology in industry and commerce: he can be replaced by a machine; he can be kept on at less than a living wage because often he has no other job choices. When Chicano families do break through the barriers of poverty they settle, like the blacks, in class-graded ghettos and replicate on a small scale the divisions of the larger society, yet like the blacks they are denied the opportunities for dispersion that are open to whites. So it was that Los Angeles, the twentieth-century metropolis, expanded with new slums and a new people of slum dwellers, and New York, the oldest metropolis, found its slums filled with yet another new people, the Puerto Ricans.
The cultural consequences of the low level of foreign migration for the past half century have been to permit the unification of domestic cultures along the lines of their class and religious attributes, undisturbed by major incursions of new ethnic cultures. At the same time, the high rates of migration within the country have subjected these cultural components to the pressures of a metropolis continually being restructured into diffuse suburban patterns. In general these two demographic trends of urbanization and suburbanization have brought the leveling out of the white socioreligious groups—Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish—into a bourgeois culture consensus and the fostering of a nationalist component in black Protestantism.
Looking back from today's perspective on the fate of the liberal social gospel, one can see that it contributed to the general secularization of Protestantism and to the continued trend toward the transformation of Protestant churches into middle-class social institutions. The strong call for ministerial and lay action issued by the early social gospel was accepted, but through widespread acceptance it lost its millennial imperative to build a better kingdom here and now in the United States. Instead it turned into a benign tincture for the social education of the ministry and for the encouragement of civic committees in every congregation. In time the social gospel became absorbed in the progressive domestic morality and politics of many Protestants. It became a part of
their concern for the decent treatment of women and children, a clean, healthy environment, good schools, effective charity, a humane settlement of the conflicts between capital and labor, even for a sympathetic attitude toward pacifism.
The weakness of these trends lay in the marginal position of working-class and lower-class participation. Protestantism, the congregation of the faithful gathered to hear the Word, has always been the prisoner of its adherents. The well-to-do in each congregation have always specified the location of the church, decisively influenced the selection and tenure of ministers, upheld the missions, and controlled the addition of new programs, whether for Sunday schools or the introduction of a basketball team. The almost complete suburbanization of the white middle class and upper middle class after 1920 quickened the momentum of these trends, which had been in motion since 1870. Protestantism has been carried on to the suburbs; even the wealthy fashionable downtown churches, which for years had attracted a metropolitan following, have been faltering.
It has been estimated that for the past century the churches of every major Protestant denomination have moved once a generation to follow their congregations. Now situated as they are in all-residential suburbs without the stress of offices and factories, without blacks, browns, or the poor, is it any wonder that the concerns of modern Protestant churches have become the concerns of the middle class, the upper class, and the working class which aspires to middle-class ways? The lower class and the working class have been left to fall back on their own devices. Their patterns are more secular and familial, less preoccupied with middle-class voluntary organizations, but in the past fifty years an old style of evangelical Protestantism has flourished among them. The Bible store front and the organized churches of Jehovah's Witnesses, Nazarenes, and the Holiness groups have multiplied, but neither by membership nor by influence can these class variants yet be called alternatives to the dominant suburban trend of middle-class modern Protestantism. Dwelling in the suburbs, the place of homes and domestic issues, Protestantism has become the medium for the concerns of the family as a residential unit. The settlement house of the social-gospel era, which had been so essential to an earlier generation's discovery of the city, died out
or became an anachronism in both the aging core city and in the suburbs. Now, as continued black migration threatened the all-white suburb and its schools, civil-rights issues polarized Protestant congregations. As repeated wars threatened the children of the suburbs with military service peace movements sprang up, and the isolated domesticity of the suburban wife gave rise to a new set of moral imperatives in the women's liberation movement. Thus modem moral polarities overlay the basic middle-class preoccupation with home, children, safety, and order.
Catholicism had reached a similar destination by the 1950s though it had traveled a different path. Conflicts with recent immigrants continued to divide the Church until the emergence of a large second and third generation of Poles and Italians after World War II indicated that the largest immigrant groups had grown used to the ways of American Catholicism. The first-generation Poles, dependent on their parish church as the center of community life, fought for independence from territorial parishes dominated by the Irish, and indeed many Poles left the Church to found a separate national church. The southern Italians, whose males were quite unaccustomed to support the established Catholic Church in their home country, and the Italian immigrants from the former Papal States, who were strongly anticlerical, failed to follow the Irish and Poles in active parish building. Rather they remained hostile to and ill-served by the Irish-dominated Church. Only the passing of time and the Americanization of Italian Catholicism in the second and third generations brought ultimate accommodation and harmony.
With ethnic conflicts quieting with each year after 1920, an international reaction within the Catholic Church itself hastened the diversion of the American branch from its working-class connections. The liberal Irish bishops of the late nineteenth century were men who spoke in behalf of the working class or who protected outspoken priests who did, but they were also interested in centralizing U.S. Church politics and were proponents of a vigorous national Church with definite self-determination vis-à-vis Rome. These same men had been frequently in conflict with new immigrants because of their insistence on episcopal power, their questioning of the credentials of immigrant priests, their
hostility to new national parishes, and their lack of sympathy for variant styles and practices of Catholicism. Yet as vigorous Americanizers and as representatives of a large urban working class—as well as of a growing middle class—they participated enthusiastically in American nationalism. They energetically supported World War I with public appearances, ministry to the troops, and charity campaigns. At the end of the war the National Catholic War Council issued a platform for the future that endorsed all the progressive notions of the day, and indeed the statement would have done credit to the American Federation of Labor. Unions, cooperatives, public housing, everything short of socialism was recommended.
Yet this working-class nationalism was the legacy of a dying generation, and its leaders passed away in the teens and twenties. They had been socially too liberal for the Papacy and too demanding of autonomy for the American Church. So fearful of this liberal nationalism had the Papacy become that only in 1908 did America cease to be directed by the Curia's Congregation of Propaganda as a missionary land. In 1921 the National Catholic Welfare Council was all but abolished because it seemed a dangerous structure and, as a national body of mixed lay and clerical affiliates, posed a potential threat to the strict hierarchical organization of the Church.
The wave of conservatism that swept over the world after World War I swept with it the Catholic Church and its American clergy. Within the Church, reaction took the form of increasing repression of "modernism," by which was meant the irregular views and practices spontaneously springing up throughout the modern Catholic world. The conservative hoped to suppress cultural variations in the regulation of marriage, customs among the religious orders, governance of the Church, and in theological writing and speculation. Bishops were encouraged to master and enforce the Canon Law of 1917, which itself fostered a narrow clerical legalism. It provided for the strict seminary training of priests and active censorship of books and magazines, and required clergy who wished to speak in public or write for general audiences to do so only with episcopal permission. Furthermore, it demanded that the laity send their children to parochial schools and that noncomplying parents be disciplined by their bishops. Finally, both clergy and laymen were making popular a new style of worship—fre-
quent attendance at church accompanied by a regular reception of the sacraments—and a campaign was launched for the daily receiving of Communion.
The long-term consequence of this insistence on orthodoxy and devotionalism was to hasten the removal of American Catholicism from working-class and lower-class contact and sympathy. The new imperative for parochial education implied that it would join the prevailing trend toward the establishment of separate high schools, so that the expansion of the parochial system meant not only additional elementary schools but a large secondary network also. During the twenties an enormous program of school building was launched and attendance increased dramatically, but the new parish schools could never handle more than a fraction of the poor of the mill town and metropolis. The new schools, like the old, were vehicles for the middle class and for working-class aspirants to the middle class just as much as the public educational system was, and indeed when prosperous Catholics went to the suburbs so too did the new schools.
Recent studies say that the assimilation of Catholic immigrants is complete as a major social event and that Catholics are now as fully dispersed among the class positions of the nation as the members of any other group. In the cities this distribution among the units of the national class structure has resulted in vitality in the suburbs but decay in the central city, where the inner-city territorial and national parishes and schools have lost attendance and support. Currently lay opinion is exerting pressure for the closing of inner-city churches and parochial schools, which serve few whites and many blacks and are costly to maintain. The working-class Catholic family is having difficulty in supporting the more expensive and ambitious parochial schools in its neighborhood, while the middle class and upper middle class urge the creation of country day schools and a network of elite Catholic schools and colleges to match the private educational system of the well-to-do
Protestants. At the same time, the management of colleges, schools, and hospitals has made the administration of the dioceses themselves so elaborate that many more clergy are working in administration today than fifty years ago. Here again it is the wealthy or middle-class layman who assists on episcopal boards and committees and dominates the post-Vatican Council II parish councils. For these reasons, an international movement for strict orthodoxy found its American expression in the context of suburbanization and middle-class dominance. The Catholic Church has always thought of itself as an institution of families and a supporter of family life, but the economic and social progress of its constituency has made it, like the Protestant churches, an institution of middle-class families.
The signal success of Jewish immigrants and their children meant the rapid embourgeoisment of this denominational group. No longer can the American Jew be characterized as a socialist, a union organizer, and an activist in working-class politics; the liberal charitable trend of German-based Reform Judaism has become the model. Urban and industrial conditions have eroded or destroyed Orthodox practices for most Jews, and a range of adaptations from Conservatism to Reform now obtain. There is some evidence that both modes are receiving an increasingly associational, as opposed to the older kinship, emphasis and that the structure of suburban Judaism is becoming more and more similar to the Protestant style, with the congregational services as the core social institution. It has long been the custom of Jewish families to cluster in the metropolitan region more than other denominational groups, and their related tendency to turn to their fellow Jews for most of their friendships has fostered the expansion of Jewish community institutions. No other group in the American city sponsors so wide a range of charitable institutions. No group is more domesticated, more centered on the care and nurture of family life. What effect the continuing demands of Israel will have upon American Judaism is still
unclear. What is clear, however, is that in two or three generations a diverse and fragmented conglomeration of German and Eastern European Jewish peasants, artisans, and city dwellers has been transformed into a unified, predominantly middle-class cultural group.
The persecution of Negroes and the impoverishment of the black community make it impossible for black Protestantism to follow the orientations of the white middle class. The continued hostility of the white world has meant that black Protestantism has always spoken for a people as well as for congregations of the faithful. The periodic surges of black nationalism during the twenties and the sixties served to exalt the racial component in black religion. Church leadership of and participation in the civil-rights movement was an unprecedented development for modern Christianity. Denied participation in the general social rewards of the modern city, the culture of black Protestantism has never been suburbanized, and its contemporary attitudes differ more widely from white religious cultures than the white ones differ among themselves.
Thus during the past fifty years the slackening of foreign migration and the changes in urban religions have turned our ethnic history into the history of classes and religions. Recent sociological studies have demonstrated that these broad allegiances function both as a common national culture and as a set of variations on the theme of family life. The statistics of each study show two tendencies. The fact that the tables report heavy percentages of white Protestants, white Catholics, white Jews, and black Protestants following similar patterns and sharing common beliefs gives the historian evidence of the emergence of a national culture. The fact that the same tables also show differences in the percentages, differences of a range from 46 to 75 percent, also tells the historian of the presence of important socioreligious habits.
The common denominators in the habits and points of view of Americans of all religious loyalties are impressive. The basic custom is commitment to familialism. Although the commitment to and interaction with kin varies somewhat by class and religious identification, the family invariably remains the first object of loyalty. The common national manifestation of this loyalty is the visiting of relatives; many see at least one relative once a week, many more at least stay in touch
with kin. Such familial orientation, even in the face of a high degree of intracity and intercity mobility, must be recognized as a crucial dimension in the analysis of the modern city and in designs for its future. Here in familialism lie the roots of some of the urban dichotomies—well-ordered neighborhoods and acres of neglect, the weakness of organizational power in working-class and lower-class neighborhoods and the difficulties of bringing tenants together for purposes of defense. Perhaps too the failure of police protection and the confused state of public education can be ascribed to familialism and the lack of meaningful local community life. The modern city family has become a tiny island of escape in a sea of fragmented and bureaucratized individuals.
Next in importance after relations with kin, but on a lower scale of frequency and intensity, comes the universal predilection to visit with neighbors. Again there are variations according to class and denominational identifications, but "neighboring" is a basic urban American style among all classes. (It is severely constrained, however, when families must live in apartment houses.) In the past as at the present moment, it has strengthened localism and local institutions, but it has also proved to be a weak and uncertain reed for any decentralized management of the city, whether at the hands of early twentieth-century Midwestern Progressives or today's New York City reformers.
Relics of historical cultural conflicts still persist. Whites, solidly racist, are more interested in avoiding the integration of their residential blocks than in keeping Negroes out of their children's schools. Of the four large socioreligious groups, white Protestants tend to be most critical of the others. These habits of thought are pallid remnants of the old nativist tenet that the United States was and ought to be a Protestant country and that Protestantism was the American culture. A number of events have stopped the historic mills of Catholic-Protestant conflict and difference. The white Protestant group's attempt to force its own liquor laws upon the nation failed with Prohibition, and much of the aggressiveness of Protestantism lost its legitimacy in that failure. Longstanding conflicts over the status of women, issues that reached back
even to the Abolitionist era, have died down with the suburbanization of the Catholic housewife and her participation in the peculiar freedoms and constraints of this modern environment. Finally, Catholics and white Protestants have been intermarrying at a steady and substantial rate.
There is an emphasis on churchgoing among all denominational groups. Church attendance rises with class status and according to the length of time the individual has lived in America, and the third generation goes to church or temple more often than the first or second. Moreover, there is a core of belief that all Christians share. Modern surveys show that American churchgoers accept most of the propositions of a Christianity which says that God watches over us like a Heavenly Father; He answers prayers; He expects weekly worship. Most of them also believe that Jesus was God's only son and have faith in the rewards and punishments of a life after death. Such a consensus has preserved Protestant congregationalism in the midst of competition and change, and it has enabled the Catholic Church to bury ethnic differences. Such a consensus has gained strength from the urban churches' decades of stressing the familial and orthodox aspects of Christianity in preference to encouraging devotional enthusiasms and religious particularism.
Beyond this evidence of an unfolding national cultural consensus, the studies show the presence of important differences by class and differences by religious identification. The class segregation of the modern city is mirrored in the surveys' reports of variations in the class attitudes within religious groups. They testify to the correspondence of the structure of the city and its culture. At the same time, religious identification is shown to be an important and continuing quality of urban life.
Few members of any of the four socioreligious groups were heedless of kin or neighbor, but their loyalties did tend to make some difference. For example, along the axis of cultural issues that runs from participation in associational life as against communal life, most Protestants were more interested in voluntary organizations and neighborhood—that is, they were more associational than Catholics, who were more concerned with kin. Jews did even more visiting with relatives, but were less aware of their neighbors than Catholics. This is not to say that urban
Protestants are nonfamilial and that Catholics and Jews are familial; the reports indicate only variations in central tendencies. The surveys also reveal differences by class, and participation in associational life rises in all denominations as class position rises. The well-to-do are the organization men in America. Perhaps this report reflects the fact that the urban working class has lost its early nineteenth-century fondness for clubs and associations as work has become bureaucratized and neighborhood life has been broken up.
To the extent that these variations by denomination and class have been tabulated, they throw considerable light on the everyday problems that dominate our segregated metropolises. In local elections, in black-white confrontations, in planning-board and zoning hearings, in P.T.A. meetings and school elections, the differences among the religious groups are tremendously important. The spectrum of views that they bring to commonplace problems and the variations in popular attitudes common to certain neighborhood or suburban populations are the elements that carry elections and determine administrative decisions. For example, white Protestants are more concerned with controlling "sin" than are Catholics or Jews or black Protestants. As for divorce, Negro Protestants are largely unconcerned, having fewer among them who oppose it than the white Protestants do, but Catholic communicants are opposed to it. All Christian denominational groups tend to oppose keeping stores open on Sundays. The patchwork of such variations affects many areas: sex education in the schools, licensing of bars and package stores, and the night and Sunday hours of great suburban shopping centers. Yet still another cultural position has its surprises: non-churchgoers of whatever religious orientation are quite uninterested in any of these issues! Such surveys suggest that our urban culture is a consensus closely woven from class and religious threads.
A fascinating section of the studies is given over to information about attitudes in respect to personal autonomy as opposed to discipline. Even simple questions about home and children uncover issues that can vex local politics and education and that are symptomatic of the current state of the classes.
First, all classes and religious groups restrict the size of their families, and the variations from large to small numbers of children follow the cultural groups from black Protestant to white Catholic, then
white Protestant, and finally Jewish. The differences, even in the metropolises, among the groups are not significant. Second, as to women's role in raising children, families did not vary widely in their attitudes by class, but when Catholic and Protestant mothers were asked if child rearing was "burdensome," 60 percent of the Protestant mothers but only 47 percent of the Catholic mothers replied affirmatively. Perhaps here we can find in today's city a reflection of the Protestant women's liberation movement, which has been active in America since the early nineteenth century. Perhaps too this greater dissatisfaction of Protestant families with the child-rearing role encourages club and associational activity.
Such basic behavioral attitudes expand into local issues such as police protection and education. When city dwellers were asked whether intellectual autonomy or obedience was more to be desired in schoolchildren, religious loyalties were identifiable. Jews and the Protestants, white and black, tended to put a higher value on intellectual autonomy than did Catholics. But the families' class status had even stronger repercussions. The upper class and the middle-class Jews, Protestants, and Catholics were all decidedly in favor of intellectual autonomy for their children, but the working class and lower class attached far greater importance to obedience. In the related issue of the enforcement of discipline, few white Protestants favored physical punishment, preferring the use of guilt or shame. Among the working classes—both white Catholic and black Protestant—there was division on the issue, although many of them favored the use of physical punishment as a means of controlling ten-year-olds in school. Here one can detect echoes of both religious and demographic history. The Catholic repression of the years from World War I to the 1950s stressed authority, discipline, and orthodoxy. At the same time such an approach to the world was reinforced by the fact that there were a disproportionate number of working-class families in urban Catholic schools. The similarity of black Protestant and white Catholic attitudes here seems to reflect the Negro's disadvantaged position in the general society.
The exploration of American attitudes toward such issues as child rearing and education holds some promise of linking our past history to the everyday cultural and political confrontations that trouble our neighborhoods and suburbs. Even this pilot report, from a Detroit survey,
shows that the family, school, and neighborhood betray the effects of a sense of powerlessness on the part of the working class and lower class. Should we wonder that class lines are followed more often than those of the religions? After all, the working class and lower class are the ones whose members have the least freedom in today's city. They are subject to bureaucratic control by unions, factories, and offices; their hours are the most strictly regulated and their tasks the most standardized; they are the ones who bring home the smallest or most variable paycheck with which to exercise the personal freedoms of leisure. Finally, they are the ones who live in the most crowded districts, walk the most dangerous streets, deal with a mass of the most unsupervised children who attend the worst schools. It is not surprising that after fifty or a hundred years of such conditions so many working-class and lower-class Americans distrust intellectual autonomy in their children, demand obedience, and use physical punishment. Orderly behavior, not flexible self-discipline, is what has constantly been demanded of these families. Lacking personal autonomy or participation as equals in institutions which do have power, many city dwellers share a dependence on discipline and authority. They may call for more police, but they will not turn out for a P.T.A. meeting on the free classroom.
Out of such class and socioreligious differences—small variations for the most part, but representative of convictions deeply held and often the product of long history and overbearing social pressures—the American city must find strength and support. And the preconditions for abundant support for strong democratic planning are there. The history and present state of American urban culture meet three basic requirements for democratic planning: common cultural goals, a tolerable range of variation within the culture, and a process of change which could be activated to let more of those outside the culture join the mainstream.
In order for a democratic nation of giant cities to plan for the allocation of its wealth, for the control of the growth of its cities, and for the distribution of its jobs and services, its politics must be undergirded by a broad consensus on the goals to be sought. To plan means at the very least to set goals toward which sustained public projects and
private enterprise can work. If regional divisions, class differences, and racial and national conflicts tear at the political fabric, then long-term agreed-upon goals cannot be set and planning must be the activity of a powerful, even dictatorial minority. In the United States such divisions do not obtain, and a social underpinning of sufficient unanimity exists so that an open democratic politics could be expected to manage the setting of goals and resolution of conflict inherent in large-scale national economic and regional planning. Broad agreement has been our cultural circumstance at least since the twenties, if not for much longer. What has been missing in the past, and is still absent, is a popular willingness to raise the demands of our cultural aspirations of everyday life to a status equal to our traditional capitalist drives for wealth and power. Until as a nation we are willing to subject our political, social, and economic institutions to these demands, the potential for democratic planning of our cultural consensus will remain untapped, and common life in the city will remain the creature of the higher priorities of capitalist competition, and now of imperialism as well.
The narrow range of diversity within our class and socioreligious cultures also holds out the promise that national planning may be teamed up with decentralized decision making, and suggests that local interpretations of goals for national well-being will not be extreme. A Washington or state-capital policy when filtered through the myriad metropolitan governments and administrative agencies will not meet such a range of conflicting local demands as to lose its coherence. We are therefore in the fortunate position of being able to contemplate democratic planning structures that will combine broad national objectives with state and local decisions so that the variety within the culture may find expression in the politics of the ward, the neighborhood, and the town.
Only in the relationships between whites and blacks does our common culture need to be challenged. As both history and today's television demonstrate, white Americans if left to themselves will oppress their black fellow citizens. The recent civil-rights movement shows that local actions supported by national political coalitions can overcome such oppression. The country will have to continue to spend its political energy and capital to discipline both public and private institutions and even to take affirmative federal action if white racism is finally to be conquered. One important reward for such an effort will be the
increasing possibilities for local autonomy as the need for central bureaucratic control over racial affairs relaxes.
Finally, the very historical process by which our cultural consensus was reached reveals the mechanism for gaining a more inclusive democratic society. In years past, poor migrants from the rural .United States and overseas came to the cities; and in time, either through the institutions of the inner city itself or by further migration to the suburbs, they became absorbed in the general class and socioreligious culture. For the millions who survived this process, the new culture provided a way for coping with the realities of American urban life. Yet the social pathologies of the city were never less than they are today, probably much worse, and millions of persons were disabled or destroyed by alcoholism, crime, disease, despair, desertion, and insanity. The single most important difference between the lower incidence of pathology among those who made it into membership in the city and those who did not was the difference between those families who could earn a living wage and those who could not. If every American who wanted a job could get one, and if every employed person received wages sufficient to support himself and his family or herself and her dependents, the disproportionate social pathologies of our ghettos and slums would disappear. Such a full-employment, living-wage policy would not solve all our urban problems by any means, but our history tells us that it would enable all Americans to participate in our culture as full-fledged members of the society and thereby it would build a firm foundation for both national and local democratic planning.