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.