Settlement Houses In America Essay

983 words - 4 pages

The development of settlement houses in America was by far one of the most impact full and influential organizational movements of the progressive era in America. The progressive era in the United States was a time of business, political and social reform, aiming to change the dynamics of American life. Many faith based organizations began to emerge all over the country, and soon all over the world. As the population grew due to immigration, neighborhoods all around the country began to develop, complications involving sanitation began to arise. Not only were issues of sanitation prominent to the urban poor inhabiting these neighborhoods, but to the health of the city overall. Diseases that existed in these areas were prone to spread quickly and easily, affecting all residents in surrounding areas(Johnson 108). Because of this, progressives moved to establish what they called settlement houses, their purpose was to help environmentally and socially integrate the recently immigrated population of America into these neighborhoods, as well as crating a healthier and cleaner living environment. These settlement houses contributed a number of services to the communities surrounding them, not only for the immigrants but for the entire surrounding city. These houses had a number of activities and classes to take including English language classes, child care, personal hygiene instruction, community theatre, infant care classes, and pottery and art classes and after school programs for children (Jones et. al 2014).
Among the most popular of these settlements was the Hull House. The Hull house was established by Jane Addams, who traveled to London soon after she left college and experienced a settlement house called Toynbee hall. The Hull House was modeled after Toynbee hall, the only difference was the gender of the residences inhabiting the settlement, men in Toynbee hall and women in the Hull House (Johnson 93). Jane opened the Hull House with the help of her college friend Ellen Gates Starr, the two women believed that “all luxury is [a] right that can be and is shared” (Johnson 91). Hull House opened 1889, located in Chicago’s nineteenth ward. The neighborhood contained a variety of immigrants from all over the world, primarily Russian, German, Greek and Italian (Jones et. al 2014). The Hull house benefited the community in many ways, Jane Addams was concerned for the sanitation system of the neighborhood and campaigned to upgrade the garbage pick-up and disposal system in order to maintain a healthier environment. She also advocated for better working conditions and worker’s freedom in order to establish those better conditions, between a worker and their boss. As well as better working conditions, Addams also sought to outlaw child labor (Jones et. al 2014). Addams eventually grew to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her dedications and the Hull House grew into a remarkable community, continually expanding over time.
Not only the immigrants of the...

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