<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

A new middle class

While the working class were confined to tenement houses in the cities by their need to be close to their work and the lack of funds to find anyplace better, and the wealthy class chose to remain in the cities to stay close to the action of big business transactions, the emerging middle class responded to urban challenges with their own solutions. This group included the managers, salesmen, engineers, doctors, accountants, and other salaried professionals who still worked for a living, but were significantly better educated and compensated than the working-class poor. For this new middle class, relief from the trials of the cities came through education and suburbanization.

In large part, the middle class responded to the challenges of the city by physically escaping it. As transportation improved and outlying communities connected to urban centers, the middle class embraced a new type of community—the suburbs. It became possible for those with adequate means to work in the city and escape each evening, by way of a train or trolley, to a house in the suburbs. As the number of people moving to the suburbs grew, there also grew a perception among the middle class that the farther one lived from the city and the more amenities one had, the more affluence one had achieved.

Although a few suburbs existed in the United States prior to the 1880s (such as Llewellyn Park, New Jersey), the introduction of the electric railway generated greater interest and growth during the last decade of the century. The ability to travel from home to work on a relatively quick and cheap mode of transportation encouraged more Americans of modest means to consider living away from the chaos of the city. Eventually, Henry Ford’s popularization of the automobile, specifically in terms of a lower price, permitted more families to own cars and thus consider suburban life. Later in the twentieth century, both the advent of the interstate highway system, along with federal legislation designed to allow families to construct homes with low-interest loans, further sparked the suburban phenomenon.

New roles for middle-class women

Social norms of the day encouraged middle-class women to take great pride in creating a positive home environment for their working husbands and school-age children, which reinforced the business and educational principles that they practiced on the job or in school. It was at this time that the magazines Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping began distribution, to tremendous popularity ( [link] ).

The August 1908 cover of Good Housekeeping shows an illustration of a well-dressed housewife inspecting one of a series of drinking glasses. Behind her is a shelf with vases of flowers, several books, a clock, and a pitcher and tray.
The middle-class family of the late nineteenth century largely embraced a separation of gendered spheres that had first emerged during the market revolution of the antebellum years. Whereas the husband earned money for the family outside the home, the wife oversaw domestic chores, raised the children, and tended to the family’s spiritual, social, and cultural needs. The magazine Good Housekeeping , launched in 1885, capitalized on the middle-class woman’s focus on maintaining a pride-worthy home.

Questions & Answers

who organized the most massive attack in American History, which caused the Germans to begin to retreat in September 1918?
Jmora Reply
Is there answers anywhere to all of the critical thinking questions?
Heather Reply
What were the direct causes of the civil war
Trinity Reply
How did slavery issues effect the war
How were politics involved
north wanted to unify the south
south wanted independence
freeing slaves was just a way to recruit black soldiers to fight for north
Lincoln couldn't let the south separate from the union , agriculture was way to valuable
progressive reforms under Theodore Roosevelt
Karpi Reply
what was the main thing suposed to happen when the tea party
Gavin Reply
Which plan resolved the issue of representation for the U.S. Constitution?
Nichole Reply
The plan which became known as the seventeenth amendmet.
amendmet because not an article of bill of rights.
Which of the primary features of grassroots Progressivism was the most essential to the continued growth
Ren Reply
The institution of a steady currency.
who invented the comedy movie without soun
Sami Reply
Comedy in film ad early as 1895 in film by Louis Lumier. Utilized slapstick.
Louis Lumier
Comedy in film as early as late 1895, there were no film adds because pictures could not be paired or arranged with words, quotes, or small phrases. Utilized slapstick.
which of the following is not one of the tasks women performed during the revolution?
Donna Reply
Women were gen not involved in politics or combat
Women were generally not involved in combat, but went inside the lines however and worked as nurses
Which country etablished the first colonies in the americas
Alex Reply
which part of the America's? what year?
Jamestown = England. if I had to guess that's the one you are looking for
Spain. area of new Mexico I think.
the first encounter with Americans in this te Indian was Christopher Columbus from spain bt he not establish a colony and the first colony was Britain in Jamestown I think
Spain, first settlement was La Navidad est on Columbus' first voyage and which was destroyed by natives by 1493. on subsequent voyages of Columbus and others, Spain colonized Carribean islands such as Cuba.
Spain its colonies would become known as new-spain.
in what ways did westward expansion provide new opportunities for women and african americans?\
cavausier Reply
Women were involved in establishing communities. They did a lot of work in turning roughboomtowns into more civilized places that had all the benefits of such. The West was characterized by greater freedom for women e.g. women were first granted suffrage in Wyoming and other Western states.
Women were involved in establishing new communities within the States'. They helped men turn rough boomtown into a more modern version of civilization for the westerners moving the expansion forward. These communities later provided jobs for Afro-Americans after the civil war.
[.../e.g Suffrage for women was first was granted in The West in Wyoming and other Western states]
It was not a lot of work for them their forefathers all the work actually
What source did the Roman Catholic church have
robbie Reply
Please clarify: do you mean what sources do they made their authority on?
They established their authority in administering their mission in a last ditch effort to convert native Americans to christianity
yes, what sources? sources of domesticating the Native Americans.
part 1 and part 2 in 2 segments
impact of coming of Portuguese in kenya
Brian Reply
impact of coming of portuguese
impact of coming of portuguese
introduced new crops, disrupted local trade and communication, introduced Christianity but had limited success converting locals
The coming of the Portuguese impacted farming, farmbills caused non-levys in trade, miscommunication in the two governments and our United States Enviormental Protection Agency (USEPA).
What was the first problem that Franklin Roosevelt dealt with during his "First Hundred Days"?
Bryan Reply
The Great Depression
worst cover up! they should feel dumb! they we're trapped in, on both sides of the East and West borders of the Islamic forces, Columbus was desperate and started voyage due to the events of his time!
The Banking Crisis
a better word for Columbus is "determined" not "desperate."
Which of the following protests was directly related to federal policies, and thus had the biggest impact in creating a negative public perception of Hoover presidency
Steven Reply
the Bonus Army
The Bonus Army.

Get the best U.s. history course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, U.s. history. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11740/1.3
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'U.s. history' conversation and receive update notifications?